2019-20 Readers’ Choice Award Results

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Male Athlete of the Year

Cruiz Manning (Wrestling) – 44.1%

  • Manning was a force to be reckoned with this season, winning on a bronze in the 76 kg weight class at the Brock invitational. He went down a weight class and took home the gold medal at the OUA championships, beating out McMaster’s Connor Quinton. The Badgers finished the competition with 95 points, nearly 30 points ahead of the second place Marauders. Manning once again beat Quinton to earn the U Sports gold medal in the 68 kg weight class, helping the Badgers bring home their 20th national championship.

Jared Agyemang (Soccer) – 20.6%

  • After spending three seasons playing for the Guelph Gryphons, Agyemang transferred to Brock ahead of the 2018-19 season and has scored 18 goals in 29 games as a Badger. This season, in his final year of eligibility, Agyemang had a career-best season, scoring 13 goals in 14 games including three multi-goal games. He finished second in the OUA in scoring and scored the game-winning goal in double overtime of the Badgers first-round playoff matchup against Windsor. He was named U Sports Athlete of the Month in September, as well as being named an OUA All-Star.

Steve Commerford (Rugby) – 20.6%

  • After suffering a devastating left leg injury last year that included a broken leg and a torn ACL, Commerford returned to help turn the Badgers from a 1-7 team last year to one that took home a provincial and national bronze medal this season. He was named a national tournament All-Star for his efforts.

Logan House (Volleyball) – 14.7%

  • In his third season with the Badgers, House continued to show why he is one of the premier players in the OUA. Leading the Badgers to their first-ever playoff berth since the reincarnation of the men’s volleyball program in 2016, House was named a First Team All-Star for the second straight year after finishing fifth in the league in kills with 3.53 per game.


Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Female Athlete of the Year

Melissa Tatti (Basketball) – 75%

  • It was a historic season for the Badgers’ women’s basketball program, and Tatti was at the forefront of it all. In her final year of eligibility, Tatti finished the season as the OUA’s leading scorer with a career-best 18.5 points per game, en route to taking home the OUA MVP award and being named a First Team All-Star. She had back-to-back 30 point games in January and later scored a career-high 34 points against Laurier. She helped bring home the Badgers first OUA championship since 1983 and ends her career as the Badgers all-time leader in scoring and assists. Her stellar play continued at the national level, scoring the game-winning layup against Calgary in the quarterfinals as the Badgers made it to the national championship game, bringing home a national silver medal. Tatti was named a First Team All-Canadian for her historic season as well as being named a U Sports Final 8 Tournament All-Star.

Julie Steffler (Wrestling) – 11.1%

  • After competing against Brock for years as a member of the Western Mustangs, Steffler transferred to Brock after missing all of 2018-19 due to a torn ACL. She dominated the mats all season long, winning both provincial and national gold medals in the 59 kg weight class as the Badgers won yet another provincial and national championship. She was named U Sports Most Outstanding Female Wrestler for her efforts.

Jensen Murphy (Hockey) – 8.3%

  • In her fifth and final season with the Badgers, Murphy was named OUA Goalie of the Year, finishing with a .946 save percentage, third in the OUA. What set Murphy apart from other goaltenders in the OUA was the frequency with which she was called on; she started 23 out of 24 games this season, more than any other goaltender in the league. She made 646 saves over the season while also serving as one of few senior players on the team.

Laura Condotta (Volleyball) – 5.6%

  • In her final season of eligibility, Condotta continued to dominate the province and the country with her play this season. Playing in 90 total games over five years with the Badgers, Condotta was named an OUA First Team All-Star for the second straight season. She finished second in the league in total kills and kills per set with 257 and 3.78, respectively. She led the Badgers to a provincial silver and with it, clinched the program’s first-ever spot in the national championship tournament. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament was cancelled, though Condotta was still named an All-Canadian for the second straight season.


Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Coach of the Year

Mike Rao (W. Basketball) – 59.5%

  • In just his second season at the helm of the program, Rao turned the Badgers from a 6-24 team in 2017-18 to the nations’ runner-up in just 20 months. Rao was named OUA Coach of the Year after the Badgers went 17-5 in the regular season. Down 19 points in the fourth quarter of their playoff opener, the Badgers came all the way back to stun Windsor in the OUA quarterfinals. The Badgers then upset the 1-seeded Mustangs on the road in the semis, before beating the Rams by 13 on the road to win the OUA championship. Rao’s efforts were recognized on the national level, as he was named the U Sports Coach of the Year for women’s basketball. He led the Badgers to a national silver medal at the U Sports Final 8 Tournament.

Marty Calder (M/W Wrestling) – 24.3%

  • The greatest dynasty in Canadian wrestling history continues to become even greater, as Calder’s programs swept the season, winning two more provincial and national championships, while Calder was named the U Sports Coach of the Year on the men’s side of the mats. The new banners now bring Calder’s total to 42 provincial championships (23 for the men and 19 for the women) and 30 national titles (20 for the men and 10 for the women). All in all, Calder has hung up 72 banners in just 28 years.

Steve Delaney (W. Volleyball) – 8.1%

  • Delaney’s second season as Badgers head coach was a historic one. Delaney was named OUA Coach of the Year after his team went 14-5 in the regular season and sat atop the West division. The Badgers earned a place in the OUA Final Four for the first time since 1990-91 and advanced to the gold medal match, ultimately falling to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. They still earned a silver medal, the first in program history, qualifying them for nationals. 

