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Hurricanes Award nominees announced

Every year, the Holland Hurricanes host an awards ceremony to celebrate and commemorate those who contribute to the success of the college’s athletics program the previous season. Between student-athletes who excel in athletic competition and in the classroom, and staff and volunteers who help develop and promote the program, there is a lot to celebrate every April. 

This Thursday, April 4, we are thrilled to recognize several deserving individuals with team awards and major award winners at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall on the Holland College Prince of Wales Campus.

Monday, we announced the nominees for the Male & Female Rookies of the Year, and today we announce the nominees for the Male & Female Athletes of the Year awards. Each category consists of five student-athletes whose contributions and efforts helped take their team to higher levels, including veterans who led their team to glory and rookies who shined in the spotlight at the beginning of their Hurricanes career.


Female Rookie of the Year Nominees


Alina Crockett, Volleyball (Stratford, PEI)

Despite the women’s volleyball team having most of its starter lineup return from the 2022-23 season, several rookies were key contributors when required to step up. Alina Crockett was one of them, providing substantial depth and being solid in the rebound and dig categories. Most notably, she recorded 12 rebounds, three digs, three kills, and one assist on December 2 versus the Mounties.


Robyn Driscoll, Basketball (Portugal Cove-St. Philips, Newfoundland)

On a squad filled with a mixture of veterans and rookies, Robyn Driscoll arrived from Newfoundland and made an immediate impact for the women’s basketball team. She had multiple double-digit point games, played many minutes, scored multiple field goals, and took advantage of being lined up with stars like Alexa Rancourt, Amy Plaggenhoef, and Lauren Armstrong. She was a key piece at the 2024 ACAA Championships in Charlottetown, scoring a total of 24 points in the team’s run to the semifinals.


Ella McLean, Rugby (Quispamsis, New Brunswick)

Ella McLean joined the women’s rugby program from Quispamsis, N.B. as a promising fullback/scrumhalf. She proved to be a dynamic addition to the back three, helping the team to an undefeated season and its first-ever ACAA championship in just the program’s second season of operation, finishing fourth in scoring for the ‘Canes.


Allison Rutt, Soccer (Sheffield Mills, Nova Scotia)

Nova-Scotia born goalkeeper, Allie Rutt, jumped on the opportunity to play for the women’s soccer team after initially being set on a gap year, and what a decision it was. The former Canada Games star was the steal of the offseason, recording a total of 10 wins and eight shutouts (regular season and playoffs combined) en route to the program’s seventh ACAA championship. At the nationals, she helped the team win three games and a bronze medal. A player that flew under the radar, according to head coach Jonathan Vos. Rutt finished the season as a member of the 2ndACAA All-Conference team.


Kristyn Taylor, Soccer and Hockey (Summerside, PEI)

To be a dual-sport student-athlete takes great courage, determination, and discipline. Kristyn Taylor exemplified those qualities as she helped contribute to two regional championships and a national medal for the Holland Hurricanes. In women’s soccer, she was a competitive force to be reckoned with, especially at the CCAA Nationals in Summerside, P.E.I., helping the team achieve a bronze medal. In women’s hockey, her elite offensive skills helped the team win back-to-back Atlantic championships in Wolfville, N.S. She was named to the 2nd ACHA All-Star team for her tremendous season.



Male Rookie of the Year Nominees

David Bayingana, Soccer (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan)

Saskatchewan’s David Bayingana came to the men’s soccer program as a talented midfielder who was pushed hard to play that role at a high level. Bayingana recorded one goal and two assists in nine games started, including a game-winning goal in a 2-1 win against the UNBSJ Seawolves on Oct. 14, 2023. For his tremendous season, David was named to the 1st ACAA All-Conference team, a major accomplishment for a rookie in the league.


Mathis Blais, Football (Rustico, PEI)

Rustico’s Mathis Blais made his name known at the collegiate level as a true freshman. In the words of head coach Aaron MacIsaac, Mathis was a major contributor to many of the ‘Canes positive moments during the 2023 AFL season. The highlight of his season, being named a 2024 AFL All-Star at the linebacker position.


Chris MacDougall, Baseball (Cornwall, PEI)

Local shortstop Chris MacDougall used his Canada Games experience to log many valuable innings for the baseball team and help other rookies transition nicely to the program. Former head coach Andrew MacNevin describes him as a great kid and a great athlete.


