A sports season interrupted wasn’t any less spectacular for the Knights.
Holy Trinity Academy handed out its athletic awards recognizing a stellar 2019-20 calendar year with Grade 12 multi-sport athletes Jenna Tiedje and Ben Leggett walking away as Knights athletes of the year.
“I thought it was really important, especially as a lot of things fell by the wayside with COVID, to try to keep things as normal as possible as much as we could,” said Knights co-athletic director Matt Hassett. “I thought it was important for those kids to still be recognized for their achievements. It’s unfortunate for some kids, they lost some of their seasons, but you still know who the great kids are in the school, especially if they’ve been there for a while.”
Tiedje, who’s headed to the University of Alberta to study economics, was a fixture on Knights teams as a leader on the soccer, basketball and rugby squads at HTA.
“I was actually quite excited because that’s an award I was trying really hard for this year and I knew I could do it if I worked really hard,” Tiedje said. “I know Lauren Sinclair won it last year and she’s kind of an idol, I look up to her a lot.
“It was really cool that I won.”
While teaming up with younger sister Kylie, a Knights athlete of the year finalist as a Grade 10 in her own right, Tiedje won two league championships in both basketball and soccer. The eldest of the Tiedje sisters, Caitlyn, is a water polo athlete at the University of Toronto.
“It was really good because we haven’t played on too many teams (together) before,” Tiedje said. “This was (Kylie’s) first year at HTA so it was really fun to show her the ropes and get her comfortable and interested in school sports right away.”
Tiedje was part of the Knights’ most successful run on the pitch, helping the soccer squad to two zone championships along with three league titles and just one total loss over three seasons.
“That was such a fun team, we had a core group, from Grade 10 to Grade 12, we were such a solid group,” Tiedje said. “I played competitive soccer with them before, lots of the girls, so we already had chemistry and a friendship with everyone.
“It was cool to get back together with them and win a bunch of things.”
Melissa Baxter, HTA rugby coach, science teacher and French department head, said Tiedje is one of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet.
“She always gave 100 per cent in school and sports,” Baxter said. “She was dedicated to learning, achieving academic excellence across the board. She did a large amount of her coursework in French… she was even the only student who wrote the FLA 30-1 diploma exam this year.
“As a team member, you couldn’t ask for anyone better. She led by example and was dedicated to improving her fitness on and off the field. She embodies the characteristics of a Holy Trinity Academy Knight, showing integrity and sportsmanship at all times. She basically represented our school all year long through her participation in soccer, basketball and rugby.”
“We had only just begun training for our rugby season when it got cut short this year, but it was already obvious that Jenna would be a leader on our team. We are so blessed to have had an amazing student-athlete like Jenna for the last three years.”
Leggett starred on both the Knights football and basketball teams.
The quarterback guided HTA football to its first provincial championship in the fall one year after the school finished as runner-ups on the gridiron.
On the hardcourt, Leggett was a steady and reliable force on head coach Sam Aiello’s deep and veteran-laden squad.
The HTA graduate earned plaudits for his work off the field as he received the University of Calgary Seymour Schulich Academic Excellence scholarship for engineering.
“Ben is just one of those kids who kind of has it all together,” said Hassett, also the Knights’ football head coach. “He works really hard both in academics and athletics and he’s one of those kids that just gets along with everybody and is willing to help out anyone if they need it.
“He just outworks people. He reminds me a lot of Ryder Stone, the same kind of great character.”
Teams unable to play due to COVID-19 include track and field, boys and girls rugby, badminton, baseball and boys soccer.
The following are the Knights team award winners:
MVP — Kyleigh Van Oirschot, Brielle Masse
Most Improved — Emma Bailey
Sportsmanlike Award — Davyda Bedard
Heart and Hustle — Brooklyn Duncan
Golfer of the Year — Matthew Flick
MVP — Evonne Henning
Sportsmanship Award — Mackenzie Neufeld
Most Improved — Kael McLaren
Senior Boys Volleyball
MVP — Calvin Herr, Kyle Doornbosch
Sportsmanship Award — Tobias Krueger
Heart and Hustle — Blake Jeanson
Senior Girls Volleyball
MVP — Jordyn Sealock, Kylee Glanville
Heart and Hustle — Chloe Panych
JV Boys Volleyball
MVP — Erik Bjorge
Sportsmanship Award — Rylan Slapman
Heart and Hustle — Luke Mallari
JV Girls Volleyball
MVP — Danielle Luttman
Most Improved — Emersynn Hefferan
Heart and Hustle — Lauren Jackson
Senior Boys Basketball
MVP — Mason Black, Elias Ralph, Ewan Fuhr
Sportsmanship Award — Ben Leggett
Leadership Award — Riley Thorn
Senior Girls Basketball
MVP — Skylar Bonertz, Emily Henderson
Sportsmanship Award — Sawyer Harding
Heart and Hustle — Jenna Tiedje
JV Boys Basketball
MVP — Mark Luis Baluyut
Most improved — Josh Barlow
Sportsmanship Award — Rylan Slapman
Heart and Hustle — Jason Presilda
JV Girls Basketball
MVP — Holly Stiel
Most Improved — Frea Abello
Defender Award — Evonne Henning
MVP — Noah Gutek
Most Improved — Jayden Fleck, Alex Huenison
Heart and Hustle — Jackson Thomas
Heart and Hustle — Bernardo Briseno
Sportsmanship Award — Enrique Jimenez Gutierrez, Rylan Bespalko
Leadership Award — Malachi Busse
Heart and Hustle — Jenna Tiedje, Amy Des Mazes, Paige Kennett
Athletes of the Year: Jenna Tiedje, Ben Leggett
Coaches’ Choice: Mackenzie Neufeld, David Aiello