2021 Junior Male Athlete: Jacob Sargent
Jacob is a talented volleyball player and a strong leader, with a stellar academic background. He is a grade 12 student at Chinook High School, a member of the Lethbridge Volleyball Club, recently signed with the University of Alberta Golden Bears, and is a member of the 2021 Canadian Youth National Team. Jacob has taken a coaching role with the Cubs to Kodiaks program where he is giving back to the program that helped produce him. He was named the 2021 Southern Alberta Player of the Year, an award chosen by all the league coaches, awarded to a single player.
2021 Junior Female Athlete: Mikka Eaves
Mikka is a dedicated and passionate young speed skater. The energy and time she has committed to her training and volunteer work with the Lethbridge Speed Skating Association has been exceptional and she has grown to be an outstanding leader. She lends her knowledge, dedication, and passion to other skaters as a Junior Coach. Over the last several years Mikka has represented Lethbridge at national events and qualified to compete in the 2021 Canada Cup. Mikka was named to the 2020 - 2021 Alberta Provincial Short Track Development Team.
2021 Senior Male Athlete: Apollo Hess
Apollo Fox Hess, a proud Blackfoot athlete and a member of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Swim Team, had a stellar freshman season setting University of Lethbridge records in six individual events and four relay events. At the Canadian Olympic Trials, Apollo made the finals in both the 100m and 200m Breaststroke, placing 7th and 4th respectively. He finished off the year at the 2021 Canada West Championships where he broke meet records in the 50M and 200M Breaststroke events and was named the 2021 Canada West Rookie of the Year and 2021 Canada West Swimmer of the Year.
2021 Senior Female Athlete: Jillian Weir, OLY
Jillian Weir, a proud Mohawk and member of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Athletics Team, qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where she finished 19th with a throw of 68.68M, the second-best all-time by a Canadian woman in the hammer throw. Through her public speaking and athletic achievements, she provides an opportunity for Black and Indigenous women to see that there is space for them in high-performance sport in southern Alberta as well as more broadly across the country.
2021 Master Athlete: Deidre Coburn
By day, Deirdre is a Graduate Funding Facilitator at the University of Lethbridge. By night, she trains and competes in Olympic Weightlifting. Deirdre is the world champion in her weight class and age group. She is a mentor and cheerleader for beginner and veteran weightlifters alike. Beyond weightlifting, Deirdre is active in the sport of figure skating as both an athlete and as a senior evaluator, challenge level judge, and clinic leader.
2021 Amateur Team: Lethbridge Little League Minor AAA All-Stars
The Minor AAA All-Stars, a group of 9 and 10-year-old players displayed outstanding character and resilience throughout the season and especially in their championship game against Calgary West where they came back to win in an extra inning, winning the Prairie Championship. This championship is the world series for U10 division. Lethbridge Minor showed maturity beyond their years when they faced adversity in the championship game. Players: Lucas Dersch, Tyler Thomas, Nolan Thomas, Kasen Andrews, Hayden Charlesworth, Sullivan Mills, Blake Dueck, Owen Coe, Santiago Sanchez Diaz, Brady Oberg, Jared DeMateo, and Nolan Vanee. Head Coach: Jaime Thomas, Assistant Coaches: Darren Charlesworth, Taylor Coe, Reg Dueck, and Brad Dersch.
2021 Athlete with a Disability: Payden Vair
Payden Vair, a former Lethbridge College Kodiaks soccer player suffered an accident losing part of her right leg. Payden’s positive attitude, personal determination, and kind personality allowed her to find success. In 2019 she made Canada’s Parapan American Games Sitting Volleyball team competing in Peru and in 2021 Payden represented Canada at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics finishing fourth. Her continued determination and perseverance is a shining example of the human spirit at its best.
SPORT EXCELLENCE AWARDS
2021 Community Coach: Nancy Sherman-Higo
Nancy Sherman-Higo is the head coach of the U9 Cyclones hockey team—the only all-girl team in the Lethbridge U9 Novice division, and the Future Olympians Program, an introductory hockey skills program for female players ages 5 to 9. Nancy is dedicated in her role to helping the girls grow as leaders both on and off the ice. The U9 Cyclones rarely win a game as their team is small and often physically outmatched by the boys they compete against. Despite that challenging reality, Nancy teaches them that teamwork, sportsmanship, and skill development are where they should put their focus as growing hockey players. Having a strong female leader like Nancy has such a positive impact on our youth.
2021 High Performance Coach: Larry Steinke
Larry Steinke has created a legacy of success in the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Athletic program, representing Lethbridge and Canada at five consecutive Olympic Games. Larry was named a member of Team Canada's coaching staff for the 2020 Olympic Games where he coached two athletes with local connections including first time Olympian, Jillian Weir and third time Olympian, Liz Gleadle.
