The best of the best Manitoba high school athletes were honoured Friday at the Manitoba Legislative Building, when the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association presented two rural and two urban students with the 2011 Manitoba Credit Union Scholar Athlete Awards.
Selected from a total of 35 nominees were Melanie Edel of Morris High School, Taylor Pischke of Fort Richmond Collegiate, Noah Derksen of Mennonite Brethren Collegiate and Alexandra Warburton of Sanford Collegiate.
The awards are presented to athletes who maintain a minimum 85 per cent average and participate in at least two MHSAA sanctioned sports. Each recipient received a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of Manitoba's Credit Unions.
Edel was captain of her volleyball and basketball teams and also participated in cross country, track and badminton. She was selected a graduating all-star in both volleyball and basketball and received the Dr. Dale Iwanoczko Memorial Volleyball Scholarship.
"Perseverance, courage and determination are just a few words that come to mind when thinking of high school sport," Edel said in a press release. "My education would not have been complete without high school sport."
Edel will attend the University of Manitoba this fall and play on the Bison women's basketball team.
Pischke's volleyball coach, Kristin Shiach, says her player is the complete package. "She is well rounded. I have coached with her mom (Cindy), and she is very competitive and so is Garth (her father, coach of the U of M Bisons men's volleyball team). Cindy and Taylor are both very competitive and that drives her to win and be the best she can be."
"Friends, academics and community service were a huge part of my life at Fort Richmond, but it would not have been the same without high school sports," Pischke said in a release. "Sports contributed to my overall personal growth, development and identification to the school's goals and values."
In addition to volleyball, Pischke also competed in cross country, basketball and track. She was ranked as the top volleyball player in Manitoba. She was selected to the graduating all-star team in both volleyball and basketball, and took a bronze medal in high jump at the provincial track and field championships.
Derksen competed in volleyball, basketball, soccer, cross country and track and field. He was captain of the basketball team and selected as a graduating all-star. In volleyball, his team captured silver at the provincials, and he was ranked fourth in the province.
Derksen, who will attend the University of British Columbia next year, said in a release: "Being part of a team will teach the discipline, respect, and determination needed to be successful in any area of life. Everyday, we come into contact with many people, and we must attempt to bring out the best in everyone we encounter."
Sanford's Warburton participated in cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track. She was a graduating all-star in both volleyball and basketball, received the Carl Ridd Award in basketball and was ranked seventh in female basketball player in the province.
"Through high school sport I have gained confidence in myself and my abilities. It is my hope that one day I can give back to other high school athletes," she said.