Aaron Simmons, Basketball (Nassau, Bahamas)

Aaron Simmons was recruited to the men’s basketball team from the Bahamas, making an immediate impact on a team filled with rookies and sophomores. While playing alongside ACAA stars Bryce Corless and Diangelo Woodside, and fellow rookies Topaz Kana and Zachary Dawkins, Simmons finished eighth in the ACAA with 272 points (second-most on the Hurricanes) and sixth with 110-224 field goals. He also recorded a total of 43 points at the 2024 ACAA Basketball Championships in Charlottetown, earning Player of the Game honours after a semi-final loss.


Izumo Ueda, Volleyball (Heathfield, South Australia)

Izumo Ueda took everyone by storm with and incredible rookie campaign with the ‘Canes. The Australian volleyball left side/right side, who demanded attention and was an efficient, high-volume athlete, had dominant spurts over the 2023-24 season, recording the third-most kills per set (2.81) and the third-most kills (16) in the ACAA, while also excelling in rebounds and digs. His efforts earned him the 2024 ACAA Men’s Volleyball Rookie of the Year award, as well as a member of the ACAA All-Conference team.



Female Athlete of the Year Nominees


Emma Arsenault, Hockey (Searletown, PEI)

Emma Arsenault continued to add to her illustrious women’s hockey career with another season of elite athleticism and consistent dedication, which helped the team achieve back-to-back Atlantic championships. While keeping her team alive in critical situations, she also mentored and welcomed rookies, like goaltender Bella Scott, with open arms and positive experiences. During the regular season, she recorded five wins and four shutouts. At the 2024 ACHA Championships in Wolfville, N.S., she recorded two wins and an overtime loss en route to the program’s third title in history. Arsenault was named to the 2024 ACHA 1st All-Conference Team at season’s end.


Ella Hickey, Volleyball (Charlottetown, PEI)

Ella Hickey entered her third and final season as a Hurricane poised to help the women’s volleyball team defend its 2023 ACAA championship. The veteran setter was heavily relied on all season to create, assist, and set up plays, while mentoring rookies and helping maintain a cheerful, hard-working environment every warmup and game. During the regular season, Hickey recorded an astounding 556 assists and led the ACAA with 8.18 assists per set. At the 2024 ACAA Championships in Fredericton, N.B., she recorded a total of 62 assists. At the season-end ACAA banquet, she was named to the 2024 ACAA 1st All-Conference Team.


Tori Hogan, Rugby (Tignish, PEI)

For the 2023 women’s rugby season, Tori Hogan was tasked to step up and fill a void left by Kathleen Curran, who was the original on-field leader. She certainly excelled in the new role, helping the team win its first-ever ACAA title in just its second season of operation, not losing a single game in the regular season and the playoffs. Most notably, she battled adversity and persevered with a successful penalty kick at the 2023 ACAA Championship Game against the Mount Allison Mounties. Hogan was named the 2023 ACAA Player of the Year and was named a member of the 2023 ACAA All-Conference Team. In the words of head coach Craig Inward, Hogan demonstrated what great looks like almost every time she touched the ball.


Emily Lepine, Soccer (Bridgewater, Nova Scotia)

It was a season to remember for Hurricanes women’s soccer star, Emily Lepine. After claiming the all-time leading goal scorer record in 2022, she was ready to step up in 2023, especially after the announcement that the program would host the 2023 CCAA Nationals in Summerside. The 2023 Hurricanes President’s Award recipient had yet another season for the ages, recording 27 goals, two assists, 34 shots on goal, and 11 game-winning goals, which helped the team go undefeated in the regular season and at the ACAA Championships, where Holland won its seventh title. At the nationals, Lepine scored multiple goals and was named Player of the Game in a 4-1 win against the Douglas Royals. At the year-end ACAA banquet, she was named the 2023 ACAA Player of the Year. She was also named a 2023 CCAA All-Canadian.


Alexa Rancourt, Basketball (Charlottetown, PEI)

Entering her fourth season in the ACAA, basketball star Alexa Rancourt transferred from the Crandall University Chargers to the Hurricanes for the 2023-24 season, ready to give the women’s basketball team a well-needed offensive boost. To say her first season as a ‘Cane was successful would be an understatement, as she dominated the league and carried the team through many games. She recorded the most points in the ACAA with 293 and was second in points per game (16.3), first in rebounds per game (10.6), and second in field goal percentage (56.2). At the 2024 ACAA Basketball Championships in Charlottetown, she added another 22 points in the team’s run to the semifinals and was named Player of the Game after a 76-54 quarterfinal win against the STU Tommies. At the year-end ACAA banquet, she was named the 2024 ACAA Player of the Year and a member of the 2024 ACAA 1st All-Conference Team. She was also named a 2024 CCAA All-Canadian.



