Top 8 Academic All-Canadians: CIS announces 2012-2013 recipients

Top 8 Academic All-Canadians: CIS announces 2012-2013 recipients

OTTAWA (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport proudly announced Monday the student-athletes selected as Top Eight Academic All-Canadians for the 2012-2013 season.

The elite group will be honoured at Rideau Hall in Ottawa later this fall.

Every year, a growing number of CIS student-athletes are recognized as Academic All-Canadians, having maintained an average of 80 per cent or better over the academic year while competing for one - or more - of their university’s varsity teams.

In 2012-2013, a record 2,695 students achieved the prestigious status, eclipsing the previous mark of 2,617 set a year ago.

Five CIS universities had 100 Academic All-Canadians or more last year, including Western (132), Waterloo (118), Alberta (117), Laval (111) and Dalhousie (100). Rounding out the national top 10 were Calgary (99), Queen’s (98), Acadia (91), Manitoba (91) and UNB (87).

Among these outstanding individuals, one female and one male student-athlete from each of the four CIS regional associations are selected annually to make up the Top Eight.

The ‘12-13 recipients from Atlantic University Sport (AUS) are UNB swimmer Monica MacDonald and Acadia hockey player Travis Gibbons, both kinesiology students.

Representing the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) are a pair of medical students, Montreal soccer player Émilie Chamard and McGill football player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

The winners from Ontario University Athletics (OUA) are Toronto track & field star Alicia Brown, who specializes in visual culture and communications, as well as Steven Takahashi, a wrestler and kinesiology major at Western.

Last but not least, the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) recipients are kinesiology students Jaki Ellis, a volleyball player from Alberta, and Paul Clerc, a soccer player from UBC.

“Our student-athletes continue to amaze us with their ability to achieve excellence on and off the playing field,” said CIS chief executive officer, Pierre Lafontaine. “The record number of Academic All-Canadians once again this year speaks volume about the quality of our students, but also our coaches, support staff and our universities. To be selected among 11,000 of their peers is an accomplishment members of the Top Eight should be extremely proud of.”

Following is a profile of each member of the 2012-2013 Top Eight, as well as a list of all-time winners.


Name: Monica MacDonald
Hometown: Fredericton, N.B.
School: University of New Brunswick
Faculty: Kinesiology
Program: Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (Honours)
Sport: Swimming
Eligibility in 2012-13: 4th year

Monica MacDonald, who was born in Saint John, N.B., but moved to Fredericton at the age of two, had a successful four-year swimming career at UNB. In four appearances at the AUS conference championships, the Varsity Reds captain qualified for the final in 14 of the 15 events she competed in.  

On the academic front, MacDonald graduated last May with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with Honours after maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 4.2, including a perfect 4.3 in her final year. A four-time CIS Academic All-Canadian and member of the Dean’s List, she received the Garnet Copeland Award in 2012-13 as UNB’s top overall student-athlete, recognizing athletics, academics and community service.

During her time at UNB, she volunteered with the Varsity Reds Athletes Council, the Kinesiology Society, the Dr. Everett Chalmer’s Regional Hospital, the Habitat for Humanity Global Village Program and the Special Olympics.

“Monica was the consummate student-athlete here at UNB for the past four years. She has an exceptional work ethic both in the classroom and in the pool,” says UNB swim coach Robin Ferdinand. “I have no reservations in recommending her for this award as she truly is a prime example of what values a total student-athlete encompasses.”

Name: Travis Gibbons
Hometown: London, Ont.
School: Acadia University
Faculty: Professional Studies
Program: Kinesiology
Sport: Hockey
Eligibility in 2012-13: 2nd year

Following a five-year OHL career with the Guelph Storm and the Ottawa 67’s, Travis Gibbons immediately made his way into the Acadia lineup, playing in 49 of 56 conference games over his first two university hockey campaigns. The intense defenceman chipped in three goals each season as he helped the Axemen to back-to-back playoff appearances.

In the classroom, Gibbons has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average in the first two years of his kinesiology degree. A two-time CIS Academic All-Canadian and member of the Dean’s List, he was Acadia’s most decorated male student-athlete in 2012-13.

The native of London, Ont., has also been involved in the community since his first day in Wolfville, N.S. The recipient of Acadia’s Randy Ferris Award for community service, he has volunteered with the Terry Fox Run, the S.M.I.L.E. program, Kinderskills and Acadia Minor Hockey, as well as Parkwood Hospital back home in London.

“Travis is an excellent ambassador for our hockey program. He is a role model for all student-athletes, not just on the Axemen hockey team but for Varsity Athletics here at Acadia,” says Acadia hockey coach Darren Burns. “He encompasses what a CIS student- athlete should be and he has set a very high bar here at our own institution.”


Name: Émilie Chamard
Hometown: Quebec City, Que.
School: University of Montreal
Faculty: Medicine
Program: Neuropsychology (PHD) 
Sport: Soccer
Eligibility in 2012-13: 5th year

Émilie Chamard started her university soccer career with the Laval Rouge et Or before transferring to the U of M in 2010 to continue her education. In her fifth and final CIS season in 2012, her third with the Carabins, the defender was named a first-team RSEQ conference all-star and helped Montreal reach the Quebec final for the third straight year. She had previously led the Carabins to a pair of RSEQ titles (2011, 2010) and a silver medal at the 2011 national championship.   

