Mercedes Van Koughnett may only stand at five-feet, eight-inches tall, but she was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court.
The fifth-year guard/forward for UNBC's women basketball team was named female athlete of the year at the Timberwolves athletic banquet Tuesday night at an awards ceremony at the Hart Crown Banquet Hall.
"This award is a really good way to end my playing career," said Van Koughnett, who played high school hoops at Duchess Park secondary. "It's something I'm going to remember for a long time."
It was the second-straight year Van Koughnett, who will graduate with her psychology degree this month, was named UNBC female player of the year.
During the 2013-14 season, she staked claim to the top overall scorer for the women's team with 1,258 points, and ranks second in defensive rebounds and assists. She finished in the top-10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals in CIS Canada West.
Her men's basketball teammate Charles Barton, who calls Vernon his hometown, was was named male player of the year.
Barton, a fifth-year marketing student who transferred from Thompson Rivers University three years ago, topped the T-wolves list for rebounds per game, with a 7.2 average during both his 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons. He also sits second as the leading rebounder with 452 career rebounds, and sixth in overall scoring with 784 points over three seasons.
"This is my first year winning this award," he said. "It's something I'm going to remember for a long time and it comes with gratitude and hard work."
The basketball season concluded in mid-February. As classes wrapped up this week and with final exams on the horizon, both Barton and Van Koughnett said it still hasn't sunk in their CIS careers are now over.
"It will sink in more when the season starts again in September thinking I still need to train for it," said Van Koughnett.
Fiona Raymond of the women's soccer side was named female rookie of the year, while Tofa Fakunle from the men's side was named male rookie of the year.
Individual team awards were also handed out Tuesday night.
They are as follows.
Best defensive player - Ty Venhola
Golden Boot - Tofa Fakunle
MVP - Tyson Hunter
Coach's award - Connor Noftle
Best defensive player - Tanya Grob
Best offensive player - Sydney Hall
MVP - Sydney Wilson
Green and Gold award - Tianna Rossi
Rookie of the year - Marcus MacKay
Best defensive player - Dan Stark
Most outstanding player - Charles Barton
Zane Robison award - Jeff Chu
Most inspirational player - Devin McMurtry
Best defensive player - Emily Kaehn
MVP - Mercedes Van Koughnett
Most improved - Sarah Robin
Rookie of the year - Mavia Nijjer