WIIKWEMKOONG – They are small in numbers but mighty in spirit. Members of the Wikwemikong High School athletic squad, the Warriors, gathered with coaches and family members at the 2018-2019 Warriors Athletic Banquet to celebrate their achievements over the past year.
Emcee Jillian Peltier welcomed everyone to the banquet and made note of a number of singular accomplishments by the student athletes. Among the highlights she mentioned were the participation of Travis Assiniwe at the Northern Ontario Secondary School Association (NOSSA) golf championships; Sierra Pangowish’s participation in NOSSA badminton; and the participation of Sierra, Jasmyn Manitowabi, Victoria Trudeau and Ian Dokum at NOSSA in North Bay. Sierra also qualified to compete in the 3,000 metre race at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) meet in Guelph.
“We continue to prove that our small school has developed a strong athletics program over the last 19 years and we are often competing at the Northern Ontario championship level,” said Ms. Peltier. “All of our athletes should be proud to call themselves Warriors.”
This year’s Student-Athlete of the Year Award was presented to Anina Pangowish.
“This award is presented to a student who has participated on several teams and has also been a strong and successful student,” said Ms. Peltier. “We know it can be difficult to create a balance in your life and we want to acknowledge this when you are a successful student-athlete. Anina has maintained good grades while participating on the volleyball, badminton and track and field teams this year. Congratulations, Anina and keep up the good work.”
This year’s Athlete of the Year is Sierra Pangowish. Sierra was cited as being a person who embodies all the qualities that make an athlete and more. She participated in a range of sports that included cross country, volleyball, badminton and track and field. “Sierra demonstrates not just athletic skills in sport but more importantly the athletic mental aptitude it takes to be successful,” said Ms. Peltier. “We are very proud of Sierra’s accomplishments this year and look forward to her next two years as a Warrior athlete.”
Ferris Eshkawkogan received the Male Athlete of the Year Award.
“Ferris has been part of our athletics program since he began high school four years ago,” said Ms. Peltier. “Ferris was a key team member on many Warriors teams this year, including volleyball, basketball, badminton and track and field. Ferris has always been an excellent role model for his teammates and classmates; he works diligently to do his best with everything he does. We will miss him as he moves on to pursue his post-secondary education.”
This year’s Most Valuable Player Awards went to: Travis Assiniwe in golf, Sierra Pangowish in cross country, Ferris Eshkawkogan in boys’ volleyball, Anina Pangowish in girls’ basketball, Sierra Pangowish in badminton and Victoria Trudeau in track and field.
This year’s Most Improved Player Awards went to Sierra Pangowish in cross country, Isaiah Manitowabi-Bell in boys’ volleyball, Hope Osawamick in girls’ volleyball, Eli Jackson in boys’ basketball, Tyrell Wemigwans in badminton and Ian Dokum in track and field.
The students receiving the Most Sportsmanlike Athlete Awards were: Junior Girl, Sierra Pangowish; Junior Boy, Hunter Staruck; Senior Girl, Apryl Pangowish; and Senior Boy, Ferris Eshkawkogan.
The volunteer coaches were honoured by Principal Maureen Peltier. “I would like to call these coaches to come up and accept these gifts as a token of appreciation for all of the time that they have contributed and the support that they have given to our students as athletes,” she said.
At the beginning of the banquet the assembled Warriors received a congratulatory call from former coach Clifton Wassengeso, who had moved on to a new job at the cancer centre in Sudbury a few weeks ago.
“Thanks to everyone and congratulations,” said Mr. Wassengeso.
Among the coaches honoured were: Robin Cooper for cross country and track and field; Sam Cooper for track and field; Jacon Fox for girls’ and boys’ volleyball; Jamie McCarville for golf and boys’ basketball; Marcel Recollet for cross country and track and field; Pete VanVolkingburgh for girls’ and boys’ basketball; Clifton Wassengeso for badminton and slo pitch; and Ms. Peltier as athletics coordinator.
Ms. Peltier acknowledge the volunteer assistance of Alex Desmoulin, who she said had spent several hours helping to set up the banquet. “He has helped out every year and he is still helping out,” she said. “He didn’t even stick around for the free meal, he just wanted to help out.”
Wiikwemkoong Band Councillor Lawrence Enosse brought greetings on behalf of chief and council and delivered the closing remarks.
“We are proud of our parents and our athletes,” he said. “There are lots of opportunity for sports in our small community, but as you move on to post secondary school, even if you don’t get on one of the varsity teams, remember that there are many club teams that you can join.”
He encouraged the student athletes to continue to make sports and healthy lifestyle choices throughout their lives beyond high school.
Councillor Enosse went on to thank the coaches and teachers who help make the athletic program a success and who support and mentor students in their athletic endeavours.