Duncan Christian School’s athlete of the year award winners for 2020-21. Back row from left: senior boys winners Nate Powell and Andrew Young, senior girls award winners Jaymie Brandsma and Grace George. Front row from left: junior boys winners Mothias Henry and Cohen Floucault, junior girls winners Michaela Wall and Addy Klassen. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan Christian School’s athlete of the year award winners for 2020-21. Back row from left: senior boys winners Nate Powell and Andrew Young, senior girls award winners Jaymie Brandsma and Grace George. Front row from left: junior boys winners Mothias Henry and Cohen Floucault, junior girls winners Michaela Wall and Addy Klassen. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan Christian award winners reflect on challenges of 2020-21

This year was ‘a different ball game’ for school athletes

Duncan Christian School’s senior boys basketball team was shaping up to be a powerhouse for the 2020-21 season.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chargers obviously never had a chance to test themselves against the rest of Vancouver Island or the province, but DCS athletic director Tom Veenstra believed the team would have been “definitely a provincial contender.”

“It would have been an incredible year,” he said. “I think the kids would say that we made the best of it, but it would have been nice to see this team in action against other schools.”

Grade 12 students Nate Powell, Andrew Young and Ben Williams would have been key members of that team, and while they didn’t get the opportunity to play for a provincial title, they did end up sharing their school’s Senior Boys Athlete of the Year Award. Powell and Young also received the award last year, while this was the first win for Williams.

“It was a very different experience,” Young said of the 2020-21 school sports year. “There wasn’t competition for provincials, so the focus was more on being able to inspire and teach the younger grades coming up. I took my role from being a leader taking the team to provincials to being a leader of the next generation.”

Williams appreciated the school’s efforts to make something happen in a year without interschool competition.

“It was very disappointing not having regular sports,” he said. “However, the school was very, very intuitive and created a competitive intramural environment.”

Like the others, Powell took this year as a chance to encourage the next crop of DCS athletes.

“I just kept a good attitude and tried to teach the younger kids and continued to work on my game as well,” he said.

Powell plans to take a gap year after high school, while Williams and Young are heading to post-secondary immediately. Young intends to study kinesiology at Vancouver Island University with the end goal of becoming a physiotherapist, and hopes to come back and coach at DCS as well.

The Senior Girls Athlete of the Year Award was shared by Grace George and Jaymie Brandsma.

Brandsma called this year “a different ball game,” with more community-based sports programming that allowed the players to grow more as a team.

“It was a little disappointing, especially with it being our last year of high school. But it was a good chance for the 12s to step up as leaders and show the Grade 10s what it means to have fun in a sport.”

Both Brandsma and George enjoyed that the girls and boys teams practiced and played together this year.

“The girls got to play with the boys’ team, which challenged our skills,” George commented. “It was very beneficial. It was definitely a positive outlet, getting closer with my teammates. The teamwork was stronger.

“I definitely took more of a leadership role. I was more comfortable with my skill.”

George will head to UBC to study psychology in the fall and hopes to play sports in one form or another. Brandsma is joining the YWAM mission program based in Hawai‘i, and may end up playing volleyball at Camosun College down the road.

Duncan Christian’s Junior Boys Athletes of the Year were Mothias Henry and Cohen Floucault, and the Junior Girls Athletes of the Year were Michaela Wall and Addy Klassen.

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