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The Thunderwolves celebrate the 2019-20 Varsity Student-Athletes

Dear Thunderwolves!
I would like to extend my greetings and best wishes to all of you at this strange and difficult time. Because of the new restrictions, we have decided to cancel our annual  Athletics Awards event. Instead of a face to face celebration of your accomplishments this season, we have posted the information on our website. I know this isn’t the way we thought the season would end, but I still think it’s important that we celebrate the accomplishments of our athletes and rejoice in your success. I would like to thank all of you for your incredible spirit, and the passion you have shown for your sport, your education and our  university,

Good Luck! and a special thanks to our graduating athletes.

Please see the list of winners below.
Congratulations to everyone, and in particular to our award winners.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer. We will talk soon.

With best wishes and affection,
Your Athletic Director,

Tom Warden

Nordic Skiing 

Lakehead Thunderwolves Nordic Ski Team at OUA Banquet

The Thunderwolves Nordic Ski Team is fresh off of another extremely successful OUA Championships, with both the men’s and women’s teams bringing home a team silver medal, as well as four individual medals and two relay medals.

Being named as Nordic Skiing’s Female Rookie of the Year is Kristin Kornell. As a rookie this season, Kornell struggled early with injury and illness but remained both dedicated and patient showing a maturity beyond her years.  She rallied hard after a rocky start to achieve excellent results at her first OUA Championships, narrowly missing OUA All-Star status. She has shown that she will be a key part of our women’s program in the years to come.  

Nordic Skiing’s Male Rookie of the Year is Erik Schlyter. In his rookie season, this highly touted local recruit instantly established himself as a cornerstone of our program. As a former Canadian Championships medalist, Schlyter instantly showed that he is a force on the circuit, earning OUA All-star honours in his first year of eligibility.  He was a key member of our medal winning relay team at OUAs, skiing the fastest opening leg of the competition and proves to be someone to whom we will look for leadership and strong results into the future. 

Alannah MacLean is being named as Nordic Skiing’s 2019-20 Female MVP. MacLean is a second-year medical student and has been the heartbeat of the women’s Nordic program during her tenure at Lakehead.  She has been a part of numerous OUA and CCUNC championship teams during her career as a Thunderwolf and has not only excelled on the varsity circuit but internationally as well, competing for Canada in numerous World Cup races during her time at Lakehead. This season, she swept the gold medals at the OUA championships, claiming the first overall individual OUA title of her storied career.  Based on her results this season, she has again qualified to represent Canada on the world cup circuit.

Nordic Skiing’s 2019-20 Male MVP is Andy Shield. Shield came to our program having represented Canada in International Competition for much of his career. He completed a successful OUA championship by earning three medals in three races. A gold in the individual start classic race, a silver in the individual start freestyle race and a bronze in the men’s relay event. He led the men’s team to a second place overall in the team standings. Shield also sets the tone for professionalism and execution at team training sessions and we are looking forward to him continuing to be a force for our program for many years to come.

The final Nordic Skiing award goes to an athlete who has provided veteran leadership to the program this year.  During the course of his tenure as a thunderwolf, he has been the ultimate team player and has continually and consistently set the tone for hard work and dedication to excellence. Much of the success of our men’s team during the time he has been with us is due to this culture of which he has been an integral part. The Nordic Skiing Sportsperson of the year is Levi Warkentine.

Cross-Country and Indoor Track 

From conquering muddy trails to flying around the track against the best in Canada, our cross country runners and track and field athletes spent the season setting new personal bests and breaking Lakehead records.

Cross Country’s Female Most Valuable Runner is Rebekkah Pyle, a third year athlete from Burlington, ON. Pyle is consistently one of the hardest workers on the team. She is positive and a pleasure to work with. She was fourth at the very competitive University of Minnesota’s Griak Invite and third at the UW Eau Claire BluGold Open. She finished her season at the OUA Champs with a 21st place finish.  


Colin Warwick takes home the honour of being Cross Country’s Male Most Valuable Runner. The second year Thunder Bay native showed flashes of his potential this fall after a great summer of training.  He finished ninth in a field of over 400 athletes at the UW-Eau Claire BluGold Open. After a bit of an off day at the OUA Champs he rebounded to finish 15th at the Canadian National Junior Cross Country Championships. 


The Indoor Track and Field’s Female Most Valuable Runner is Amy Stieh, a rookie from Thunder Bay who had an amazing season. Stieh had a great regular season winning the 300m at the LU Opener, LU Vs the World, and the Bison Classic breaking the old school record in each of these races.  She also picked up a win in the 600m at the UWS Yellowjacket Open. At the OUA Champs she finished third in the 300m and fifth in the 600m. At the USports Champs she made the final in both the 300m and 600m, ending up seventh in both events. 

