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Student athletes of the year celebrated in Banff, Canmore

Six senior athletes were awarded athletes of the year in the Bow Valley’s three high school.

BOW VALLEY – Caps have been tossed in the air, exams have been written, final games were played and awards have been dished out.

Following the end of their high school triumphs, six seniors were awarded athletes of the year at Bow Valley high schools: Jordan Lakusta, Jay Porter, Nathan Adam, Ariane Thomson, Macsen Hempstead and Taylor Desrosiers.

Lakusta, senior girls athlete of the year at Canmore Collegiate High School (CCHS), spoke to the friendships that volleyball and basketball brought her, as well as the therapy that comes with athletics.

“There were times where this year I would be stressed about a test, and I would be stressed about everything going on at school, but then I would go to basketball and I didn't have to worry about that,” said Lakusta. “It was more of a clearing my mind sort of thing on the court.”

In her last volleyball tournament, Lakusta reminisced about how far she had come with the team around her over the many games, tournaments and practices.

“Since Grade 7, we’ve been all on the same volleyball team, and then the very last tournament, we were all together, and it was a big moment of just realizing how far we’ve come since the beginning and how close we all got over the years,” she said.

Lakusta was surprised to earn the title after sitting through all the awards thinking that her name wouldn’t be called to the stage.

“They had gone through all the awards, and it was the very end … and then my name was called,” said Lakusta. “I was very happy and very proud.”

Lakusta is going to the rainy West Coast in the fall to continue her academics and athletics at Capilano University in Vancouver.

“I’m planning on trying out for the basketball team at the university and [I] always want to come back to Canmore for biking and skiing and all that,” said Lakusta.

It was a special moment for Porter to have his name etched on the CCHS boys senior athlete of the year trophy.

“I got home and started crying. It was really special,” said Porter.

“I’ve put a lot of effort into the school. I've helped make the school a better place, both in the athletic part and the education part, so to be recognized on that kind of level is special.”

The three-time soccer captain and badminton player said that being named alongside Lakusta was a highlight.

“I've grown up with her from the day I was born. So, for her to win that as well is super cool,” he said.

It hasn’t quite set in for Porter that the days are behind him of blasting music in the bus full of his closest friends and teammates while pulling up to a game.

“We had our speaker with us playing some fun Mexican music, and [we] showed up to the field, everyone’s laughing,” said Porter. “It went to show how close we were, how much we just enjoyed being around each other.”

Porter will be living the island life when he heads out to the University of Victoria to pursue an education in engineering.

Nathan Adam, winner of the student athlete of the year at Our Lady of the Snow Catholic Academy (OLS), is feeling that his “hard work paid off” when he held the award.

“There was a lot of great contenders this year,” said Adam. “But when they called my name I was a bit shocked, honestly, and just felt like a sense of pride of myself.”

Playing basketball, golf and voleyball , Adam went through the struggle of an injury early into the year, but came back to help his basketball team and put pressure on the top-ranked Oilfields Drillers of Diamond Valley at zones.

“We were coming in ranked 14th, I believe, and we gave them a heck of a game [and] pushed them to their limits as we pushed ourselves to our absolute limit,” said Adam.

They lost by 12 points; however, Adam said that game was the highlight of his year.

“They were undefeated all seasons, and no one expected us to do anything against them, and we they weren’t expecting the game we gave them,” he said.

Adams will be venturing to Queens University next year to gain an education in business.

“I’ll still entertain sports and like intramurals as it’s like a big part of my life, and [it brings me] a sense of joy and happiness while I’m on the court or course playing my sports,” he said.

Three-point sniper Taylor Desrosiers was named female student athlete of the year at Banff Community High School (BCHS).

“I’m just thanking my teammates and my coaches and teachers for everything. I couldn’t have gotten here without them,” said the volleyball and basketball player. “It does mean a lot to me, especially growing up around sports my whole life.”

Desrosiers had a feeling her name might be called after seeing her dad in the stands recording a video.

“I noticed my dad was there, and he never really shows up to assembly, so I thought it was kind of strange, and I noticed he was filming,” she said.

“When they called my name, I didn’t know how to react. I was just smiling and happy that I got it.”

Following the end of high school, Desrosiers is taking a gap year to work and hopefully travel before coming back to the valley to be a coach.

“I was looking to come back and hopefully coach some younger teams in the Bow Valley between high school and maybe some club basketball as well,” said Desrosiers.

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