Posted on: May 3, 2016
She might not have won the trophy and the scholarship but Iuliia Pakhomenko of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s volleyball team impressed a lot of people at the 2016 BLG Awards.
Pakhomenko (4th year, outside hitter, Donetsk, Ukraine) was the Canada West for what is considered to be the “CIS Female Athlete of the Year”. The woman who led the country in kills and kills per set this season was truly a great representative of the athletics program as well as the university. Many of the trustees of BLG (the law firm Borden, Ladner, Gervais) and those in attendance came up to her after the ceremony was complete to say what an inspiration she was .
Pakhomenko was recognized for her excellence on the court, but also in the classroom and in the community. Her story of leaving her native Ukraine to pursue her dream of achieving a Masters degree in business (arriving in North American not knowing English) touched all those who heard it.
“It was a really fun experience,” Pakhomenko stated about being a part of the two day event. “ It was an honor to represent the school and my teammates and coaches. “
Pakhomenko said meeting the other seven representatives of the Canada West, OUA, RESQ and AUAA was something she will always remember. “From the first day we bonded and became friends. We had a lot in common. They are great athletes, students and people. Each of them had amazing stories.”
When asked how it felt to be the first athlete from Thompson Rivers to be nominated for the BLG Award, she said: “ I didn’t realize what a big event this was and how great the honor to be one of the eight finalists is. This is a huge deal. I am very honored and to be the first athlete from TRU to be chosen is a great honor.”
The Jim Thompson Trophy which goes to the CIS female athlete of the year was awarded to University of Toronto swimmer Kylie Masse who will be representing Canada in the 100 metre backstroke at the 2016 Olympics in Rio this summer. The other nominees were hockey player Melodie Daouse of McGill University ( a member of Canada’s Olympic team), and basketball player Paloma Anderson of Acadia University.
The Doug Mitchell trophy which is awarded to the CIS Male Athlete of the Year went to University of Calgary Dino quarterback Andrew Buckley. Buckley recently signed a contract with the CFL Calgary Stampeders and his coach and general manager (Dave Dickenson and John Hufnagel) were in attendance for the awards ceremony. Other nominees were McMaster University volleyball star Stephen Maar, who inked a pro deal in Italy and will be joining the Canadian senior men’s volleyball squad as they vye for a spot in the Rio Olympics along with hockey players Guillaume Asselin of the University of Quebec at Trois Rivieres and Jordan Murray of the University of New Brunswick.
Among the dignitaries on hand for the ceremony were former Olympic swimmer and University of Calgary Dino grad Mark Tewksbury and the President and CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport Graham Brown.
Pakhomenko didn’t have long to relax after Monday night’s ceremony. She was up early Tuesday (May 3) to fly to Winnipeg to try out for Canada’s senior women’s national team.