Niko Dowhos has been named the Indoor Track and Field’s Male Most Valuable Runner. This Thunder Bay native had a great rookie season that saw him make huge improvements running personal bests and breaking the school record multiple times.  He was consistently on the podium all season. Results include winning the 200m at LU Vs the World, third place finishes at the McGill Team Challenge and Bison Open in the 60m, and winning the 60m and 4 X 200m relay at the UWS Yellowjacket Open. He had a breakthrough race at the OUA Champs, running a big personal best in the 60m heats to make the finals, where he surprised the field with a third place finish. At the USports Champs he also made the final in the 60m where he ended up sixth.


The 2019-20 women’s volleyball team was exciting as always to watch in the Thunderdome. The young team showed great determination and strong character all season, and proved time and time again they were capable of strong competition against nationally-ranked teams. 

This year there will be two recipients for the Women’s Volleyball Rookie of the Year Award. Both of these players came in and made an immediate impact for the women’s volleyball team. Both took on a very large role in their first year. One came in and became the starting setter, while the other came in and became one of the starting left sides. 

15- Abigail AlmonteAbi Almonte started in 17 of our 19 matches and finished the year with 100 Kills (third most on our team) and finished with 157 digs (second most on our team). We watched her grow all year into an extremely versatile player. Her passing improved everyday, she was relied on for her digging ability, and became extremely efficient in her offense, someone who we relied on to score points.


8- Lauren FollettLauren Follett appeared in all 19 matches and started 17 of our 19 matches. Lauren finished the year with 389 assists (12th in the OUA) and 96 digs (fourth on our team). Lauren developed into a great leader this year. Her personality was infectious and came through in everything she did. She was able to be our leader on the court by running the offense and making our attackers be efficient.


30- Megan NahachewskyThis year’s Coaches Award goes to another first year, Megan Nahachewsky. Nahachewsky came in and made an impact on our team right away. She started all 19 of our matches and played in every set (68) of our season. She led the team in kills, with 128 (good for 27th in the OUA and second in all first year scoring) and she finished the year with 155 digs, good for second on our team. She became a huge part of our offense and someone we consistently relied on to score us points or keep a rally going. It has been incredible to watch her level of play continue to increase. Through all of this she has earned a spot on the OUA West All Rookie Team.

3- Rebekah HaraThe Corinne Kollmann award goes to Rebeka Hara, a teammate that took a huge step forward in her development as a volleyball player and a leader this year. Hara became someone we relied on in our serve receive and on defense. She was asked to switch positions this year to a position she had never played. She took the challenge and ran with it. She became the best passer on our team and someone who locked down our serve receive every game. She led our team in digs with 254 (this puts her fourth in the OUA). She became a voice on our team that everyone listened to and a leader on and off the court. It has been amazing to watch the individual growth both from a volleyball perspective and as a person. This person cares about her teammates and pushes her teammates everyday. 

13- Gillian HansenThis year’s recipient of the Most Improved Player goes to Gillian Hansen, who is a home grown talent. Hansen quietly improves everyday. Everything she does she does with class and with poise. She has worked two seasons in a row plus summers to get to where she is now. The growth that Hansen has taken since she joined this team is unbelievable. From her grade 11 year when her serve was barely crossing the net, to now, someone who leads the OUA in all blocking categories. This year, this player started all 19 of our matches and played in 66 of our 68 sets. Last year she only appeared in 14 sets total. She is finishing the year with 72 kills, 31 Block Solos (first in the OUA), 31 Block Assists (eight in the OUA), and 62 Total blocks (fifth in the OUA). We are looking forward to her continued development. It has been so great to see her develop into the leader and volleyball player she is today. 

Women’s Volleyball’s Most Valuable Player award goes to Megan Routier, an offensive stable on our team. This year we relied heavily on Routier’s offensive output. At the same time we watched her defensive output increase as well. Routier finished with 126 kills (tied for her career high and puts her 29th in the OUA and second on our team and a career high for her.). She finished with a career high in hitting efficiency .207 which put her 17th in the OUA and first on our team. She finished with 33 Service aces (10th in the OUA and first on our team and a career high for her). She finished with 50 total blocks (a career high for her and good for 11th in the OUA). She set new standards for herself in her career year and new standards for her teammates. All of these accomplishments were good enough to have her named to the OUA West Second Team All Star. 

