Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley athletic department introduced its academic award winners for the 2018-19 season.

Annual awards for individual and team academic performance were handed out at the Cascades’ recent athlete orientation to open the new school year, and national governing bodies U SPORTS and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) have also recognized UFV student-athletes for outstanding work in the classroom.

The Cascades’ female and male individual academic awards went to Veronica Kobes and Sahib Sidhu, respectively.

For Abbotsford product Kobes, it’s the second consecutive year she’s posted the highest grade-point average among Cascades female student-athletes. The rising fourth-year forward with the UFV women’s basketball team earned a 4.18 GPA in her Bachelor of Science studies in 2018-19.

Sidhu, currently a sophomore with the Cascades men’s soccer team, had an outstanding rookie year in the classroom and on the pitch. A Canada West all-rookie selection in 2018, the Surrey, B.C. product posted a 4.17 GPA in his kinesiology studies.

The President’s Shield award for the team with the highest GPA went to the Cascades women’s rugby sevens squad, which posted a combined 3.40. It’s the first major UFV athletic department award for the women’s rugby sevens program, which is entering its fourth season of Canada West competition. Their team GPA was the second-highest since the President’s Shield was first handed out in 2007-08 (the rowing program earned a 3.72 in 2010-11), and 13 of the 15 players on the roster had at least a 3.0 average last year.

Additionally, 15 UFV student-athletes earned plaudits from national governing bodies.

Nine Cascades have been named U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians, which recognizes athletes who achieve an average of 80 per cent (equivalent to a 3.67 GPA) or better. Honourees include Sidhu and Atle Koellmel from men’s soccer; Kobes from women’s basketball; Kenan Hadzovic from men’s basketball; Simren Brar from men’s wrestling; and Tripat Sandhu, Harneet Dadrao, Kate Fisher and Kailyn Halvorson from women’s soccer.

Six Cascades have been named CCAA National Scholars. This award requires honours standing in an academic year; the threshold for the UFV Dean’s List is a 3.67 GPA. The Cascades’ contingent includes four men’s volleyball players – Josh Fefchak, Justin Peleshytyk, Landon Uy and Dylan Neudorf – along with Alexis Edwards from women’s volleyball, and Jacob Lucki from men’s golf.

In addition, 80 UFV student-athletes – 41 per cent of the Cascades student body – achieved at least a 3.0 GPA in 2018-19. That number has risen steadily in recent years, from 31 per cent in 2016-17, and 39 per cent in 2017-18.

“I’m inspired by the academic commitment of all of our student-athletes, including those who are being recognized here,” said Steve Tuckwood, UFV director of athletics and campus recreation. “We continue to graduate well-rounded young people who have excelled both academically and athletically as members of the Cascades and are equipped to take on challenges beyond university.”

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