Skip to content

39 nominees up for B.C.’s 2024 SportBC awards

They include a golfer, runner and wheelchair tennis coach
Track athlete Yemane Mulugeta, a student at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Whalley, crosses the finish line during a recent race. (Photo courtesy Sport BC)

Sport figures in disciplines as diverse as gymnastics and hammer throwing, hailing from communities as widespread as Victoria and Wonowon will be up for some of B.C.’s highest sporting honours.

In 13 categories from across B.C., award finalists representing 24 sports will be recognized during the 56th annual Sport BC event Thursday, March 7 at a Vancouver hotel.

The awards gala, to be hosted by CBC’s Scott Russell, “recognizes the province’s best in amateur sport including athletes, coaches, teams, and officials for outstanding performances in their sport in the 2023 season,” according to an event advisory from Sport BC.

Athletes like Yemane Mulugeta, who was nominated by BC Athletics for High School Male Athlete of the Year.

“Yemane is a refugee from war-torn Eritrea,” the nominator said. “He immigrated to Canada after fleeing his home and is on his way to representing Canada on the international level. Yemane achieved a personal best in all events at the 2023 BC High School Track & Field Championships,” with two gold medals and a silver.

Lauren Kim at the 2023 CPKC Women’s Open at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club last August. (Photo: Bernard Brault, Golf Canada)

Athletes like Lauren Kim, now golfing at the University of Texas, who was nominated for Junior Female Athlete of the Year after winning the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship and Jackson T. Stephens Cup (a collegiate tournament).

Ryan Murphy, head coach of the women’s golf team at the University of Texas, said Kim was recruited after her stellar junior play up to that point, in 2021.

“Since then she has built upon that success with a Canadian Amateur victory, a U.S. Women’s Open appearance (her 2nd) and an early collegiate victory at the Jack T. Stephens Cup as well as a recent top 10 finish in the World Amateurs,” Murphy noted in nomination papers.

“She is on a tremendous trajectory with her golf. And, the cherry on top is that Lauren is incredibly hard-working and humble despite all of the success she has enjoyed. That demeanor has been great for our team environment and a person who is truly inspiring. To say we are happy to have Lauren with us here at the University of Texas would be an understatement.”

Surrey-based wheelchair tennis coach Sarah Hunter. (Contributed photo)

And coaches like Sarah Hunter, who was nominated for Female Coach of the Year by BC Wheelchair Sports.

“What inspires me about Sarah Hunter is her dedication to helping every athlete she works with improve and discover a little more potential than they thought they had,” the unnamed nominator wrote.

“As the BC Provincial Wheelchair Tennis coach, Sarah works with athletes of all experience levels from beginner players and kids all the way up to high-performance athletes that represent B.C. and Canada. Whether coaching someone at their first session or helping an aspiring Paralympian prep for competition, she brings the same levels of respect and enthusiasm to every session.”

Each finalist was nominated by their provincial or multi-sport organization, high school, college or university. The awards selection committee, led by long-serving chair Bernie Pascall, included “a diverse group of highly experienced British Columbia sport leaders and media members.”

Posted below are all finalists for 2024 Athlete of the Year Awards hosted by Sport BC.

Athlete with a Disability

Yuka Chokyu (Vancouver) – Badminton

Bo Hedges (Wonowon) – Wheelchair Basketball

Mel Pemble (Victoria) – Para Cycling (Track)

Female Coach of the Year

Jane Gumley (Victoria) – Rowing (UVIC)

Sarah Hunter (Surrey) – Wheelchair Tennis

Keri Moffat (Richmond) - Golf

Male Coach of the Year

Dylan Armstrong (Kamloops) – Athletics

Victor Gantsevich (Richmond) – Fencing

Graham Thomas (Calgary) – Ice Hockey (UBC)

High School Female Athlete of the Year

Amelia Kristen (Vancouver) – Athletics (Crofton House)

Keira Pemberton (Langley) – Basketball (Walnut Grove)

Eva Ruse (North Vancouver) – Basketball and Volleyball (Mulgrave)

High School Male Athlete of the Year

Mark Johnson (Vernon) – Football (Vernon Secondary)

Yemane Mulugeta (Surrey) – Athletics (L.A. Matheson)

Nash Semeniuk (Kelowna) – Basketball and Volleyball (Kelowna Secondary)

Junior Female Athlete of the Year

Lauren Kim (Surrey) – Golf

Emmy Lan (Comox) – Cycling

Chloe Primerano (North Vancouver) – Ice Hockey

Junior Male Athlete of the Year

Nicholas Bennett (Parksville) – Para Swimming

Gavin Dodd (Kamloops) – Gymnastics

Tyson Philpot (Delta) - Football

Senior Female Athlete of the Year

Gabby Flynn (Burnaby) – Gymnastics

Megan Kinna (Maple Ridge) – Lacrosse

Camryn Rogers (Richmond) - Athletics

Senior Male Athlete of the Year

Jack Crawford – Alpine Skiing

Dylan French (Richmond) – Fencing

Ethan Katzberg (Nanaimo) - Athletics

Post Secondary Athlete of the Year

Theo Benedet (North Vancouver) – Football (UBC)

Rowan Hamilton (Chilliwack) – Athletics (UBC)

Michael Henman (Victoria) – Soccer (UNBC)

Team of the Year

BC Female U18 Hockey

TWU Spartans Men’s Volleyball

UVIC Vikes Women’s Field Hockey

Master Athlete of the Year

Betty Brussel (New Westminster) – Swimming

Malindi Elmore (Kelowna) – Athletics

Melanie McQuaid (Victoria) - Triathlon

Official of the Year

Shanda Assmus (Vancouver) – Rugby

Melanie Stewart (Port Coquitlam) – Ringette

Trevor Walmsley (Vancouver) - Karate

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
Read more