2021 Volunteer in Sport: Kelsey Prenevost
Kelsey is a father, volunteer, coach, and secretary for the Lethbridge Amateur Wrestling Association (LAWA). Kelsey is a coach in the middle school program, an assistant coach with the high school program, and has contributed to the development of a coaching team. In his role as LAWA secretary, he shared his knowledge from years of business experience to broaden LAWA’s program philosophy and oversee bylaws and code of ethics updates. In 2021, Kelsey dedicated his time to coming up with creative solutions to the issues the year presented having an integral decision making and communication role in the launch of two new community programs for elementary and middle school children.
2021 Business and Sport Excellence: Kasko Cattle Co.
Kasko Cattle has played a huge role within southern Alberta sport over the last 15 years. The Kasko family has given financial support to school sports, community sports, and the Lethbridge College Kodiaks. The Kasko’s show up as a family to numerous sport events to show their support and they have provided jobs for many local students over the years, putting them to work on the farm and providing opportunities for these young athletes to sustain themselves financially.
2021 Dr. Gary Bowie Sport Event Excellence: Lost Soul Ultra Marathon:
Dean Johnson, Marc Hayward, Jake Cameron, Pat Wilson, Shawn Pinder
The Lost Soul Ultra Marathon attracts 320 ultra-marathoners in several distances including the 50-KM, 100-KM, and the most noteworthy, the 100-Mile which is the only Canadian qualifier for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. The event makes use of incredible local volunteerism. Due to heavy rains in 2021, a last-minute decision was made to move the racecourse from a single track coulee trail to their rain route. It required an exceptional volunteer team to re-flag the course and pivot to their new route. Lost Soul organizers prioritize stewardship and conservation of our beautiful coulees and they work alongside the City to trim the trails and respect the ecology in the local area.
2021 Shaun Ward Sport Champion: Brad Dersch
Brad Dersch has a dedication and passion for sport and active living that reaches both his personal and professional life and he has shown leadership in both areas. He is a physical education teacher and Vice-Principal overseeing athletics at both Wilson and G.S. Lakie Middle Schools. Brad dedicates many hours guiding students in various areas of sport and the importance of physical activity. Beyond class time, Brad coaches cross country and basketball. As a community coach for hockey and baseball, he has guided, supported, and encouraged many young athletes along their own journey. This, coupled with his enthusiasm, encouragement, approachable manner and skill set, has made him a role model that has made a difference in our community and ultimately in the lives of many young athletes.
Sport Administrator: Kirk Mearns
Kirk Mearns is an integral part of the Lethbridge Curling Club, first serving as a director and president before being hired as the Club’s General Manager six years ago. Kirk goes above and beyond to ensure everyone feels welcome at the club. Kirk works amazingly well with his team and keeps the board of directors informed with great reporting practices. He is always willing to help no matter the initiative. Kirk has been fundamental in the city’s bids for the 2019 World Men’s Curling Championship and the 2022 Tim Horton’s Brier, co-chairing the local organizing committee for both events.
2021 Sport Organization: Lethbridge Curling Club
The Lethbridge Curling Club is one of Alberta’s first curling clubs celebrating its 125th anniversary, is known for hosting world-class events, and boasts nearly 600 members. The Club provides a wonderful curling experience and their membership includes juniors, seniors, high school students, and university students. The club has played host to many large curling championships including the 2007 Scotties, 2012 World Women’s, 2015 World Men’s, 2017 World Seniors, 2017 Mixed Doubles, numerous provincial and regional playdowns, and most recently the 2022 Tim Horton’s Brier.
SPIRIT IN SPORTS AWARDS
2021 Servus Credit Union Outstanding Sport Citizen: Keegan Brantner
The fifth-year University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Rugby player has grown into an outstanding mentor and leader. Keegan has performed at an exceptional level both in the classroom making the dean’s Honor List, and on the field of play where she was the captain of the 2019 to 2021 Pronghorn Rugby team. As a student-athlete, is a member of both the Pronghorn Leadership Academy and Student-Athlete Council, and has worked hard to give back to her community. Keegan helped organize a bottle drive in support of KidSport Lethbridge and Taber, coordinated blood and plasma drives with other members of the rugby team, and coaches at the Lethbridge Rugby Club. Keegan’s leadership and community work were recognized with the 2021 Pronghorn Athletics Alumni Leadership Award.
2021 Knud Petersen Spirit in Sport: Paige Crozon
As a successful coach, athlete, leader, and mom of her three-year-old daughter, Paige is a great example for our community and females involved in sport. Paige’s passion for sport is evident in her successful juggling of all the key areas of her life while positively impacting our community. Paige has been the ultimate role model for female athletes bringing positivity and unselfishness in everything she commits to, as she genuinely cares about helping people see their potential. Paige has been a driver of programming for the University of Lethbridge focusing on the holistic development of the student-athlete. She leads the Horns In The Classroom project where she and pronghorn athletes work with local athletes at elementary schools on learning the sport of basketball. She was a member of the Team Canada 3X3 Basketball Team, winning silver at the 2021 Women’s Series and bronze at the 2021 FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup. Paige is the Lead Assistant Coach with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Women's Basketball team. She is respected and liked, in that order, by her players and fellow coaches.