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team battled hard in every game they played this season, securing a spot as a nationally ranked team for the majority of the year, while finishing the regular season as the top team in the OUA Central Division with a 17-5 record. 

This year’s Most Improved Player award goes to Matthew Edwards, a third year wing from Whitby, Ont. Edwards steadily improved over the course of the summer and well into the fall and winter semesters. Matt’s improvement culminated when he started in the final regular season game of the OUA schedule and recorded a career high 12 points while also recording three rebounds and two assists. Edward’s commitment to the game and to improving as a player should serve as a model for all young athletes chasing their dreams.   

The Defensive Player of the Year award goes to Lock Lam. A third year wing from Ottawa, Ont., Lam started every game this season as a junior, ranking third on the Wolves in scoring and leading the team in rebounds and blocks per game. A long and athletic wing, Lam helped guide the Thunderwolves to a #5 national ranking in the second half of the year playing particularly impressive defense all year, accumulating 77 blocks in 22 OUA contests which led the conference and country by more than 30 total blocks. Lam’s impressive and consistent play was rewarded by being recognized as an OUA-All Third Team member,  as well as winning the OUA Defensive Player of the Year and the U-Sport Defensive Player of the Year award honors.

The 2019-20 Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Year award goes to Laoui Msambya. A freshman guard from Quebec City, Que., Msambya started all but one game as a true freshman, ranking second on the Wolves in scoring and leading the team in assists per game. A strong and physical guard, Laoui helped guide the Thunderwolves to a #5 national ranking in the second half of the year playing particularly impressive defense to limit reigning U-Sport player of the year Kadre Gray to 15 points while forcing him into 12 turnovers.  Just a week later, Msambya hit big shot after big shot including the buzzer-beating layup to seal a victory at the University of Toronto in a hard fought contest. Msambya continued his stellar play and was rewarded for his consistency and high performance being recognized as an OUA All Rookie Team member, as well as winning a spot on the U-Sports All-Rookie Team.

The 2019-20 Men’s Basketball Most Valuable Player award goes to two athletes who led the Thunderwolves this season. A fifth year guard from Tupelo, Mississippi and a third year wing from Ottawa, Ontario, Isaiah Traylor and Lock Lam are our 2019-2020 Co-MVP’s of the MBB program.

Traylor led the wolves in scoring at 22 points per game while also ranking second on the team in rebounding at 6.6 per game. Traylor was also recognized as an OUA First Team All-Star, the first LU player to achieve that since Dwayne Harvey in the 2013-2014 season. 



Lam was our third leading scorer averaging 13.5 PPG while leading the team in rebounding and leading the country in blocks by a wide margin. Lam was named to the OUA Third Team All-Stars while also being named OUA and U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year.




Despite a slow start to the 2019-20 season, the Thunderwolves men’s hockey team never gave up, grinding out wins both on the road and at home to clinch the final spot in the OUA postseason. They were dedicated and resilient, battling through injury and a tough travel schedule to prove that this young team has a lot of promise.    

This year’s Hardest Worker and Best Work Ethic award goes to Cooper Leith and Brett Wolframe. These two are individuals that are as consistent as it gets with the effort they bring to the rink. They take excellent care of themselves off the ice and train extremely hard which allows them to play with the type of speed that hockey teams need. Their habits, speed and competitive nature help drive the pace of practice for the group and are a great example to the standard we want as a team.

Troy Williams and Callum Fryer will be taking home the Men’s Hockey Best Defensive Player award. 

Williams played his best in the big moments. A first year player that came in and continued to grow his game and became extremely valuable in all situations, especially when playing against opponents top players. His defensive acumen, and commitment to rising to the moment to block a shot at a key point of the game, or using his speed to limit the time and space of the opposing team was very valuable, especially when playing against top teams in the league.

Fyrer used his strength and speed combined with his anticipation skills to see plays unfolding and deny chances before they could happen when he was on the ice. He returned to the line-up just before Christmas from injury and gave a major boost to the line-up with his veteran leadership, and ability to play hard matchups, and minutes. He sets the standard for defensive play as no one opponent was ever too much for him to handle. 

The 2019-20 Men’s Hockey Rookie of the Year award goes to Kyle Auger. As a first year player, Auger settled in almost immediately making his offensive instincts and skillset a very important part of the success of the team. Ultimately, he became one of the leading scoring OUA defensemen, while also having a knack for clutch performances. Over the season, he continued to grow as a player offensively, but also defensively to ensure he was able to play in many situations. He holds his performance to a very high standard, and we look forward to the strides he will continue to make as he continues to become one of U SPORTS top defensemen. 

