Sherbrooke’s Beliveau earns both top U Sports track and top rookie awards

Beliveau named top track athlete, top rookie

EDMONTON — Sherbrooke’s Emy Beliveau captured Canada’s university track athlete of the year and rookie of the year honours on Thursday, while Calgary’s Niki Oudenaarden earned the outstanding female athlete in field events.

Laval’s Antoine Thibeault earned the male athlete of the year in track events, while Peter Millman of Lethbridge won the award for field events.

Beliveau won double gold in the 60 and 300 metres at the Quebec conference championship, and is the top-ranked sprinter in the 60 metres ahead of this week’s Canadian university championships. The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native is ranked sixth in in the 300, and will also race on the Vert et Or 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams.

“She just had a fantastic rookie year,” said Sherbrooke coach Luc Lafrance. “Emy is an athlete able to deal with all the challenges on her way. She has a great capacity to take volume and intensity in trainings and also to deliver in competition. She had great performances throughout the season but more importantly she was able to be steady in the last three months.”

Oudenaarden took the 2016 season off after extensive ankle surgery and returned with a vengeance, capturing five medals at the Canada West conference championships. She won the pentathlon, high jump and helped the 4×400 relay team to victory, and added silver medals in long jump and shot put.

“Her performance at the Canada West championships was not unexpected,” said long-time coach Les Gramantik. “Her results, for me, were expected for her to do what she did. She is a premiere university athlete right now, not just from here, but for the whole country.”

Western’s Joy Spear Chief-Morris won the women’s student-athlete community service award.

Thibeault, from Shawinigan, Que., is the reigning Canadian university champion in the 1,500 and 3,000 metres, and in a good position to repeat.

Millman, from Truro, N.S., swept the throwing events at the Canada West conference championships, winning the shot put and leading a Pronghorns sweep of the weight throw podium. The fifth-year athlete ends his career with five consecutive conference gold medals in the weight throw. Millman also won the student-athlete community service award.

“Not only is it fantastic that Peter was named the outstanding athlete in his final year of eligibility, it’s doubly nice when it’s a repeat award and shows how he has dominated the throws in U Sports competition the last few years,” said Lethbridge coach Larry Steinke.

Guelph’s Keysean Powell won the men’s rookie of the year. The dual sport athlete — he’s a receiver on the Gryphon football team — from Brampton, Ont., won silver medals at the OUA conference meet in the long jump and 60 metres.

“There are very few athletes that I have seen that are as emotionally invested in their athletic success as Keysean is,” said Gryphons associate head coach Jason Kerr. “He puts his heart and soul into training and competing and has made massive improvements across the board in a very short time with our program.”

The Canadian university championships are Thursday through Saturday at the University of Alberta.

The Canadian Press