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TRURO, N.S. — If there’s one takeaway from the 37th annual Truro Sports Heritage Society’s awards ceremony, it would be Colchester County has no shortage of talented athletes.
Held at the Marigold Cultural Centre on May 7 to a full house, the ceremony returned for the first time since the start of the pandemic for a night of celebrating the town’s and county’s most distinguished athletes from 2022.
“Nice crowd tonight,” said Craig Burgess, chair of the society. “Nice to celebrate the sports’ history of this community, especially in 2022. A lot of great athletes, teams, volunteers, and sports people.
“It’s wonderful to see this crowd out, finally getting back up on our feet after a couple of years of COVID.”
CBC’s Bruce Rainnie made a return to emcee the ceremonies, as he has done for over a decade. In his opener, he noted the unbelievable sports talent that comes out of Colchester County.
Burgess added to his remarks.
“If you just look at the sports history that we have in this community, and just outside of Truro, too, it’s wonderful to see. We have some great national caliber, even international athletes who have come from here over the years.
“This is the most enjoyable committee I sit on because I love sports, hearing about the history, and seeing what the future holds for athletes. It’s just wonderful to see and celebrate it at this kind of event.”
The first award, going to an Outstanding Female Athlete 15 years or younger, was shared between two recipients: hockey player Brooke Williams and multi-sport athlete Annalise MacNutt.
Williams not only led the Fundy Highland U-15 AAA team in points (19 in 17 games) but earned a spot to represent Nova Scotia at the Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., held earlier this year.
MacNutt is skilled at table tennis, curling, and golf, representing the province at the Quebec Circuit, the Canadian Championships in Ontario, and the Atlantic Championships in P.E.I. She was crowned the U-19 champion at the Atlantic Championships.
The second was to an Outstanding Male Athlete age 15 or younger. This was given to track and field prodigy Carter Myatt who excels in multiple events and holds eight club records with the Truro Lions Track and Field Club.
The CEC girls’ varsity basketball team was next to receive an award for Outstanding High School Team. They won the 2022 Division One SSNS provincial championship in Halifax after becoming the first seed through a number of tournaments, all of which they won.
The Outstanding Team Award, which goes to teams 21 years or older, went to the Dwayne Green Curling Team. The team consists of Dwayne Green, Stephen Johnston, Larry Higgins, and Mike Topley. They represented Nova Scotia at the National Masters Curling Championship in Winnipeg after winning the provincial title.
Jennessa Wolfe received the Outstanding Female Athlete Award for those ages 16 to 20. She competes in track and field, badminton, soccer, and dance, earning several provincial and national titles in the process.
The Outstanding Male Athlete counterpart went to Malcolm Farris, a distinguished freestyle skier from Brookfield who won gold at the 2022 Freestyle Canada Junior Nationals. He also made the finals at the 2022 Sun Peaks Canada Cup.
Competing for the first time as a team in the District Track and Field Championship, the Bible Hill Junior High Track and Field Supported Athletes Team managed to score the highest total points at the district and regional champions. They brought the first Regional Track and Field Banner for Supported Athletes to Bible Hill Junior High. For this achievement, they won the Outstanding Junior High School Team Award.
The Outstanding Club Team Award for 15years or younger was given to the Brookfield Elks U-15 team, who won the Eastern Canadian Fastpitch Softball Championships, which they hosted at Elk Park.
The Outstanding Female Athlete Award, for ages 21 to 50, went to Josée Gallant, a weightlifter who placed first in nationals in 2022, leading to her participation in the Pan American Weightlifting Championships in March 2023. She is currently preparing for the Paris Summer Olympics.
Liam Moffatt was the male counterpart for the Outstanding 21 to 50 Athlete Award. Moffatt qualified for the Olympics in 2022, a dream come true for the snowboarder. At the Olympics, he placed 12th in time trials and 17th in finals. He and his teammate placed ninth in a team race.
The Outstanding Club Team Award for ages 16 to 20 went to the Truro Lions Club Track and Field Team. They won both the 2021 and 2022 Athletics Provincial Club Championships.
Next was the Outstanding Female Senior Athlete Award, which went to Pamela McEwing. She returned to the Truro Lions Track and Field Club in 2021, breaking personal records and also achieving two gold medals at the Canadian Indoor Masters Championships for shot put and weight throw.
The male counterpart to this award went to Burgess and Peter Neily, who competed alongside Team Glen MacLeod in the 2022 Provincial Seniors Curling Championships where they went undefeated. They represented in the National Senior Curling Championship last December.
Jason Hicks was chosen for the Special Olympian Award. Hicks won three gold medals for sprinting at the Special Olympics Provincial Summer Games. He earned himself a spot as one of Team Nova Scotia’s two Special Olympian sprinters for the Canada Games and finished as the fastest male Special Olympics sprinter in Atlantic Canada.
Brookes VanTassell won the Coach of the Year Award for his work with the girls and boys softball teams in Brookfield, as well as coaching the U-15 hockey team. He coached the U-13 and U-15 softball teams to the Eastern Canadian Championships, and lead the hockey team to win the Provincial A Championship title.
Iain LaPointe was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year for his work coaching the CEC track and field team, a role he’s been in for many years. He also coaches with the Truro Lions Track and Field Club.
One Merit Award was presented to Mary Gonzales. Gonzales started the CEC cheerleading club, which will soon be celebrating its 30th anniversary. She has also brought cheerleaders to high-level competitions where she has helped Nova Scotia achieve several top-three finishes, including a first-place finish in 2009 and a second-place finish in 2020.
Another Merit Award was given to Bike Truro, an organization comprised of Mike Knowlton, Keith Gillis, and Aaron Tooker. The three have set up events for mountain biking through Truro’s Railyard, have helped the town maintain the trails, and have even educated the public on safe riding and trail etiquette.
Golfer David Byrne was recognized with the Sports Legacy Award. Byrne joined the Truro Golf Club in 1979 and has won the Truro Senior Club Championship nine times since 2007. At 86 years old, Byrne has shot his age or better 74 times.
Byrne shared a few words after the ceremony.
“I love Truro,” he said happily. “I think it’s a great town. It’s great having (the golf club) so close downtown.”
Byrne also said that he plans to spend as much time at the golf club as he can.
The last award of the night, the Veronica McMillan Memorial Award, was presented to 88-year-old Peter Grant, who lives an active lifestyle that involves walking, cycling, and swimming regularly. He can also be found cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and skating outdoors in the wintertime.