U SPORTS proudly announced Monday the student-athletes selected as Top 8 Academic All-Canadians for the 2019-20 season — among them two Dalhousie Tigers. It marks only the second time (and the first since 2011-12) that Tigers student-athletes have received both Top 8 Academic All-Canadian awards from the AUS conference.
On the men’s side, the nominees are UBC Thunderbirds swimmer Markus Thormeyer, Laurentian Voyeageurs basketball player Kadre Gray, Laval Rouge et Or cross country runner and track sprinter Jean-Simon Desgagnés, and fellow track and field star Matt Coolen of the Dalhousie Tigers.
This year’s female honourees include swimmers Kelsey Wog of the Manitoba Bisons, Marie-Lou Lapointe from the Montreal Carabins and Isabel Sarty representing the Dalhousie Tigers, along with Queen’s Gaels multi-sport star Sophie de Goede, who competes for the school’s women’s rugby and basketball teams.
In lieu of a formal ceremony at Rideau Hall, the elite group will participate in a public virtual conversation with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, in mid-February, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation was founded by the Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada, who first honoured Canada’s Top 8 student-athletes in 2013.
In the lead-up to this year’s event, U SPORTS is set to run a national promotional campaign in collaboration with long-standing partner Sherrard Kuzz LLP, highlighted by a Top 8 alumni feature series, a leadership development program and professional mentorship. Led by former U SPORTS student-athletes, Sherrard Kuzz continues to serve as the Official Supporter of those selected to the Top 8 and the U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian Program.
All members of the Top 8 will also receive a customized ring from Baron, the Exclusive Provider of championship rings and recognition jewelry for U SPORTS.
For the All-Time Top 8 Academic All-Canadians, click here.
Matt Coolen wrapped up his U SPORTS track and field career on top of the podium. The Halifax native ran 8.02s to win national gold in the 60m hurdles, bettering his silver medal performance from 2019, setting a new Dalhousie record in the process, and being named a U SPORTS First Team all-Canadian. He also earned a fifth-place finish in the 60m dash, after capturing the races in both 2018 and 2019.
Two weeks earlier, the fifth-year engineering major won both events for the second-consecutive year at the conference championship, leading the Tigers to their 18th AUS title in 19 seasons. In all, Coolen has nine AUS podium finishes in the two races and owns three records. The five-time AUS All-Star was named the 2016 AUS Rookie of the Year, is a two-time AUS Male Track Athlete of the Year and was the 2019 AUS Championship MVP.
Matt was an era defining student-athlete on the Dalhousie track and field team,” said Dalhousie head coach Richard Lehman. “His ability to perform on demand on the highest stage was unparalleled and his ability to combine his athletic prowess with academic success and community involvement was incredible."
In the classroom, Matt completed his studies with a 3.76 GPA and boasted the Dalhousie Entrance and In-Course Scholarships, as well as the Graham Family and Athletic Awards. In the community, he serves as member of the coaching staff for age-class athletes with the Halifast Athletics Club. He also collects spikes and running shoes for Fairview Junior High School for track and field athletes without the means to purchase their own.
"Over his time as a Tiger, Matt has exemplified what it means to be a student-athlete. Consistently, he has excelled in the classroom, on the track and in our community,” said Tim Maloney, executive director of athletics and recreation at Dal. “As a three-time national medallist and four-time Academic All-Canadian, we are exceptionally proud to nominate Matt for the Top 8 Academic All-Canadian Award."
Coolen becomes the 15th Tiger selected to the Top 8 and the seventh male, with the most recent being basketball star Sven Stammberger in 2017-18. He is also the 12th male track and field student-athlete joining Nathan Musoke in 2011-12.
For the second straight season Isabel Sarty was the class of the AUS, taking home Swimmer of the Year honours, while also being named the 2020 AUS Swimmer of the Meet.
At the conference championship, Sarty topped the podium in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events – setting new AUS records twice in the 100m freestyle (heats and finals). She also set a new Dalhousie and Nova Scotia Senior record in the 200m freestyle. Later on, she earned another three gold medals as a member of Dalhousie relay teams, setting two more conference records in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley events – leading the Tigers to their 19th consecutive AUS women’s swimming conference title.
Her success continued at the U SPORTS Championship, where the Halifax native won a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle, while finishing just off the podium in fourth in the 100m and 200m freestyle events. Overall, Sarty has earned 20 AUS medals, is a three-time AUS All-Star, a two-time AUS MVP and AUS championship MVP, holds 15 conference records and was the AUS Rookie of the Year in 2017-18. She has also posted 13 finishes in the Top 10 at the U SPORTS meet.
Academically, Sarty finish with a 4.15 GPA, and has earned a number of awards in her three academic years including the Dalhousie In-Course Scholarship, Ross Stewart Scholarship, Shawn Dupuis Memorial Prize, MacKean Athletic Scholarship, Frederic MacMillen Scholarship and Dalhousie Alumni Leadership Scholarship.
In the community, Sarty is involved with several community initiatives including Special Tigers, the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative, and the Tigers Varsity Council.
"Isabel is someone who always seems to excel, whether it is in the classroom, the pool or our community,” said Maloney.” As a recent Rhodes Scholar nominee, Isabel has clearly demonstrated the ability to succeed in whatever she sets her mind to. A national medallist and Academic All-Canadian, we are thrilled to nominate Isabel for this award."
Sarty is the 16th Tiger selected to the Top 8 and the ninth female from the program, the last being volleyball’s Anna Dunn Suen in 2016-17. She is also the 13th female swimmer, and third in this year’s class alone.
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