In the 2012-13 academic year, the PHD in neuropsychology student achieved a remarkable 4.150 grade point average in both the fall and winter semesters. A CIS Academic All-Canadian each of her three years at Montreal, the Quebec City native received the Vanier scholarship in 2013 and was voted student-athlete of the year at the U of M. 

Chamard’s volunteer activities in recent years include work with the “Cerveau en Tête” week at the U of M, as a member of the St-Vincent-de-Paul Society board of directors, at the Centre de Jour Feu Vert Inc., as well as coaching soccer in her hometown of Quebec City.

“Émilie is really the ideal student-athlete. She not only left her mark on one of the top university soccer teams in Canada, she has been very innovative in her research work, says Manon Simard, director of the Carabins varsity program. “What she has accomplished and what she will accomplish in the future at the U of M is remarkable. We are extremely proud of her. When we see an athlete achieve such amazing results, it’s really gratifying.”

Name: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
Hometown: St. Hilaire, Que.
School: McGill University
Faculty: Medicine
Program: -
Sport: Football
Eligibility in 2012-13: 3rd year

Football player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been dominant since the day he joined the Redmen in the fall of 2010. Named McGill’s most outstanding lineman in his sophomore season, he exploded on the national scene a year ago when he was voted team MVP and a first-team all-Canadian at offensive tackle. After suiting up in the CIS East West Bowl last spring, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound co-captain was listed as the top-rated prospect for the 2014 CFL Draft by the league’s Scouting Bureau earlier this fall.

The native of St. Hilaire, Que., has been as impressive in the classroom since he arrived on the Montreal campus, meriting CIS Academic All-Canadian status and qualifying for the Principal’s Student-Athlete Honour Roll in each of his first three years at McGill. Duvernay-Tardif achieved a perfect sessional grade point average of 4.0 in medicine in 2012-13 and has a cumulative GPA of 3.92. Over the last year, he received McGill’s 1938 Champions Award for combining leadership with athletic prowess and academic excellence, as well as a pair of Montreal Alouettes bursaries, for athletic and academic excellence.  

The 22-year-old was named to the McGill chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society for academic recognition, leadership development and community service.  He has served as a tutor for McGill students and been one of the football team’s volunteer reps at a visit to the Montreal Shriners Hospital for Children as well as the annual McGill Holiday Food Drive in support of the Sun Youth Community Centre. He has also worked with the “Defi Canderel”, with a Montreal police department program known as “Unité sans violence, exprimez-vous!”, as well as with heroin addicts at a methadone clinic. Finally, as part of his medical curriculum, he served countless hours in family medicine at various hospitals.

“Laurent has a tremendous work ethic and a quiet confidence that make him a natural leader,” says Clint Uttley, head coach at McGill. “He is a strong candidate for both the J.P. Metras and the Russ Jackson trophies. Size and strength is a big factor in success on the o-line but when you find someone that possesses the combination of brains, brawn and nastiness that Laurent has on the field, then you’ve got a real keeper and he has all those tools. I believe that he will have a good pro career, whether it be in the CFL or NFL.”


Name: Alicia Brown
Hometown: Ottawa, Ont.
School: University of Toronto
Faculty: Arts & Science
Program: Specialist – Visual Culture & Communications
Sport: Track & Field
Eligibility in 2012-13: 5th year

Alicia Brown had a breakout season in her fifth and final year with the Varsity Blues women’s track and field team, in 2012-13. The Ottawa native was named the OUA most valuable female performer in track events and a received her third first-team all-Canadian nod thanks to three gold medals at both the conference and national championships, including an OUA record in the 4x400 relay and a CIS meet mark in the 4x200. She went on to represent Canada at last summer’s Universiade in Kazan, Russia, and at the IAAF world championships in Moscow, helping the red and white 4x400 relay to a second-place finish at the Universiade.

In the classroom, the CIS Academic All-Canadian completed last spring her program in Visual Culture & Communications from the University of Toronto Mississauga, achieving a 3.74 grade point average over her final year. During her time at the U of T, she merited numerous academic recognitions, including the Hector Phillips Award and the Deus Benedicat Award (twice).

Brown’s community service is also second to none. Over the years, she has volunteered with the Erindale Campus African Student Association (ECASA), the Ottawa Food Bank, as well as in her sport through coaching or helping with the organization of track and field events. 

“Alicia exemplifies what the University of Toronto track and field program is all about,” says Varsity Blues head coach Carl Georgevski. “She is an extremely bright, determined, committed and talented young woman, who works very hard to become the very best she can be. Alicia is an outstanding athlete, an excellent student and most importantly an exceptional young woman.”

