Andre Barber and Karissa Kajorinne Named Student-Athletes of the Year

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Algoma University Student Athlete Awards

Last night, Algoma University and the Algoma University Thunderbirds Varsity Athletics Program recognized the hard work, dedication, skill, and academic achievements of their student-athletes at their annual Varsity Athletics Banquet. Held at the Grand Gardens, this year’s banquet celebrated the Thunderbirds’ third season in Ontario University Athletics (OUA).

At the opening of the awards ceremony, Dr. Lou Lukenda was inducted into the Thunderbirds Wall of Fame in the Builders category. Lukenda is a man who is well known for his success, philanthropy and community leadership. Retiring as a dentist after a career that spanned 38 years, Lukenda remains a member of several dental associations, and his dedication to health care continues today. He has been a strong and active supporter of the Algoma Thunderbirds for the past 14 years. Through generation donations, chairing various events, and helping lead the OUA Task Force, he has helped make the Algoma University Thunderbirds Varsity Athletics Program a success.

Female Student-Athlete of the Year honours went to women’s basketball player Karissa Kajorinne (Thunder Bay, Ontario). As captain of her squad, Kajorinne is the second leading scorer of her team, fourth leading rebounder, and first in steals. She finished out the season shooting 35 percent from inside the paint and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc – ninth highest in the OUA. For the men, Andre Barber (Topeka, Kansas) won the top honour. Barber is the leading scorer on the squad, averaging 13.3 points per game and shot 36 percent from the three-point line. He led his squad to their first win of the 2015-16 season against the Western Mustangs, scoring all of his 19 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.

The following awards were also handed out:

  • Dr. Lukenda Thunderbird Service Award
  • Noodin Shawanda (men’s wrestling)

Academic Achievement Awards (highest academic achievement for their sport)

  • Carlie Manners (women’s basketball)
  • Reng Gum (men’s basketball)
  • Marissa Ditoro (women’s cross-country running)
  • Daniel Scarpino (men’s cross-country running)
  • Lauren Rogers (women’s curling)
  • Andrew Vanderburg (men’s curling)
  • Marissa Ditoro (Nordic skiing)
  • Lauren Moore (women’s soccer)
  • Caleb Charlebois (men’s soccer)
  • Lauren Towell (women’s wrestling)
  • Michael Casagrande (men’s wrestling)

Women’s Basketball

  • Coaches’ Award – Carlie Manners
  • Best Defensive Player – Alyssa Dovigi
  • Most Improved – Mairead Dunn
  • Rookie of the Year – Marlee Ball
  • MVP – Karissa Kajorinne

Men’s Basketball

  • Coaches’ Award – Brett Zufelt
  • Best Defensive Player – Reng Gum
  • Most Improved – Sean Clendinning
  • Rookie of the Year – Jermaine Lyle
  • Rookie of the Year – Nathan Riley
  • MVP – Andre Barber

Women’s Cross-Country Running

  • Most Improved – Brittany Noonan
  • Rookie of the Year – Marissa Ditoro
  • MVP – Anna Stilin

Men’s Cross-Country Running

  • Coaches’ Award – Daniel Scarpino
  • Rookie of the Year – Lucas Luciani
  • MVP – Zach Buchan

Women’s Curling

  • Coaches’ Award – Lauren Rogers
  • Most Improved – Julia Simon
  • MVP – Shae-Lynne Dupuis

Men’s Curling

  • Coaches’ Award – Justin Rhude
  • Most Improved – Marc Orlando
  • MVP – Andrew Vanderburg

Nordic Skiing

  • Coaches’ Award – Laura Thibodeau
  • Most Improved – Nadine Paul
  • Rookie of the Year – Marissa Ditoro
  • MVP – Roberto Lake

Women’s Soccer

  • Coaches’ Award – Sarah Von Boerdonk
  • Best Defensive Player – Chelsea Gaudette
  • Most Dedicated – Enya Farelly
  • Rookie of the Year – Cassandra Lethbridge
  • MVP – Terryn Walker

Men’s Soccer

  • Coaches’ Award – Nicholas Burnie
  • Best Defensive Player – Maher Alharbi
  • Most Improved – Warren Joseph
  • Rookie of the Year – Ebrahim Madouni
  • MVP – Nicholas Palazzi

Women’s Wrestling

  • MVP – Lauren Towell

Men’s Wrestling

  • Coaches’ Award – Noodin Shawanda
  • Most Improved – Theodore Dracopolous
  • MVP – Logan McKinnon

Thunderbird Award (to graduating student-athletes)

  • Carlie Manners (women’s basketball)
  • Brett Zufelt (men’s basketball)
  • Andre Barber (men’s basketball)
  • Daniel Scarpino (men’s cross-country running and men’s soccer)
  • Andrew Vanderburg (men’s curling)
  • Kaili Labelle (women’s soccer)
  • Cheristy Akiwenzie (women’s soccer)
  • Mussad Almurays (men’s soccer)
  • Mohammed Alsuraihi (men’s soccer)
  • Baffa Abdurrahim Yusuf (men’s soccer)
  • Lauren Towell (women’s wrestling)
  • Michael Casagrande (men’s wrestling)
  • Ammar Bin Dhaban (men’s wrestling)

About Algoma University

Algoma University was established in 1965 and is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Algoma University is a small, undergraduate, teaching-focused university that places an emphasis on serving the needs of Northern Ontario. Algoma University offers a wide range of degrees spanning the liberal arts, sciences, and professional disciplines. As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma University has a special mission to cultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal populations and other communities. Algoma University also offers satellite programming in Brampton and Timmins. For more information, please visit