Nicole Martindale of the women’s lacrosse team and Fadi Salback of the men’s soccer team were named the Ontario Tech University athletes of the year during a special digital version of the annual athletic awards.
Martindale, in her first year with the Ridgebacks lacrosse program, led Ontario Tech to a fourth-place finish at the OUA championship.
Posting a 78-goal season, Martindale led the Ridgebacks in scoring throughout the season, while adding 18 more goals during the OUA championship at Vaso’s Field. This offensive output led her to capture the OUA offensive MVP award, while being named a first team all-star.
Martindale is the second player from Ontario Tech’s lacrosse program to receive the honours, joining Taylor Landry, who captured the awards back in 2014.
Salback earned several provincial and national accolades. The first-year forward lead the entire OUA in goals with 16 throughout 14 games.
He captured the OUA rookie of the year, the first time a male soccer player from Ontario Tech had earned the award. Salback was also recognized as an east division first team all-star.
It was not just within the OUA that Salback was successful, as his goal output also outpaced all players across Canada, leading to being named to the U SPORTS all-rookie team. This was the first time a male soccer player from Ontario Tech was recognized nationally.
Graddy Kanku of the men’s basketball program was awarded male freshmen athlete of the year honours, while Nicole Escano from the women’s hockey team was named female freshman athlete of the year.
Kanku lead the men’s team with 388 points, and appeared in 19 of the Ridgebacks 22 games. The freshman guard also finished sixth across the OUA in points per game with 20.4.
Escano was a consistent presence on the Ridgebacks blue-line throughout the season, and displayed strong offense with eight points, to lead the teams back-end.
She was recognized with a place on both the OUA all-rookie team, as well as the U SPORTS all-rookie team. She was just the second Ridgebacks women’s hockey player to be named to the national all-rookie team, with Tori Campbell as the other.
Other major award winners were Danielle Bates and Josh Maguire, who were named the Dr. Gary Polonsky Leadership Award recipients.
Shaun McLeod was the recipient of the Sase Narayan Unsung Hero Award. The award, in its second year of being presented, recognizes a student who has positively influenced a program or organization from behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary, and a commitment to excellence.
The Rob Millikin Award was given to Sara Mathew for exemplifying academic success, passion and heart throughout the rowing season.
Megan Johnston and Matthieu Gomercic were the recipients of James-Baun Cup, which is presented to a student on the women’s and men’s hockey teams who show commitment, dedication, perseverance, academic responsibility, leadership and is a great teammate in the pursuit of excellence. The Cup is named after Bobby Baun and his long-time friend Don James.