Purple Blanket winners rejoice in success

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western's Purple Blanket winners

Jonas Hrebeniuk

REWARDING A CAREER OF ACHIEVEMENT. Western's Purple Blanket winners were honoured during Tuesday night's Athletic Banquet at the London Convention Centre. The Purple Blanket is awarded to student-athletes that have had success at the provincial and national levels.

One might find it odd to reward outstanding athleticism with fine linen, but in fact here at Western it’s an incredible honour to earn a Purple Blanket.

Every year Western awards student athletes who have ‘achieved superior distinction at the provincial/national level of competition’ with a Purple Blanket.

Among the award’s proud recipients was fourth-year track star Heather Patterson, who was ecstatic to take home the award.

“It’s actually incredible, I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Patterson said. “I couldn’t have asked for more from my career at Western and this is a good way to celebrate it.”

Two-sport athlete Gillian McCallum shared in the surprise and honour of earning such recognition.

“I’m kind of speechless. I’ve never been the best player on my team, so unexpected would be an understatement,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard over my career and I’ve had lots of small achievements so it’s kind of nice to be recognized.”

All-star long jumper and triple jumper Andrew Judge admitted a Purple Blanket was on his list of goals from the beginning.

“I saw a couple of amazing athletes before me get Purple Blankets in their graduating years and so it’s always been something I’ve wanted to strive for.”

Fifth-year rower Laura Pidgen also received the honours and admitted she was not expecting it.

“I’m definitely surprised [at winning the award],” Pidgen said.

“I’d have to credit my teammates and [women’s rowing coach Al Morrow]. He’s definitely a legend in Canadian rowing and he’s been so helpful; that’s one of the reasons I came to Western in the first place.”

Men’s soccer veteran and Purple Blanket winner Michel Daoust echoed the sentiments of Pidgen, wishing to deflect praise to those who helped him most.

“It feels good to be recognized, but at the same time, my teammates and coaches deserve all the credit.”

Purple Blanket award winners include: Jeffery Werden (wrestling), Sen Hoong Phang (badminton), Laura Pidgen (rowing), Andrew Judge (track and field), Michel Daoust (soccer), Gillian McCallum (rugby and wrestling), Ryan Atkison (swimming), Jayne Cation (rugby), Haidar Al-Shaibani (soccer), Heather Patterson (track and field).

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