Vincent Massey Collegiate sweeps Manitoba high school athlete awards

The Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association wrapped up the 2023-24 season on Tuesday with the naming of the top female and male athletes in each of the four competition categories as well as the overall winners for each gender.

And it was a Vincent Massey Collegiate sweep, with Danika Nell and Owen Weekes of the Trojans capturing top athlete honours.

Nell was named the top female athlete in the province after leading the Trojans softball team to a second straight Manitoba championship, in addition to being selected as a graduating all-star and being ranked as a top 10 Grade 12 player in volleyball. The Boissevain product will be attending Boston University to play Division 1 softball and pursue a medical degree.

She says it was a tough decision to choose between the two sports.

“Growing up, softball I just had a little bit more of a connection to it,” said Nell, who maintained a 97.4 per cent academic average and was named Manitoba’s top athlete scholar the week before. “Volleyball is my for fun sport, but my love for it was revived when I got to Massey, seeing the guys play and the girls. The competition is just crazy. I love that sport too.”

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Weekes helped lead Vincent Massey, located in Winnipeg, to a 49-0 record in volleyball and was also a member of the Trojans basketball team that captured a Quadruple-A provincial title.

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“It’s crazy, I’m really glad I played basketball and probably so is my dad; he would say ‘you’re welcome for the height genetics’ for sure,” said the six-foot-six teenager, who will suit up for the University of Manitoba Bisons in the fall. “The support from both coaches and like both environments — basketball and volleyball — it’s just been so much fun and I’m glad I got to experience both.”

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Both teenagers also represented Canada internationally earlier this spring. Nell was a member of the national U18 women’s softball team that won a silver medal at a World Cup qualifying tournament in Monteria, Colombia, while Weekes was the only high school player on the Canadian men’s U21 volleyball team that earned a silver medal at the NORCECA Continental Championship that wrapped up last week in Nogales, Mexico.

In addition to the Vincent Massey duo being named the top athletes in the Quadruple-A competition category, six other athletes were recognized with MHSAA awards for the 2023-24 season.

Pictured below, left to right, are Maria Gundrum (Prairie Mountain High School Double-A female), Sydney Burak (Arborg single-A female), Ivy Bestland (Sanford Collegiate Triple-A female), Danika Nell (Vincent Massey Quadruple-A female), Owen Weekes (Vincent Massey Quadruple-A male), Elijah Falade (St. Boniface Diocesan Triple-A male), Lachlan Cuthbert (Lac du Bonnet Double-A male) and Sam Gurke (Alonsa Single-A male).

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Recipients of MHSAA Athlete of the Year Awards for 2023-24. Kelly Moore/Global News

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