The 2019-20 Men’s Hockey Best Offensive Players and Most Valuable Players are Tomas Soustal and Daniel Del Paggio. These players spent the majority of the season playing together. Their chemistry and hockey IQ combined with their talents and determination gave them the ability to be top players and offensive threats in the OUA placing both in the top 12 scorers in the league, respectively. A tandem that was almost impossible to defend in many cases, no matter the level of competition they were facing on a given night, they almost always found a way to break through for the group. They made players who got to play with them better with the plays they made, always putting an individual in an advantageous spot while making slight adjustments to their game to help the success of the line and change the dynamic slightly to mesh with all players.  

Women’s Basketball

This resilient Thunderwolves team didn’t let injuries and a bumpy start to the season slow them down. The Thunderwolves women’s basketball team buckled down in the second half of the season and when it mattered most, they came together to battle out the wins they needed to secure their spot in the Critelli Cup Playoffs.

14- Charlotte CliffordThe Women’s Basketball Most Improved Player award goes to Charlotte Clifford. A tough, defensive/rebounding forward who started in 20 games averaging over 24 minutes per game, Clifford had almost five points and over five rebounds per game while shooting over 54% from the field. She also guarded multiple positions including 6’3″ posts at only 5’11” tall. 


9- Tiffany ReynoldsThe 2019-20 Best Defensive Player is Tiffany Reynolds. In an injury riddled season, Renyolds started all 12 of 12 league games averaging over 23 minutes per game. She was fourth in team scoring and rebounding, and played multiple positions while guarding the other team’s top player or point guard. 


3- Kate McPhailThe Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year goes to Kate McPhail. McPhail played 12 minutes a game averaging over five points while shooting over 42% from the field. An aggressive attacker, she averaged the second most free throws attempted for the season. 



1- Sofia LluchThe Lakehead Women’s Basketball’s 2019-20 Most Valuable Player is Sofia Lluch. Lluch was the team’s leading scorer and was also the team’s leader in assists and free throws attempted and made. Second on the team in rebounding and minutes played, Lluch came close twice to achieving a triple double. She finished fifth in the OUA in assists, 12th in three point field goal percentage, 14th in scoring and 25th in steals.


5- Kielly McDonoughThe Amanda Nesbitt Award is presented annually to the Women’s Basketball Player who demonstrates perseverance, dedication and loyalty to the basketball program at Lakehead University. Kielly McDonough was one of the team captains that led the Women’s Basketball team to a playoff position in the OUA Conference. Over the course of the year she displayed tremendous will, hard work and determination. Her love of the game and her work ethic on and off the court was a positive influence that inspired her teammates. She could be relied on to play aggressive and physical defence and offence and to stretch defences with the ability to make three-point shots. Throughout her career at Lakehead University she portrayed the ideals of a consummate team player. 


At the OUA championships the Lakehead Thunderwolves Wrestling team had fantastic results from some key veterans as well as various first years.  The women’s team came third overall and the men fourth along with the male rookie of the year. The team qualified eleven members for the U SPORTS Championship where they brought home two medals, one gold and one silver.

The Women’s Wrestling Most Improved Award goes to Kara Nixon and Rylie George. Both competed at the OUA and U SPORTS Championships. George placed fourth at the OUA Championship and Nixon fourth at U SPORTS. 



The Men’s Wrestling Most Improved Award goes to Hasan Ercan, a third year business student. Ercan’s hard work and commitment to a sport led him to a second place finish at the 54kg class at the OUA Championships. Ercan was also named OUA Second Team All Star.



Jessica Hong is the Women’s Wrestling 2019-20 Rookie of the Year. Hong placed fourth at the McMaster open, second at the York open, and third at the Junior Provincial Championships. Hong also won silver at the OUA Championships, and was named OUA second Team All Star. She finished the 2019-20 season with a fifth place finish at U SPORTS. 


Earning Men’s Wrestling’s Rookie of the Year is Thunder Bay native, Mike Zale. The first year business student placed first at McMaster open, second at York open, first at Brock open, second at Guelph open, second at the OUA Championships and sixth at the U SPORTS Championship. Zale was an OUA second team all star and was named OUA Rookie of the Year


The 2019-20 Most Valuable Women’s Wrestler is Madison Clayton. As a fourth-year French student, Clayton is hard working and committed to the program. Clayton placed first at the McMaster Open, second at York Open, first at Brock Open, and second at Guelph Open. She won OUA and U SPORTS Silver Medals and was named OUA Second Team All Star and U SPORTS Second Team All Canadian. Madison’s win-loss record was 17 wins and four losses. 

