Matt Brash has been named Kingston’s athlete of the year for 2019.
Due to COVID-19, the Kiwanis Club was forced to postpone the annual banquet on two occasions. President Bill Bishop said they decided to forgo the festivities and Wednesday announced the winner of the Gus Marker Memorial Trophy.
“We had some outstanding athletes in line for this award,” said Bishop.
“We just could not wait any longer to announce the winner.”
Other nominees included soccer stars Adrian Dagres and Emma Lefebvre, basketball’s Maggie Besselink, junior hockey stars Donovan Sebrango and Hayden Fowler, golfer Ashton McCullough, swimmer Abi Tripp and track and field athletes Anna Workman and Cameron Bruce.
The Kiwanis Club also honoured a couple of community builders. They included cross-country coach Lana Saunders and longtime baseball coach Randy Casford.
As for the winner, Brash was cited for his performance in 2019.
After three outstanding seasons with Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., Brash was selected in the fourth round in Major League Baseball’s draft. He was taken 113th overall by the San Diego Padres.
“It was an awesome feeling,” said the 22-year-old pitcher.
“It is something you dream about and that dream came true.”
As for winning the prestigious Gus Marker Trophy, Brash was humble in accepting the award.
“I am truly honoured,” said the graduate of the Kingston Thunder minor baseball program.
“There’s a lot of great athletes in Kingston and the list for 2019 was very impressive.”
Because of COVID-19, Brash’s professional baseball career has been put on hold. The Padres regard Brash as one of their top pitching prospects.
“They, of course, cancelled the minor league season so the Padres told me to stay at home and continue to work out as much as I can,” said the talented right-hander, whose fastball has been clocked at 97 m.p.h.
“I will continue to stay healthy, work hard and keep my arm in shape. That’s all I can do. I am hoping to get a shot with San Diego in the next year or two. I will enjoy this while it lasts. If I make it to the majors it will be another dream come true.”