Team of the Year: Martlet Basketball
The 2016-2017 Martlet basketball season was the perfect underdog story. In the first half of the season, the team posted a 3-5 record—including a 70-40 lashing at the hands of the Laval Rouge et Or. The Martlets managed to rally to finish second in the regular season and fought through two competitive playoff games to be crowned RSEQ champions for the sixth consecutive year.
In their previous four appearances at the CIS National Championships–now called the U Sports National Championships–the Martlets recorded a couple of fifth-place finishes and managed to break into the semi-finals twice. This year, after their worst regular season record since 2010, the Martlets went undefeated in the tournament and captured the elusive Bronze Baby Trophy—awarded annually to the national champion—for the first time in program history.
It was a fairytale ending for the Martlets. In a zero-to-hero, started-from-the-bottom-now-we’re-here turn of events, the team made Martlet history and wholly deserve recognition from the McGill community.
Female Athlete of the Year: Alex Kiss-Rusk (Martlet Basketball)
This season, Alex Kiss-Rusk won it all. She was absolutely essential for Martlet basketball, leading the team in minutes played and consistently posting team-high performances in scoring and rebounding.
The 6’4” centre from Beaconsfield, QC was selected to be a first team all-star and the RSEQ Defensive Player of the year after ranking first in the conference in rebounds and blocked shots. She was the league-leader in double-doubles and managed double-digit rebounds in six conference games.
After proving instrumental in her team’s conference victory, Kiss-Rusk continued to dominate at the U Sports National Championships. The best athletes are those who elevate their play in big games and Kiss-Rusk certainly rose to the occasion: Three games, three double-doubles, and three game MVP awards. To cap off her incredible season, she led the Martlets to their first-ever national title and collected tournament MVP honours.
Female Rookie of the Year: Tricia Deguire (Martlet Hockey)
It’s hard to believe that Martlet hockey netminder Tricia Deguire is a rookie. In her first season at McGill, Deguire displayed consistency and maturity beyond her years and was nothing short of phenomenal as the starting goaltender for the Martlet hockey squad. Deguire started 18 regular season contests and finished the season with a sterling 0.930 save percentage.
Deguire was named Rookie of the Year by both the RSEQ and U Sports delegations and a first team all-star in the RSEQ conference. At the U Sports National Championships, she turned away 63 shots in three games, averaging a 0.955 save percentage. After allowing only one goal in the quarter-final round, Deguire registered a crucial shutout against the top-seeded UBC Thunderbirds to secure her team a spot in the championship match, where they eventually succumbed to the University of Alberta Pandas in double overtime.
Coach of the Year: Ryan Thorne (Martlet Basketball)
Martlet basketball bench boss Ryan Thorne has received plenty of well-deserved recognition throughout his coaching career. He is fresh off the completion of his 14th season as head coach at McGill and has an overall record of 280-183. Since 2009, his squad has won six RSEQ titles.
Though the results of past years are undeniably impressive, Thorne’s success with the Martlets reached new heights this season. His squad started slowly, hampered in part by the loss of starting forward Jennifer Silver, who was sidelined by a broken hand for most of the regular season. But Thorne was able to inspire the team to fight its way to the RSEQ championship, where the Martlets defeated the Concordia Stingers by a score of 63-51. Then, under Thorne’s steady leadership, the Martlets travelled to the U Sports National Championships, where they were crowned national champions—a program first for McGill basketball.