Burlington, Ont. – Another season is in the books, but there is no shortage of success to celebrate from the year that was. While some maintained their lofty expectations during the regular season, others were able to turn a corner to reach new heights in their 2019 campaigns. So while a pair of Queen’s Gaels – both of whom played integral roles in leading their team to continued success on the pitch – headline this year’s deserving recipients, the conference-wide triumphs extend well beyond the Kingston squad as well to make up the men’s rugby major award winners and all-stars for the 2019 season.
When it comes to the two Gaels who scored hardware this season, one came via on-field contributions while the other influenced his squad from the sidelines. On the pitch, Dylan Young (Toronto, Ont.) used his veteran leadership to spark his OUA Player of the Year campaign. He led the team on the scoreboard thanks to his dynamic play and precision kicking, but also off the scoresheet as a result of his leadership.
After pacing the conference in scoring a year ago, Young turned in another productive campaign, with the OUA first team all-star topping the Tricolour’s point-producers once again and ranking among the nation’s leaders in that regard as well. The fifth-year senior has positioned the Gaels well for another OUA title and has done his part to keep the team’s winning streak alive and well, with this individual honour capping off what has been a sensational stint with the powerhouse squad.
Doing his part to get the most out of Young and the entire Queen’s roster, meanwhile, is head coach David Butcher who, for a second consecutive season, takes home the OUA Coach of the Year honour. The third-year coach, who has been involved in rugby for more than 20 years as a player, coach, and sports development professional, guided the Gaels to their third straight undefeated season against OUA competition, extending their streak to 27 straight games during his tenure. In addition to his variety of roles with Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada, Butcher has his Kingston squad ready for another Turner Trophy push, as he looks to finish off his latest campaign at the helm in winning fashion as well.
While success has come year over year for individuals like the Queen’s honourees, a member of the McMaster squad is adding his first piece of hardware in his debut campaign with the Marauders. Nathan Pinder (Kingston, Ont.) may just be starting off his university career, but the path looks promising for the OUA Rookie of the Year. The first-year fly half was a starter for all six regular season matches, as well as each postseason encounter, for the maroon machine. Pinder has proven to be a clever and dangerous attacker, tactical kicker, and a dependable defender in his foray into the OUA. Much of this early success comes from his strong decision-making, and his overall awareness of the game should make him a key cog for the Hamilton squad moving forward.
As much as student-athletes try to excel on the field, something that Trent’s Emerson Prior (Gananoque, Ont.) did en route to an all-star nod this season, there are many who go beyond the sidelines to make an impact in the classroom, on campus, and in the community, which is another area that the Excalibur standout shone this season.
Emerson, the Trillium Award recipient, has shown time and time again to be a committed performer for Trent. He entered university in the highest academic scholarship bracket the school has to offer. His pursuit of a degree in nursing has challenged him with classroom learning and a number of different placement opportunities in the community, both of which he has managed exceedingly well. His dedication and impact as a student aligns with some of his key attributes as an athlete as well, as he has been a fixture for Trent in their on-field growth during his tenure. Now an all-star in back-to-back seasons, he also represented Canada at the junior level and has worked with the provincial senior team, rounding out his well-balanced efforts in each area he pursues.
The complete list of 2019 OUA men’s rugby major award winners and all-stars is:
2019 Major Awards
Player of the Year – Dylan Young, Queen’s
Rookie of the Year – Nathan Pinder, McMaster
Trillium Award – Emerson Prior, Trent
Coach of the Year – David Butcher, Queen’s
2019 First Team All-Stars
Fly Half – Steven Commerford, Brock
Scrum Half – Dylan Young, Queen’s
Prop – Guershom Mukendi, Guelph
Prop – Stefan Zuliani, Queen’s
Centre – Mitch Voralek, Waterloo
Centre – Quenton McLean-Lovado, Guelph
Back Three – Collin Smibert, Guelph
Back Three Sam Ibbotson, Queen’s
Back Three – Fawad Nasseri, Trent
Back Row – Mitch Talbot, Guelph
Back Row – Darby Bradley, Trent
Back Row – Trevor Helgason, Queen’s
Hooker – Jack McRogers, McMaster
Second Row – Cameron Hurst, Guelph
Second Row – Noah King, Queen’s
2019 Second-Team All-Stars
Fly Half – Aria Keshoofy, Guelph
Scrum Half – Riley DiNardo, Guelph
Prop – Emerson Prior, Trent
Prop – Ruairidh MacPhail, Queen’s
Centre – Tyler Gagne, McMaster
Centre – Cully Quirke, Queen’s
Back Three – Scott Leonard, McMaster
Back Three – Paul Schroeder, Waterloo
Back Row – Alex Pipchuk, Queen’s
Back Row – Steven Medvesky, Brock
Back Row – Max Goodwin, Guelph
Hooker – Kean Varga, Trent
Second Row – Harrison Cooper, Waterloo
Second Row – Mitch Wilson, Brock