Award-winning night for King's student-athletes
April 5, 2019
Written by Leo Aul, Communications Intern
King’s student-athletes Kelsey Veltman, volleyball; Sara Villani, track and field; Lucas Peressini, hockey; and Omar Shiddo, basketball were awarded the 2018-2019 most valuable player (MVPs) awards for their respective Western Mustangs teams at the 2019 Athletic Gala on April 2.
King’s was recognized for a record-breaking number of 24 students who were presented with the U Sports Academic All-Canadians award, given to exceptional varsity student-athletes who have an academic standing of 80% or higher.
Veltman received the prestigious F.W.P. Jones Trophy, which is awarded to a female student-athlete who made the greatest contribution to Intercollegiate Athletics at Western by the Selection Committee. She also received a Purple Blanket, which is awarded to student-athletes who achieved superior distinction at the Provincial/National level of competition as representatives of Western. Earlier this year, Veltman was named second team Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star playing the middle position.
“It’s an amazing honour and an insane feeling. I'm happy I was able to be a part of the amazing athletic program here and I appreciate all the support from my teammates, coaches and parents. The people who have helped me at King's have been my professors. I have never had a problem with getting accommodation and I get constant support from the staff and Deans here,” says Veltman, fourth year student in Disability Studies at King’s.
Villani expressed her feelings after being awarded team MVP, “it makes me feel incredibly happy and I feel honoured, but it’s also a reminder that my journey does not end here. I still have lots of work to do,” says Villani, a fourth year student in Thanatology and Psychology at King’s. Earlier this year she won the silver medal in women’s shot put with a personal best throw of 15.45m at the U Sports track and field National Championships.
Peressini is a third year honours student in Accounting and Finance at King’s. He won the team MVP in men’s hockey as a goalie for the Mustangs. Previously, Peressini played for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) where he was named goaltender of the year in 2014-2015.
Dr. Josephine Gemson, Finance and Accounting professor at King’s, shared her experience teaching Peressini. “As a student, he is a force to reckon with. His ready answers and enthusiastic participation in class sessions indicated his dedication and seriousness to his academic education as well. His contribution to all the aspects of the course: group projects, reports, quizzes and exams are all visible, and extremely well done. Lucas is also kind and well-mannered and will certainly blossom and achieve greater heights in [the] future.”
Shiddo is a second year student in Criminology at King’s and plays guard for the Western Mustangs. In addition to winning team MVP, Shiddo was named this year as a second team OUA all-star.
“King’s is proud of the long history of academic and athletic excellence of our student-athletes. Our much-valued partnership with the Western Mustangs provides students with a unique environment that can help them thrive in the classroom, in the community and in their chosen sports,” says Joe Henry, Dean of Students.