Gabriola athletes recognized at the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, February 28 2017

On Friday, February 17, 2017, four Gabriola athletes were among those recognized at the 12th annual Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards held at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo.

Finn Bradbrooke was named Junior Male Team Athlete of the Year as Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS) quarterback and MVP of the Subway Bowl BC Junior Varsity Football Championship, and Adin Brenner won for Junior Male Individual Athlete of the Year for his accomplishments in gymnastics as a gold medalist at the Indo-Pacific Trampoline and Tumbling Championships.

Finn Bradbrooke (Left) and Adin Brenner (right) with Sheila Malcolmson, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo - Ladysmith at the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards. Submitted photo

Gabriolans Anais Smith and Cassie Carmichael won in the Junior Team of the Year category, as members of the U14 Girls Upper Island Storm VIPL Soccer Club. The Storm won the 2016 Provincial Coastal Cup in the U14 Girls (Tier A).

Smith and Carmichael (seen to the right in a photo taken during the 2016 run to the Coastal Cup) sent in a statement after the ceremonies saying, “We’re very proud of this award we’ve won and would have never thought going into the season how amazing it really would be and how much success we’d experience.”

Bradbrooke is 15 years old and in Grade 10. “When they said my name I was pretty surprised. I was with two other extremely good athletes from different sports. I think I had a fantastic season, my team played wonderful. That’s what made it happen. I have a wonderful coach and wonderful parents.”

Bradbrooke says commuting for school and sports has been a challenge and he spends most of his time in Nanaimo either at the gym before school or after school for the many sports he’s involved in. When Bradbrooke was named MVP he says “I had tears in my eyes. It was wonderful to walk up. We won every game but two to Barsby, and we beat Barsby in the last game.”

Bradbrooke wants people to know that there are wonderful athletes on Gabriola. “We’re not the stereotypical hippies on Gabriola.”

Marilyn Sullivan was the chairperson for the event. “We start in the Fall and we take nominations for sport accomplishments in the year previous. This year it was for what the athletes accomplished in 2016. Then we have a group of judges that are local sports media and sports people from Nanaimo and we meet after Christmas to choose finalists and pick the winners.”

With 21 categories, Sullivan says the only category that was added this year was an award for extreme sports, which is the Steve Smith Memorial Award.

Of the Gabriola winners, Sullivan says, “They were both in junior categories and it all depends on the sport and where they go to school. Adin Brenner had been nominated previously and was a finalist but had never actually won before. It was a first win for both.”

Adin Brenner is also 15 and in Grade 10. “I wasn’t expecting it,” he says. “It was a big thing. Last year, I didn’t get it and it was something on my list that I wanted to do. I had a really good year of training and competition and I pushed harder than other years. There’s a first for everything.” His challenges include taking the ferries and managing his diabetes, which he does with regular blood sugar tests.

Brenner is on his way to Texas, USA, in three weeks for a training camp and competition and then will participate in the Canadian Cup, and at Nationals. He hopes to qualify at these events for the World Age Group Competition, the highest level event available in his sport, in Bulgaria later this year.

Brenner says he was shocked to have his name called for Junior Male Individual Athlete of the Year because so many other people in the region have also done amazing things. 

Sullivan says it’s amazing how many people in the Nanaimo area have huge accomplishments in their chosen sport. “This event brings people from all sports into one room to celebrate their successes. We had 240 people and the room was sold out. There’s nothing else in Nanaimo or this area that does that.”

The event is organized by volunteers and Sullivan says there should always be an opportunity to celebrate one’s accomplishments and the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards offers opportunity to do just that.