And the winners are.. 

Another successful year of Loyalist Athletics was celebrated last night.

Together, student athletes, team coaches, athletics department staff and guests gathered to commend the Lancers from their athletic achievements to their academic triumphs.

This year’s Lancers of the Year are Sara Piana-Yafu (women’s volleyball) and Adam Strickland (men’s volleyball). Piana-Yafu lead the OCAA in kills, is an OCAA All-Star, and has been OCAA’s athlete of the week. Strickland ranked fourth in kills in the OCAA, and was ranked in the top 10 nationally in overall points.

Piana-Yafu is in her second-year of the fitness and health promotion program while Strickland is a fourth-year public relations student.

“It feels good. I’m happy and I’m coming back next year for sure,” said Piana-Yafu, now a two-time winner of a Loyalist Lancers most esteemed award.

“I’m in my graduating year and it’s such an honour to receive this at this timing. It’s amazing,” said Strickland, who returned toLoyalist this year after a last minute decision but now, his decision proved to pay its dividends.

Photo left: Sara Piana-Yafu celebrates as her team scores a point during a recent game. Piana-Yafu is this year’s Female Lancer of the Year for the second consecutive season. 

Adam Strickland screams in joy as his team scores a point. Strickland is this year’s Male Lancer of the Year. Student athletes received awards last night at Loyalist.

Despite being one of the smallest schools in the OCAA, Loyalist is one of the top institutions in the association with the highest academic standings by its student athletes.

Loyalist College President, Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan attended the celebration and praised the accomplishments these students have achieved.

“These student athletes are also incredible people. They really give us an opportunity to celebrate Loyalist and to celebrate with them tonight was a wonderful honour,” said Vaughan, who gave the opening remarks at the event.

During the event, Jim Buck, the Lancers athletic director endlessly praised his relentless coaches and his hardworking staff, who are the people who make things happen behind the scenes.

“This is always a great thing to end our year. It’s a great night when you get a chance to recognize student athletes, coaches and my staff, who have gone above and beyond preparing for this banquet,” Buck said.

In a surprise twist near the end of the banquet, the athletics staff also recognized Buck’s 30 years of service for the Loyalist Lancers.

Throughout the years, he’s been a coach and now athletic director. Amy Hoskin, athletics coordinator, said a couple words about Buck and his commitment, loyalty and hard work to the Lancers community. Staff then presented him with a gift as everyone cheered on “JB! JB!” which is his nickname among the athletes and the staff.

“My whole life has been in sports and I love what I do. When you get paid to come to work and deal with athletes and coaches, it’s a bonus. What Amy said are special words that meant a lot me,” Buck said.

Asked if he will continue on to work for the Lancers for 30 more years, he joked, “I don’t know about 30 more, but I’ll aim for three to five more years.”

This year’s banquet included a new awards segment called “The Lannys”. Through an online voting portal, students were asked to vote for their favourite moments in Loyalist sports this year captured in photos by photojournalism students.

The Loyalist Lancers currently have four teams that participate in the fall OCAA season – cross country, men’s rugby, women’s soccer, and women’s rugby. In the winter season, the Lancers represent the college in the sports men’s basketball, men’s volleyball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

Using Format