Lucio Ianiero (M/W Soccer) – 8.1%

  • In his fifth season as head coach of the men’s soccer program, Ianiero was rather suddenly named the interim coach of the women’s team as well this season after a shakeup in early September. Nevertheless, Ianiero managed to lead both teams to playoff appearances and was named OUA Coach of the Year as a result. The women finished the regular season with a record of 7-3-4 before falling to McMaster in the quarterfinals. The men would go on to beat Windsor in the quarterfinals before falling to Guelph in the semis.


Photo credit: Stephen Leithwood

Photo credit: Stephen Leithwood

Rookie of the Year

Jordan Sambrook (M. Hockey) – 59%

  • Sambrook came to the Badgers in the fall after playing four seasons in the OHL. He had an immediate impact on the team, playing in all 28 games of the regular season and quickly became one of the Badgers leading scorers. He and fellow rookie Christian Girhiny ended the season with 19 points to tie for the team lead. Sambrook had two assists in the playoffs before the Badgers were knocked out in the second round. He was named to the OUA All-Rookie team and a Second Team All-Star for his efforts in the regular season, in addition to being named to the U Sports All-Rookie team. Sambrook is a proficient two way defender, transitioning from defensive responsibility to offensive playmaking. He was a staple on the special teams and was able to play long hard minutes for the Badgers when called upon.

Aleiah Torres (W. Volleyball) – 17.9%

  • Playing libero for the No. 6 team in the country as a first-year, Torres was named to the OUA All-Rookie team for her play this season. Averaging 2.56 digs per set, Torres helped the Badgers finish atop the OUA West with a record of 14-5. Her 182 total digs were good enough for 15th in the OUA. She consistently led the team in digs throughout the Badgers historic playoff run.

Mishayla Christensen (W. Hockey) – 17.9%

  • Christensen was part of a stand-out group of rookies who helped the Badgers earn home ice advantage going into the playoffs for the first time in program history. The British Columbian set the bar high for herself, scoring two goals in her first game as a Badger against Windsor back in October. She finished the season with 10 goals and six points. She and fellow first years Mikayla Flanagan and Emma Irwin are primed to elevate Brock women’s hockey in the coming seasons. 

Saulius Lianga (M. Volleyball) – 5.1%

  • The left side hitter tied for most matches played among Badgers with 17 games as a freshman. He averaged 2.14 kills per set and had a hitting percentage of .140. Lianga was part of the men’s volleyball team that made their first playoff appearance since the program was rebooted in 2016. Lianga was second on the team in kills with 126. 


Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Program of the Year

Women’s Basketball – 64.7%

  • The Badgers won their first OUA championship since 1983 this season, brought back the program’s first ever national medal with their silver medal performance at the U Sports Final 8 Tournament, saw players and coaches win award after award and became the talk of the town during their historic playoff run. 

Wrestling – 20.6%

  • Championships are becoming the rule rather than the exception for both the men’s and women’s wrestling programs. The Badgers took both the men’s and women’s OUA championships before hosting nationals, where they once again swept the tournament. Both programs hit milestones, the women winning their 10th national title and the men winning their 20th.

Men’s Rugby – 8.8%

  • Last season, the Badgers went 1-7. This year, they were OUA bronze medalists. The speed of their turnaround is a testament to the program. After getting a few key players back from injuries, they went 7-5 in the regular season, defeating Trent in the OUA bronze medal game to qualify for U Sports, where they won the consolation final over McGill.

Women’s Volleyball – 5.9%

  • This team made history this year with their first OUA Final Four appearance since 1990-91 and their first OUA medal in program history with a silver. They were given the seventh seed heading into nationals and were slated to play the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the first round, a rematch of the OUA finals, but were sent home amidst the U Sports cancellations that occurred as a result of COVID-19.


Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Event of the Year

Steel Blade Classic – 60%

  • The Steel Blade Classic is Brock’s de-facto homecoming event. Over 4,700 fans filled the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines to watch the men’s hockey team play an exhibition game against the Guelph Gryphons. The Badgers fell 4-1 to the Gryphons, but in what is quickly becoming a tradition, the game got physical and the Badgers and Gryphons put on a show for the fans in attendance. This game was the start of an intense rivalry between the Badgers and Gryphons that ran through the regular season and continued into the playoffs.  

Paint the Meridian Red – 34.3%

  • Badgers and community members attended a double header at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines to watch the Badgers basketball programs take on the Varisty Blues of Toronto. The women played first and defeated Toronto 84-69, before the men celebrated their first ever win at the Meridian, winning 75-65. Brock also raised $1,100 for the Brock University Students’ Union’s (BUSU) food program. 

Hometown Baseball – 2.9%

  • Over 400 spectators came to George Taylor Field to cheer on the Badgers as they defeated the Ontario Blue Jays 13-7. Two former Badgers turned Blue Jays prospects, Alex Nolan and Shaun Valeriote, were there to throw out the first pitch. The kids in attendance got the chance to run the bases, take pictures with Boomer the Badger and have their faces painted

Basketball Seniors’ Night – 2.9%

  • It was a sold-out night at the Bob Davis Gym when seniors Melissa Tatti, Jessica Morris, Tyler Brown and Mitch Saunders played their final regular season home game as Badgers back on January 29. The women beat the York Lions 73-55 behind Tatti’s 30 points, while the men lost a close one 79-77, though Brown finished with 24-11-6 in his final home game.
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