Honouring the present, paying tribute to the past

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Mount Pearl Sports Alliance Awards

For the first time in its history, the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance will honour its past and present in one ceremony by combining its two annual events - the Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame induction and Athlete of the Year awards ceremony.

Four new inductees - soccer's Austin Martin and Keith Welsh in the builder category and vision-impaired bowler William Royle and female soccer player Raelene (Dunne) Baggs - will be honoured alongside the winners of male and female athlete of the year and team and executive of the year honours for 2009.

For the first time in its history, the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance will honour its past and present in one ceremony by combining its two annual events - the Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame induction and Athlete of the Year awards ceremony.

Four new inductees - soccer's Austin Martin and Keith Welsh in the builder category and vision-impaired bowler William Royle and female soccer player Raelene (Dunne) Baggs - will be honoured alongside the winners of male and female athlete of the year and team and executive of the year honours for 2009.

The Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet and annual athletic awards banquet begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the Reid Community Center.

Hall of Fame inductees

Raelene (Dunne) Baggs (Athlete)

A six-time Mount Pearl athlete of the year, Baggs was the Canadian university women's soccer MVP in 1999, the same year she earned the Newfoundland Soccer Association's (NLSA) female player of the decade for the 1990s. She was female athlete of the year for Acadia (1997) and Queen's universities (2000) and a three time national all-star.

Baggs was a member of nine provincial championship teams, including two at the Jubilee Trophy level and seven straight from 1987 to 1993. In 2007, the NLSA named the Jubilee Trophy MVP award after her.

Austin Martin (Builder)

After playing in, plus assisting in the operation of, the Mount Pearl men's senior recreational soccer league for a over a decade, Martin turned his attention toward the executive side of the sport, serving on the Mount Pearl Soccer Association (MPSA) board of directors as executive director, vice chairman, chairman.

At the all-star level, Martin coached teams to five provincial titles. He was inducted into the MPSA Hall of Fame in 2009.

William J. Royle (Athlete)

Becoming legally blind in 1968 didn't stop William "Bill" Royle from competing and finding success in sports internationally. At the Physically Disabled Canada Games in Edmonton in 1977, Royle won gold in discus and shot put and silver in goal ball. That same year at the Pan-Am Games in Chicago, Royle won gold in the discus and goal ball, silver in the shot put and bronze in the javelin.

In recent years, Royle has competed lawn bowling and captured a silver at the 2007 national championships. Last summer, Royle represented Canada at the world blind lawn bowling championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Keith Welsh (Builder)

A founding members of the MPSA and its first treasurer, Welsh was key to establishing fundraising activities. In the late 1970s, Welsh was instrumental in the obtaining funding that led to the creation of Upper Smallwood Field and the original "hut."

Welsh also served 15 years as a minor soccer official and coached house league for four years. He was inducted into the MPSA Hall of Fame in 1997.

Male Athlete of the Year

Brad Lester (rugby)

Ranked among the best second-row players in the country and certainly in Atlantic Canada, Lester was an instrumental part of Newfoundland's Rock squad and Dogs RFC senior A team in 2009. He is also short-listed as a potential national team player.

Peter Fifield (baseball)

The H.J. Bartlett Electric Storm pitcher threw five complete games in the playoffs, helping lead his team to its first St. John's Molson Senior Baseball League championship this past summer. He was named playoff MVP. Fifield also competed for the Mount Pearl Blazers and was top pitcher in the provincial senior B championships.

Adam Keating (baseball and basketball)

On the diamond, Keating attended the national bantam championships as part of the St. John's Capital bantam squad and was the teams' MVP, with an on-base percentage over .500.

On the hardcourt, the teenager was co-captain of the province's under-15 midget team which competed at the national championships in Kamloops, B.C. He was also a member of the St. Peter's Grade 9 basketball team, the O'Donel under-16 squad and the Mount Pearl bantam AAA baseball team.

