Elijah Miller and Brinten Comeau named UPEI Athletes of the Year
UPEI’s Department of Athletics and Recreation celebrated the 2022–23 season at the annual UPEI Panther Celebration—Athletic Awards Gala on Thursday, March 30, recognizing outstanding student-athletes who have excelled in sport, the classroom, and the community.
This year, the UPEI Alumni Association’s Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year award went to Brinten Comeau of the UPEI Women’s Rugby team. The Male Athlete of the Year is Elijah Miller of the UPEI Men’s Basketball team.
The event, held at the PEI Brewing Company, included student-athletes, coaches, and team staff from both varsity and club sport programs along with members of the University community. UPEI’s varsity program includes Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Rugby, Men’s Hockey, Women’s Hockey, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Cross Country, Women’s Curling, and Track and Field, while UPEI club sport teams include Men’s Rugby, Women’s Field Hockey, Men’s Lacrosse, Ultimate, Equestrian, and Cheer.
“Competitive sport is an integral aspect of education and a vital part of a full university experience,” said Jane Vessey, UPEI Director of Athletics and Recreation. “I am so proud of our student-athletes’ accomplishments. They have made this past season one of the most memorable and competitive seasons in Panther history.”
The W.A. Ledwell Award is presented annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding athletic ability in the intercollegiate program, academic excellence, and the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, and citizenship. This year’s recipient was Troy Lajeunesse of the UPEI Men’s Hockey team.
The Gordon and Muriel Bennett Award is presented to a male or female student athlete who, over four years, has best combined athletic achievement and academic excellence. This year’s winner was Zach Wilson of UPEI Men’s Track and Field.
In addition to the overall awards, varsity and competitive club team awards were also presented. These included the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Rookie of the Year, J.T. “Mickey” Place, and Principles of Panther Pride awards.
The J.T. “Mickey” Place Awards are presented by the UPEI Student Union to varsity team student-athletes who contributed to student leadership on their team and on campus. Each coach presents the Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award to the student-athlete on their team, who best exemplify purpose, preparation, respect for people, positivity, professionalism, presence, passion, and perseverance.
Team Award Winners for 2022–2023
Men’s Soccer: Kasper Lasia (MVP), Jacob Tweel (Rookie of the Year), Colin Curran (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Jonathan MacKenzie (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Women’s Soccer: Mia Martell (MVP), Lydia Hamill (Rookie of the Year), Camille King (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Madi Fisher (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Women’s Rugby: Brinten Comeau (MVP), Ria Johnston (Rookie of the Year), Tessa Hood (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Agustina Cohen (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Men’s Hockey: Troy Lajeunesse (MVP and Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award), Zac Beauregard (Rookie of the Year), Carson MacKinnon (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award )
Women’s Hockey: Sarah Forsythe (MVP), Orianna MacNeil (Rookie of the Year), Ruby Loughton (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Lexie Murphy (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Men’s Basketball: Elijah Miller (MVP), Cameron Brown (Rookie of the Year), John Alex Vos (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Kamari Scott (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Women’s Basketball: Lauren Rainford (MVP), Samantha Zoffranieri (Rookie of the Year), Reilly Sullivan (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Sydney Cummins (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Cross Country (women): Katie Richard (MVP), Stefania Angona (Rookie of the Year), Mary Teresa Pitre/Riley Fitzpatrick (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Grace Richard (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Cross Country (men): Jack Roberts (MVP), Campbell Brown (Rookie of the Year), Matt Kozma (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Track and Field (women): Helena Ikpotokin (MVP) and Bianca Boutilier (Rookie of the Year)
Track and Field (men): Zach Wilson (MVP and J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Colin Blanchard and Nathan Mahar (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Men’s Rugby: Adam Fitzpatrick (MVP), Riley DesRoches (Rookie of the Year), Chris Knap (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Faris Zakem (Warhorse Award)
Women’s Field Hockey: Alexis Wood (MVP), Lindsey Doiron and Kali Smith (Co-Rookies of the Year), Jessica Watts (Principles of Panther Pride Coaches Award)
Men’s Lacrosse: Top Senior-Logan Saulnier (MVP), Top Freshman-Tyler Dill (Rookie of the Year), Alex Stokes (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award), Joe Hansen (Defensive Player of the Year), Alex Stokes (Coach’s Leadership Award)
Ultimate: Christian d'Entremont and Danielle Hayes (MVPs), Adam Conklin and Maddy Cronin (Spirit of the Game), Luke McCarvill (J.T. “Mickey” Place Award )
Cheer: Chloë Betts (MVP), Jessica Tutton (Rookie of the Year), Sarah Comeau (Most Improved)
Equestrian: Kassie Colavecchia (MVP), Amelia Ritcey (Rookie of the Year), Madison Delorey (Sportsmanship), Hannah Mowat (Coach’s Choice)
About the UPEI Athletes of the Year
Elijah Miller returned after a stellar 2021–22 campaign and accomplished even more in 2022–23. The third-year floor general posted career highs in points (19.7), assists (6.0), and rebounds (5.3), en route to being named Atlantic University Sports’ (AUS) Most Valuable Player—the first of his career. He was also named an AUS First Team All-Star and a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian. Miller broke UPEI’s record for most assists in a season with 120, passing current head coach Darrell Glenn’s mark of 118 set in the 1992–93 season. He guided the Panthers to a second-place finish with a 15-5 record and another trip to the AUS final. The team also earned a spot in the U SPORTS Final 8 and nearly upset the top-ranked Victoria Vikes in a 93-92 loss. Miller was an assist shy of a triple-double in his first appearance on the national stage, as he finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.
Brinten Comeau was a star the moment she put on a UPEI jersey, but in 2022–23 the accolades really followed her. The fourth-year flanker was named the AUS MVP after guiding the Panthers to a 4-2 record in which they outscored their opponents by a combined score of 246-42. Comeau was also named an AUS First Team All-Star and a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian and finished the regular season with an AUS-best eight tries. But above all, she can now call herself a champion as the Panthers captured their first AUS title after defeating the Acadia Axewomen in a 33-12 thriller. Comeau scored a try to kickstart a dominant second half of the historic win. The team later traveled to Victoria, BC, to compete in the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship for just the second time in the UPEI program’s history.
Go Panthers Go!