Recognition at Western's Athletics Banquet

Randy McAuley, Jenn Lam take centre stage, nab major awards

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Randy McAuley and Jenn Lam

Jonas Hrebeniuk

LOOKING SHARPER THAN A GUILLOTINE. Western's varsity athletes were dressed to kill, and some also drank enough to kill a small horse this past Wednesday.

Western’s varsity athletes were dressed to the nines last Wednesday as they gathered at the London Convention Centre for the annual Athletics Banquet.

The Banquet celebrates the many accomplishments of Western’s student athletes. The evening included major awards like team MVPs, Purple Blanket awards and male and female Athlete of the Year awards.

Tom Dolezel, a graduating defensive tackle on Western’s football team, was presented with a Purple Blanket award.

Purple Blankets are career achievement awards given to athletes who have “achieved superior distinction at the provincial and national levels of competition as representatives of Western.”

“It’s amazing; I was totally blown away by this [experience],” Dolezel said.

“I am shocked. I am shaking. I am overwhelmed,” said Melissa Mann, a women’s volleyballer awarded a Purple Blanket. “I just can’t believe it. I’m so happy right now.”

Other Blanket winners were rugger Tanja Ness, badminton stars Cara Parkes and Jenn Lam, rower Peter McClelland, wrestler Jessica Fitzgerald, soccer players Adam Legg and Jenna Byrne, tennis’ Andrew Nisker and two-sport star Randy McAuley.

McAuley and Lam also capped their remarkable athletic careers with the Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy and the F.W.P. Jones Trophy, respectively " recognizing them as Western’s top male and female athletes.

“It’s a huge honour,” McAuley said. “I never expected this in a million years and I’m very appreciative that they considered me worthy of this award.”

McAuley has been a standout Mustang performer on both the football field and the track for four years.

Lam, a star on a badminton team that has won three consecutive Ontario University Athletics gold medals, was similarly flattered. She said her teammates made the difference this season.

“When they announced my name, I was just full of joy,” she said. “The team has been just amazing [this year]. There’s lots of support on the team, and training with them is amazing because we have a lot of players who are ranked nationally in the sport.”

While the major awards went to graduating Mustangs, some of Western’s strongest talent could return next season.

“I really haven’t figured out [where I’m going to be next year],” McAuley said. “Whether I’ll be playing at the next level, or back here, I haven’t given it a ton of thought.

“I’m fresh off a season, so I need to take some time and decompress, really know where I am and see where my body is.”

Dinner, drinks and dancing accompanied the slate of awards during the evening and all attendees seemed to enjoy themselves.

"with files from Katie Graves

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