Female Athlete of the Year

Kayla Hickman (gymnastics)

The Campia Gymnastics club member's success at the Atlantic and Eastern Canadian championships in 2009 earned her a feature in the summer edition of Gymnastic Canada's national magazine. Hickman was also the top performer at both the Frosty Flip Invitational and Snowbowl Invitational. She is a member of Gymnastics Newfoundland and Labrador' winter games training squad working towards the next games, 2011 in Halifax.

Nicole Chan (track and Field)

The Pearlgate Track and Field Club female athlete of the year qualified for the national championships in Oromocto, N.B., with first-place finishes in the 100-metre sprint and long jump in each of five provincial and regional meets. At nationals, she won silver in the long jump and placed fourth in the 100m. Chan also took part in the Royal Canadian Legion nationals, placing 10th in the long jump and 13th in the 100m.

Yvonne Chan (track and Field)

Strong finishes at the five provincial and regional meets vaulted Chan into the Atlantic championships, where she placed fifth in the 100 metres and sixth in long jump. Later, at the Royal Canadian Legion nationals, Chan was 27th in the 100m and 31st in the long jump. Chan also competed with Team Newfoundland and Labrador's 4x100m relay team at the 2009 Canada Summer Games in P.E.I.

Peter Halliday Executive of the Year

Kathy Jackman, Campia Gymnastics

Jackman was Gymnastics Newfoundland and Labrador and Campia's volunteer of the year for 2009.

Keith Smith, MPSA

In his fourth term as the MPSA vice-president and the MPSA's 2009 president's award winner, Smith chaired the committee which procured $1.8 million in funding for the new pitch which opened in 2009 and hosted the Atlantic University Sport women's championship.

Harry Bartlett, Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades

Bartlett is intent on bringing the Herder Memorial Trophy to Mount Pearl and has invested finances, time and energy into making it happen. While the team has took some time to hit its stride on the ice, the Blades' fan base continues to grow and local businesses - 75 in total - have come on board in support.

Team of the Year

H.J. Bartlett Electric Storm baseball team

The Storm recorded one of the biggest upsets in St. John's senior baseball history when they downed the defending champions Gonzaga Vikings 4-1 in the best-of-seven league final. It was the first time in the league's 61-year history a team from Mount Pearl won the title.

Mount Pearl men's masters soccer team

In St. John's Masters League regular-season and playoff action, the Mount Pearl club collected 15 wins, two ties and just one loss on its way to the league championship. The team went undefeated at the provincial masters, outscoring the opposition by 16 goals and finished fifth at the Eastern Canadians Masters.

Coach of the Year

Becky Sjare (track and field)

Coaching athletes in sprint, long distance running, throw, long and high jump, Sjare has seen the results in provincial and national events, with many ranked month the highest in the province.

Ellis Cole (soccer)

After helping to lead the Mount Pearl Men's Masters soccer team to a provincial title as both player and coach, Cole formed a committee and was instrumental in raising the $25,000 needed for the team to travel to nationals, and did so in just three weeks.

Brad Ford (bowling)

A 12-year coach with the Pearlgate Youth Bowling Council, Ford guided the lanes' senior boys team to a provincial gold medal and fourth-place finish at the nationals. He worked with the provincial Special Olympics bowling championship and has been selected to coach all three teams representing Mount Pearl South at the 2010 provincial Winter Games.

Organizations: Mount Pearl Sport Alliance, MPSA, Newfoundland Soccer Association Queen's Mount Pearl Soccer Association Disabled Canada Games Royal Canadian Legion H.J. Bartlett Electric Storm Molson Senior Baseball League AAA Pearlgate Track and Field Club Team Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic University Sport Masters League Pearlgate Youth Bowling Council Special Olympics

Geographic location: Mount Pearl South, Atlantic Canada, St. John's Capital Reid Community Edmonton Chicago Melbourne Australia Newfoundland Campia Kamloops Halifax Oromocto P.E.I.

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