By Kristy Koehler, April 11 2019—
The 2018–19 season is wrapped up for the majority of Dinos teams. And what an amazing season it was! The annual Night of the Dino banquet, held on April 9 at the Red and White Club, paid homage to the incredible athletic culture being built here at the University of Calgary. This season, the Dinos brought home awards and championships across their conference and the country, attending 12 national championships.
Seven Dinos coaches earned Canada West Coach of the Year nods: Simon Chi from women’s rugby, Dan Vanhooren from men’s basketball, Doug Lamont from men’s cross country, Wayne Harris from football, Peter Taylor from field hockey, Damian Jennings from women’s basketball and Troye Flannery from women’s soccer.
Four coaches were awarded U Sports Coach of the Year: Mike Blondal from men’s swimming, Vanhooren, Flannery and Lamont.
“The role of the coach is to unlock the potential of the student athlete and we are blessed to have this transformative type of coach here at [the University of] Calgary,” said Dinos athletic director Jason Kerswill in a speech.
Lars Schlueter, men’s basketball star, gave a heartfelt fifth-year address at the banquet, welcoming the first-year students and saying goodbye to the graduating Dinos.
“Here’s some advice for the first-years here tonight.” said Schlueter. “Use all of the amazing support programs the Dinos offer you. Cherish your time as a student, know when your midterms are, trust your coaches, trust your teammates, compete your hardest, get on top of things and most importantly, enjoy the process.”
Schlueter gave a nod to the incredible athletic culture being built here at the U of C, commending Kerswill on his term as athletic director.
“Don’t just focus on the outcome because you will realize that after the final buzzer of your career goes off, that final finish line is crossed or after that last time you climb out of the pool, that there is so much more to success than just winning,” said Schlueter. “Success is building a culture that lasts, building a program that competes on the highest level — not just one year, but every year.”
Schlueter was a huge part of the Dinos’ undefeated basketball season, starting in all regular season and playoff games, averaging 12 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and becoming the Dinos’ all-time leader in made three-pointers. The men’s basketball team won the Canada West conference championships, falling just short of defending last year’s U Sports national championship title, falling 83–49 to the Carleton Ravens in the final.
Success on the basketball court was just one of the achievements the Dinos found this year. Calgary hosted the U Sports national wrestling championships in February, winning five medals on home floor. Two athletes, Tianna Kennett, nominated for female Athlete of the Year, and Connor McNeice, nominated for male Rookie of the Year, won silver medals.
At the U Sports national swimming championships, also in February, the men’s swim team closed the gap between the Dinos and rivals the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, taking home team silver and winning an impressive array of hardware in the process. The men’s team even led the Thunderbirds in points during the first two days of competition, a sure sign that the program is headed in the right direction and on track to usurp UBC next year.
Women’s varsity rugby brought home a Canada West championship banner for their third consecutive season and in cross country, the Dinos won their first U Sports national championship. Male Athlete of the Year nominee Russell Pennock took home an individual bronze medal in the 3,000-metre race.
The football team had an undefeated regular season, making it all the way to the Hardy Cup and setting records in the process. Quarterback and male Athlete of the Year award winner Adam Sinagra became the record holder for single-season passing in U Sports football. Kicker Niko DiFonte tied the Canada West record for field goals in one game, going 7–for–7 against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Sinagra also won the Hec Crighton trophy for top U Sports football athlete while receiver Tyson Philpot earned U Sports Rookie of the Year.
Both men’s and women’s volleyball entered the post-season, with the men in the Canada West playoffs and the women in the U Sports national championships. The women’s soccer team finished fifth in the country at the U Sports national championships while the men’s soccer team advanced to the Canada West quarter-final, narrowly losing to the Trinity Western Spartans.
The Crowchild Classic was dominated by the Dinos and both the men’s and women’s hockey team defeated the Mount Royal University Cougars at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The men did so in epic fashion, with male Athlete of the Year nominee Riley Sheen scoring the game-winning goal with seconds left on the clock. The men’s hockey team also advanced to the Canada West playoffs.
The Dinos are well-positioned to build on their success again next year with a focus on recruitment and plenty of star players staying on for another year of eligibility. The energy in the room at Night of the Dino suggested a group of enthusiastic athletes ready to put their hearts and bodies into another amazing season.
“We’re only a few months away from doing it all over again,” said Kerswill.
Keep an eye on the Dinos’ upcoming schedule at godinos.com.