The province of Manitoba is represented among the contenders for both the female and the male athlete of the year honours in the Canada West Conference.
Kelsey Wog of the University of Manitoba Bisons is a finalist for the women’s award while Steinbach’s Eric Loeppky of the Trinity Western University Spartans volleyball team has a shot in the men’s category.
The other two female finalists are hurdler Michelle Harrison from the University of Saskatchewan and Trinity Western University midfielder Jenaya Robertson. Vying for the men’s award along with Loeppky are Saskatchewan Huskies hockey goalie Taran Kozun and Calgary Dinosaurs basketball standout Brett Layton.
The winners will be announced on Thursday.
Wog swam her way to four gold medals at the U Sports national championships held in February in Victoria to earn the top female swimmer of the meet for the second straight time. The fourth-year agricultural and food sciences student also set U Sports records in the women’s 100-metre breaststroke (1:06:44) and 200-metre individual medley (2:10:87) events. The Vincent Massey Winnipeg grad’s time in the 200 IM was the fastest in the world in 2020 prior to the coronavirus shutting down almost all sport competitions globally.
Loeppky led the nationally No. 1-ranked Spartans — and all of Canada West, for that matter — with a .443 hitting percentage from his outside position.
The 21-year-old member of Canada’s national men’s senior team was also second in the conference with 3.89 kills per set and is now the all-time leader in Canada West men’s volleyball history with 153 career service aces.
Leoppky and Langley, B.C.-based TWU were less than 24 hours away from opening the U Sports Canadian men’s volleyball championship tournament in his home province at Investors Group Athletic Centre when the event had to be cancelled the evening of March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.