Male Athlete of the Year Nominees


Mohammad Ali, Soccer (Daraa, Syria)

Mohammad Ali, the reigning Hurricanes Male Athlete of the Year and ACAA Player of the Year, returned to the men’s soccer team for his third season of eligibility in 2023, ready to keep the program’s momentum going after leading it to an ACAA championship in 2022. Although the 2023 season saw more struggles as result of a more competitive league, Ali maintained his elite status with 11 goals, four assists, 26 points, and four game-winning goals in 10 regular season games, helping the team finish third in the ACAA with an 8-2-2 record. Despite a rough campaign compared to past ones, Ali’s exceptional skills remained on full display, and he showed great chemistry alongside Brazil rookie Vinny Boyd. Ali also was named to the 1st ACAA All-Conference team.


Bryce Corless, Basketball (Quispamsis, New Brunswick)

Corless took the ACAA by storm during the 2023-24 season. Corless entered the season with an adversity-filled past, which included a broken foot (which he broke twice in five months) the previous year. After having surgery during summer 2023, he returned with one of the greater campaigns by a Hurricane student-athlete, leading the ACAA with 424 points and 22.3 points per game while also dominating in the field goal and three-point categories. In February, Corless surpassed 750 career points. At the 2024 ACAA Championships in Charlottetown, he helped the team make a run to the semifinals whilst recording a total of 48 points, earning Player of the Game honours after a 100-98 quarterfinal win against the UNBSJ Seawolves. At the year-end ACAA banquet, Corless was named to the 2024 ACAA 1st All-Conference Team.


Carson Gray, Volleyball (Statford, PEI)

Local talent Carson Gray had a spectacular second season with the Hurricanes’ men’s volleyball team, stepping up as the new captain and going from having the lowest attack attempt average to having the highest. As one of two returning starters for the 2023-24 season, Gray led the Hurricanes in many categories, particularly in kills. He led the ACAA with 174 kills and was second with 3.11 kills per set, while also finishing third with a .281 hitting percentage. Gray recorded 14 kills and 18 digs, earning him Player of the Game honours in the ACAA semi-final playoff match versus the Tommies. At season’s end, he was named to the 2024 ACAA All-Conference Team. Gray’s attacking and serving skills on the court and mentoring skills off the court were applauded by teammates and coaches, with head coach Brett Butler saying he deserved to be named a CCAA All-Canadian.


Ethan Smith, Baseball (Stratford, PEI)

Ethan Smith, the reigning Atlantic Collegiate Baseball Association (ACBA) All-Star and Pitcher of the Year, entered the 2023 season seeking to forget a heartbreaking result at the previous year’s ACBA Championship. Smith stepped up as a sophomore, leading the league in pitching and was the top centerfielder. At season’s end, he was named the 2023 ACBA Most Valuable Player and, for the second year in a row, the Pitcher of the Year. Along with having an elite hand on the field and great chemistry with his fellow veteran starters, his off-field efforts were heavily praised by former head coach Andrew MacNevin, who said his demeanour and consistency are always well-liked and respected by everyone around him.


Mitch Spence, Football (Georgetown, Ontario)

Ontario wide receiver, Mitch Spence, entered the Hurricanes’ football program with high ambitions and walked out of the 2023 AFL season having instilled a phenomenal culture within the locker room as a rookie. Although the team did not achieve their goal of a fifth Atlantic championship title, Spence’s superior catching abilities and leadership skills were a sight to behold and an inspiration to the other members of the team.   He ended the season by being named to the 2024 AFL All-Star team as a receiver.


Stay tuned to the Hurricanes social media pages on Thursday evening for updates on award winners throughout the evening.

For more information on the Holland Hurricanes, visit www.hollandhurricanes.com, www.facebook.com/hollandhurricanes, www.x.com/hc_hurricanes and www.instagram.com/hollandhurricanes.


For more information about this release, please contact:
Daniel Cudmore, Athletics Development and Communications Coordinator
Tel: (902) 894-6870
Date: Tuesday, April 02, 2024