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High school athletics honour best of the best
Kerri Kuzbyt was already pretty excited to be named the provincial female high school athlete of the year. Then she found out how much competition she was up against.
More than 30,000 athletes — no word on how many were male and how many were female — took part in high school sports this year, and the best of the best were honoured last week.
"It’s pretty amazing," said the graduating Sisler student, who was also named the top female athlete in the AAAA classification.
Kuzbyt, a Maples resident, was voted the top girls’ basketball player in the province in a coaches poll. She captained the Sisler basketball and volleyball teams, and also competed in soccer, cross-country and track and field.
"This is the second biggest honour I’ve received," said the point guard who’s headed to the University of Winnipeg next season. "It’s right behind being named the No. 1 female (basketball) player in the province."
Kuzbyt said the all-around award meant a lot because it recognized her versatility as an athlete. She finished fourth at the provincial track meet in the multi-event competition (which incorporates 100- and 800-metre races along with the long jump and shot put) after being a middle-distance runner for most of her career.
"I’m going to miss doing lots of sports," she said. "I used other sports as conditioning for basketball. Now it’ll be more weights and all that."
The top male athlete of the year was Bryce Watson of Glenboro School, who won for the A classification as well.
In AAAA boys, Casey Schouten of Miles Macdonell took the honour for his standout season in volleyball and basketball.
"It’s awesome," he said. "It’s a big accomplishment for me. It’s a very prestigious award, and I’m grateful to get it."
The East St. Paul resident was voted the top boys’ volleyball player in the province and was No. 4 in the basketball poll. He’ll be giving up the hoops next year when he joins the U of W volleyball program.
"My basketball coach jokes around with me and says I could have gone to the NCAA if I’d started younger," he said, adding that he has no urge to try out for the basketball team at U of W.
The top AAA female athlete was Allison Baergen of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, a member of the school’s cross-country, volleyball, basketball and soccer teams. The Crescentwood resident said she never thought her athletic career would lead her to such a major award.
"This is kind of surprising. I never anticipated going this far," she said. "I started playing soccer when I was four, and that helped me progress into other sports. One of the advantages to being at a small school is being able to play on more sports teams."
Basketball was Baergen’s top sport at Westgate, but her focus next year will shift to pre-med courses at U of W.
The other girls recognized were Nicole Murray of Teulon in AA and Sarah Gobin of St. Claude in A. The other boys honoured were Quinn Thacker of Dauphin in AAA and Wyatt Eyford of Warren in AA.
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