Lakers cap career with top honour

Bryanne Francisco and Carissa Kocsis recognized with Robyn Muir Award

Carissa Kocsis

Carissa Kocsis

Bryanne Francisco and Carissa Kocsis were surprised and shocked respectively upon hearing their names called for the Robyn Muir Award.

It isn’t just any award. It’s the Pen High Lakers top honour given to an athlete who is an inspiration to both athletes and coaches. The recipient exhibits this inspiration on and off the playing field.

The award links two graduating athletes, who prior to a spring break trip to Peru, didn’t know each other well even they played on the Grade 9 and 10 volleyball teams together.

“We roomed. Got closer then,” said Francisco of their Peru trip, adding that Kocsis was deserving of the award because “she is always willing to step forward and take charge.”

Francisco said her former volleyball teammate is a “good sport about everything.”

Kocsis said Francisco is deserving as well. The two were recognized during the athletics award banquet held June 12.

“She’s very dedicated and she’s really passionate about the sports that she plays,” said Kocsis. “I would always see her in the gym in the mornings when I was playing volleyball. She had to quit volleyball to pursue other sports. She is a great person.”

During the athletic awards banquet, the only thing Francisco knew she was going to get was a silver award. Students are given gold, silver or bronze in recognition of their contributions and participation towards sports. That is based on a point system involving the number of teams and sports an athlete participates on.

“This soccer season I wasn’t performing my best and this basketball season I had a broken hand,” said Francisco, who nearly helped the soccer team go to provincials and the basketball team place third in the Okanagan Valley championship.

Francisco said it was nice to have basketball coach Lesley Lacroix present her the award.

“It  was kind of emotional in a way, just because it’s my last year being there,” said Francisco, captain of her basketball team since Grade 9. “I don’t think I realized how much the award meant until afterwards.”

Kocsis is the type of player who will sacrifice herself for the team. A prime example of that took place on the volleyball and tennis court.

“I wouldn’t really focus on where I was on the court, I would focus getting the ball, that’s like No. 1, right,” she explained. “This past year I was running and my coach kept yelling, go, go, go so I was just going and I ended up diving into the bleachers and hitting a small toddler. Blew my knee out.”

She even takes beatings on the scoresheet, which happened during tennis provincials. The Lakers were short of girls to go to provincials. Being the new girl, she was asked to play to help the team.

“I ended up playing a singles match against a girl from I think it was Tokyo,” said Kocsis. “The year before, she went to Australia and she was playing 10 hour days. She took a year off of school and was insane. Basically she whooped me. I don’t spend that much time playing tennis. She just destroyed me.”

“It’s really quite an honour to receive something like that,” she said of the Robyn Muir Award. “I feel very blessed and happy.”

Kocsis said she had an absolutely great Grade 12 season. The teacher’s job action prevented her from being able to play badminton, but she played volleyball as well and loved her coaches and teammates.

“They have helped me grow as an athlete and as a person,” said Kocsis, who will attend the University of Victoria.

For remaining Lakers award winners, check

The other Lakers major award winners are as follows:

Kevin Wager Award – Emily Clarke and Cor Dewaal were that athletes that are coachable, displays a positive attitude to his/her teammates, and shows passion and dedication to their sport.

Stiopu Award – Given to an athlete who demonstrates sportsmanship, ability and leadership towards other, but more specifically exhibits dedication to improve himself/herself and his/her skills and an athlete went to Ethan McCluskey.

Ewart Award – Gabrielle Levesque is the athlete who demonstrates sportsmanship, leadership, and dedication on behalf of others.

Gold medal recipients are Adra Greig, Zakary Konanz, Ethan McCluskey and Layne Richardson.

Top Grade Athletes – These awards are given to athletes who are considered to be the top overall for their grade and are often multi-sport athletes who achieve high levels at all their chosen sport(s).

Grade 9 Female Athlete: Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu

Grade 9 Male Athlete: Colin Eden

Richard Xiang

Grade 10 Female Athlete: Hayden Craig

Grade 10 Male Athlete: Tanner Johnson

Grade 11 Female Athlete: Steffani Caron

Courtney Milligan

Grade 11 Male Athlete: Jordan Farmer

Keenan Findlay

Grade 12 Female Athlete: Adra Greig

Brianne Hrynyk

Grade 12 Male Athlete: Zachary Konanz Ryan Sutcliffe