CALGARY, ALTA., (April 5, 2019) — One went back-to-back, and another broke new ground, as the SAIT Trojans ended their season on a high note.
Cross-country and indoor track runner Matthew Travaglini and soccer player Deanna Kuan were named the 2018/19 SAIT Trojans Male and Female Athletes of the Year at the Annual Awards Gala held Friday night at SAIT's Heritage Hall.
"A lot of hard work went into hearing my name called at the end," said Travaglini, who also won the award last season. "I was up against some pretty incredible competitors. A lot of these guys, in each of their sports, broke records and set standards higher than they have been before. To be named the Athlete of the Year amidst that crew is a huge honour."
Travaglini's 2018/19 season was impressive, to say the least. He captured his second straight Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national cross-country running titles. In the second semester, he earned a second consecutive ACAC Indoor Track Runner of the Year title after winning two individual gold medals (3,000 and 1,500-metre).
On a team level, he helped his men's cross-country and men's indoor track team earn their third-straight ACAC titles.
Kuan became the very first player from the women's soccer player to earn the award since the soccer program began in the 1992/93 school year. She helped her team to the ACAC silver medal after being named the ACAC Women's Soccer Player of the Year.
"Honestly, I can't even take all the credit for it, or even some of the credit," said Kuan. "The team does everything right, and I look fabulous. And then for some reason, I get credit. It's a team effort. . . without any of them to push me on and off the field, I wouldn't have been the player I was."
Hearing her name called at the end of the night was a bit of a surprise.
"Um, shock," she said with a laugh when asked about the win. "Everyone else nominated this year had done so much, and they are phenomenal athletes. They do well in the sport, they do well in their schoolwork and they help out in the community. Being nominated was enough of an honour."
The banquet was the last SAIT Trojans event for Travaglini, who will move on after graduating from his Geomatics Engineering Technology program. He took time after winning his award to acknowledge all those who helped him along in his two years with the Trojans.
"The career is over," he joked. "Looking back, the Athetics staff here, the athletic therapy here, everything is top notch and everyone has been beyond amazing my entire time here. . . As nice as the awards are, and as much as we like to receive them, we put in that work because we are proud to wear that Trojan shield."
Other major awards handed out Friday night saw men's basketball player Rahsaan Chambers and women's soccer players Jaime McPherson earn Male and Female Freshman of the Year honours.
Men's hockey player Dean Allison and women's volleyball player Hayli Hinchey took home the Ken Tidsbury Leadership awards, while volleyball players Tyler Latu'ila and Simran Dhami were named the winners of the Al Buttle Red and White Awards.