Saint Andrews – In a ceremony that honoured middle, and high school athletes, Erin Clarke, and Carlos Tovar, were named as female and male athlete of the year.

Clarke also won the coaches excellence award for senior girls soccer, and senior girls volleyball, while Tovar nabbed the coaches excellence award for senior boys basketball.

At the middle level, Nora Feeney was named as the female athlete of the year, while Devon Seeley claimed the male athlete of the year.

Raeghan O’Leary nabbed female athlete of the year in junior varsity, while Stephen Feeney won male athlete of the year.

Mike Head, athletic director and emcee for the ceremony described Clarke, a senior, as an “all around athlete,” who “will leave a large hole in our athletic programs.”

“Not only is she determined and has a strong work ethic, but she knows how to listen effectively to her coaches and her teammates. In some ways, she is seen as the glue that holds some of her teams together.

“She will be missed, but she has, in her quiet way, sowed the seeds for others to follow in her footsteps.”

“I remember in Grade 9 starting on the high school teams was terrifying and intimidating, so I really wanted to be there for those new students.”

Presenting Tovar with his award, Head said though he has only been with the school for a year as an exchange student from Spain, the personable leader made a big impact on the programs at the school.

“We’ve had the pleasure of watching this year’s senior male athlete of the year grow into a wonderful addition to the SJDA family.

“His personable way helps to motivate his teammates on the pitch, court, and track. Even though he’s only been with us for a year, his impact overall in our programs has been welcome, we will miss his leadership, and his larger than life presence.”

As a humble young woman, though she received the athlete of the year honour in her Grade 11 year, Clarke said she was surprised to receive the award, and noted there were several
students deserving of the honour.

“I found that I needed to step up, and really take leadership roles this year being a senior on all of the various sports teams, and also help the people who are just starting out.”
~Erin Clarke, SJDA female athlete of the year

The senior student who played basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and field, and badminton, said the most important lesson she learned in her senior year was to “work as hard as you can, and you’ll get the benefits out of it,” and said her senior year was different than other years.

“It was challenging in different ways. I found that I needed to step up, and really take leadership roles this year being a senior on all of the various sports teams, and also help the
people who are just starting out.

“I remember in Grade 9 starting on the high school teams was terrifying and intimidating, so I really wanted to be there for those new students,” she explained.

Like Clarke, Tovar, who played soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross county, and track and field, said he was surprised to be named an athlete of the year recipient.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect it at all. I knew that graduates usually win this award, and I didn’t find a reason why they would give it to an exchange student that’s going to leave in one year; I didn’t expect it,” Tovar said with a smile.

Tovar said during his short time in athletics in the school, all of his coaches and teammates welcomed him with open arms.

“… I really got into every sport because everyone really welcomed me. They were all nice to me, and they wanted me to play sports, and even though it takes a lot of time, I gave everything I could, and everyone tried to help me,” he said, and smiling, identified SJDA as “a
dream high school.”

“Back in Spain, I had to play for clubs, not for my high school, so it was a big difference to play all these sports for the same high school.

That was the best part of it; I only belonged to one place.”

Clarke plans to attend Waterloo University in the fall to take software engineering, while Tovar, when asked his plans for next year, laughed.

“I’m seriously planning on staying another year.”

Though the two senior athletes are heading in different directions next year, the two shared a similar message of the support from coaches, and family, in their time at SJDA.

“I would like to thank all my coaches, because they’re the ones who have supported me,” Tovar said, while Clarke nodded her head in agreement.

“A big thank you all of the coaches and especially parents, volunteers and teachers who stepped up last minute when there was a lack of coaching, to fill spots when we needed it most.”

Kate Scott/Courier file
Erin Clarke, a senior at Sir James Dunn Academy, was named the female athlete of the year Tuesday. It is the second consecutive year Clake has won the award.
Kate Scott/Courier file
Carlos Garcia Tovar, left, was named the Sir James Dunn Academy male athlete of the year in a ceremony at the school Tuesday.
Kate Scott/Courier Athletes were honoured in a ceremony in the Sir James Dunn Academy gymnasium last Tuesday. From left: Stephen Feeney (junior varsity male athlete of the year), Raeghan O’Leary (junior varsity female athlete of the year), and Nora Feeney (middle level female athlete of the year). Missing from photo: Devon Seeley (middle level male athlete of the year).

SJDA athletic award winners:

Golf:

Coaches Excellence Award – Drew Porter

Cross country:

Middle level  female – Nora Feeney

Middle level male – Jake MacPhee

High school female – Amelia Welch

High school male – Stephen Feeney

Middle level girls soccer:

Coaches Excellence Award – Amy Dolland, Erika Head

Middle level boys soccer:

Coaches Excellence Award – Bryan Clarke, Sequoia Sky

Senior girls soccer:

Coaches Excellence Award – Brooke Reid, Erin Clarke

Senior boys soccer:

Coaches Excellence Award – Anthony Pelton, Simon Clarke

Senior girls basketball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Cullen Johnson, Morgan Craig

Senior boys basketball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Spencer Thorpe, Carlos Garcia Tovar

Badminton:

Coaches Excellence Award – Stephen Feeney, Brooke Reid

Hockey:

Coaches Excellence Award – Mackenzie Crouch, Ty Merrill

Middle level girls volleyball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Erika Head, Nora Feeney

JV girls volleyball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Lison Chandler, Brooke Reid

JV boys volleyball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Ty Merrill, Alex Khoshbakhtian

Senior girls volleyball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Erin Clarke, Lacresha Kerfont

Senior boys volleyball:

Coaches Excellence Award – Henrique Plata, Max Richards

Middle level track and field:

Middle level female – Nora Feeney, Payton Hamilton

Middle level male – Jake MacPhee, Daniel Khoshbakhtian

High school female – Amelia Welch, Raeghan O’Leary

High school male – Mackenzie Crouch, Stephen Feeney

Middle level female athlete of the year: Nora Feeney

Middle level male athlete of the year: Devon Seeley

JV female athlete of the year: Raeghan O’Leary

JV male athlete of the year: Stephen Feeney

Senior female athlete of the year: Erin Clarke

Senior male athlete of the year: Carlos Tovar

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Kate Scott
Quickly approaching her third year with the Courier, award winning journalist Kate is not only an outstanding sports reporter and photographer, but can tackle any subject sent her way. A native of St. Stephen, Kate loves to cover the people and events of Charlotte County. She can be reached at 321-0746.