The 2019-20 Most Valuable Men’s Wrestler is Marco Palermo. Palermo leads the team by example both with his work ethic and by his results. Palermo won the Brock Open, was second at the Guelph open and third at the York open before winning both the OUA and U SPORTS Championships. He was named an OUA First Team All Star and U SPORTS First Team All Canadian, with a win-loss record of 18 wins and two losses. Palermo was a member of the U23 Canadian National Team, placing eighth at the U23 World Championship. 

Brody Evans is the recipient of the final wrestling award, the Frank Schaller Award. Evans completed his fifth and final year as a Thunderwolf. Evans ended his career with a sixth place finish at the U SPORTS Championship. Evans is committed to the team and always helping others.



We would also like to congratulate the OUA All-Stars and Major Award winners.

From Men’s Basketball 

OUA First Team All Star – Isaiah Traylor

OUA Defensive Player of the Year and OUA Third team All Star – Lock Lam

OUA All-Rookie Team – Laoui Msambya

From Men’s Hockey:

OUA West Most Sportsmanlike – Daniel Del Paggio

Women’s Volleyball:

OUA West Second Team All Star – Meghan Routier

OUA West All Rookie Team – Megan Nahachewsky

From Wrestling:

OUA First Team All Star – Marco Palermo 

OUA Second Team All Star – Madison Clayton, Jessica Hong, and Hasan Ercan

OUA Male Rookie of the Year: Mike Zale

Nordic Skiing’s OUA All-Stars:

Alannah MacLean

Shaylynn Loewen

Erika Mihell 

Camille Hamm 

Andy Shields 

Conor McGovern 

Erik Schlyter 

We’d also like to honour our U SPORTS All-Canadians and Major Award Winners.

From Men’s Basketball: 

U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year – Lock Lam

U SPORTS All-Rookie All-Canadian – Laoui Msambya

From Wrestling:

First-Team All Canadian – Marco Palermo

Second-Team All Canadian – Madison Clayton


This next award is presented to a graduating athlete for outstanding contributions to Lakehead Athletics as demonstrated by superior skill, leadership and sportsmanship throughout their career. The 2019-20 recipient of the Argus Award is Isaiah Traylor.



11- Lily Gruber-SchulzThe Hank Akervall Memorial Award is presented to a graduating student athlete who has demonstrated excellence in Athletics while keeping a good academic standing, is active in the community and is a well rounded individual. This year the award will be given to Lily Gruber-Schulz and Brett Wolframe, two student-athletes who during their time at Lakehead have done an excellent job of demonstrating these qualities.


The final awards of the 2019-20 season will be the Men’s and Women’s Rookie and Athlete of the Year. 

This 2019-20 Female Rookie of the Year is Amy Stieh.

This Thunder Bay native was a dedicated and dominant member of the Thunderwolves Track team, who continuously broke Lakehead records all season. Stieh finished the indoor season off with an incredible performance at the OUA Championships, finishing third in the women’s 300m and fifth in the 600m, and another incredible performance at the U SPORTS Championships, where she finished seventh in both the 300m and 600m.


The 2019-20 Male Rookie of the Year is Laoui Msambya.

In his first year at Lakehead, Msambya has shown great passion for his game and has proven to be an incredible assist to the men’s basketball team. His hard work earned him a spot on the OUA All-Rookie Team as well as the U SPORTS All-Rookie All-Canadian Team.


The 2019-20 Female Athlete of the Year is Alannah MacLean.

As a student-athlete, MacLean has established herself as an absolute force on the trails for the women’s team, all while balancing training, competitions and med school. She swept OUAs, earning a gold medal in the women’s 10km freestyle, the women’s 15km classic and the women’s 3x5km relay. After her incredible performance, MacLean was named an OUA All-Star.


The 2019-20 Male Athletes of the Year are Marco Palermo and Lock Lam. 

Palermo continues to show a strong dedication to his sport and to the Thunderwolves, training hard to earn a spot on the U23 Canadian National Team, while also representing Lakehead at the University level. Palermo finished the wrestling season by earning his third straight U SPORTS Championship. 


Lam certainly made a name for himself this season, claiming both OUA and U SPORT Defensive Player of the Year. Lam broke three Lakehead ball-control records this season including most blocks in a season, most career blocks (131) and most blocks in one game. He led the OUA and U SPORTS with 77 total blocks, 34 more blocks than the next closest shot-blocker in Canada.



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