Name: Steven Takahashi
Hometown: London, Ont.
School: Western University
Faculty: Health Sciences
Program: Kinesiology
Sport: Wrestling
Eligibility in 2012-13: 3rd year

To say that Steven Takahashi has had a stellar start to his university wrestling career would be an understatement. The native of London, Ont., whose father, Ray, was a two-time Olympian in the sport, was crowned individual champion in his weight class in each of his first three appearances at the OUA and CIS championships, while helping the Western men capture a pair of conference team titles and two CIS bronze medals. Despite being only 21 years old, he already possesses extensive international experience, including the Pan American Games, junior world championships and Universiade.

Takahashi also excelled in the classroom since he arrived on the London campus, earning recognition on the Dean’s List and as a CIS Academic All-Canadian in each of the past three years. A recipient of numerous academic accolades over the years, he shows an 83.56 per cent average in his kinesiology program and is expected to graduate next June.

With his father being his coach at Western, the younger Takahashi is following in his footsteps and is a volunteer coach with the London-Western Wrestling Club.

“Since arriving at Western three years ago, Steven has represented the university and the Mustangs program as the epitome of what a student-athlete should be,” says director of athletics Thérèse Quigley. “Steven’s success in the CIS wrestling ranks is virtually unmatched and he has been just as successful in the classroom.”


Name: Jaki Ellis
Hometown: Mississauga, Ont.
School: University of Alberta
Faculty: Physical Education & Recreation
Program: Kinesiology
Sport: Volleyball
Eligibility in 2012-13: 5th year

Jaki Ellis wrapped up her exceptional volleyball career with the Alberta Pandas in 2012-13. In five seasons with the team, the talented setter earned three selections as an all-Canadian and as many nods as a CIS championship all-star, while leading the Pandas to three Canada West medals, one conference title and a pair of appearances in the CIS final. The native of Mississauga, Ont., who represented Canada at the 2011 Universiade in China, was named the U of A’s most outstanding female athlete each of the past two years.

A three-time CIS Academic All-Canadian, Ellis earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with Distinction last June after maintaining a 3.5 grade point average over five years. She was awarded the Dr. Maury Van Vliet Athletic/Academic Scholarship on three occasions and, in 2012-13, was the Canada West nominee for the Thérèse Quigley award, presented to the CIS women’s volleyball athlete who best combines athletics, academics and community service.

As a member of the U of A Athletics Board, she planned and participated in volunteer opportunities at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with Bear Hugs Program, Bike for AIDS, Hockey Puck Toss to benefit KidSport, Super Sub Day for United Way, the USchool Program, Tobacco Free Kids program, Read in Week, and Christmas Food Drive for the Edmonton Youth Emergency Shelter. 

“Jaki left an indelible mark on the Pandas volleyball program. Her tremendous work ethic and passion for volleyball enabled her to reach the highest levels within our sport,” says Alberta head coach Laurie Eisler. “She carried these same characteristics to her studies which are evidenced by both her grade point average and her engagement in the learning process. She is a tremendous role model who will excel in any field to which she sets her sights.”

Name: Paul Clerc
Hometown: Coquitlam, B.C.
School: University of British Columbia
Faculty: Kinesiology
Program: Kinesiology & Health Science
Sports: Soccer
Eligibility in 2012-13: 3rd year

Paul Clerc was a first-team Canada West all-star in 2012, his third campaign with UBC’s men’s soccer squad. Since he joined the team, the defender from Coquitlam, B.C., has been instrumental in the Thunderbirds success, helping them capture a pair of Canada West banners, a CIS silver medal, as well as their record 12th national title a year ago. Last summer, he was selected to represent Canada at the Universiade in Kazan, Russia.

A three-time CIS Academic All-Canadian in kinesiology, Clerc maintained an 84.5 per cent average in 2012-13.

On campus and in the community, he has been a lifeguard and swimming instructor at the UBC Aquatic Centre for the past three years. In 2013, he also held a volunteer position with the Healthy Heart Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, and was a personal trainer at the UBC Bodyworks Fitness Center.

“We’re thrilled for Paul. It’s quite an honour and achievement to be recognized as a top student-athlete out of a very strong conference,” says UBC head coach Mike Mosher. “Since Paul’s come to our program, he’s just gotten better and better on the field. His academic performance has been extremely consistent and strong. He’s got a terrific future ahead of him.”


AUS: Monica MacDonald, UNB (swimming) / Travis Gibbons, Acadia (hockey)
RSEQ: Émilie Chamard, Montreal (soccer) / Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill (football)
OUA: Alicia Brown, Toronto (track & field) / Steven Takahashi, Western (wrestling)
CWUAA: Jaki Ellis, Alberta (volleyball) / Paul Clerc, UBC (soccer)

AUS: Miranda McMillan, Dalhousie (hockey) / Nathan Musoke, Dalhousie (track & field)
RSEQ: Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, Laval (rugby) / Marc-André Dorion, McGill (hockey)
OUA: Nicole Sassine, Windsor (track & field) / Darragh McGee, Toronto (soccer)
CWUAA: Hayley Wickenheiser, Calgary (hockey) / Kyle Ross, Saskatchewan (hockey)

AUS: Heather Ambery, UNB (soccer) / Daniel You, Dalhousie (volleyball)
RSEQ: Alexandra Lojen, Montreal (volleyball) / Marc-André Dorion, McGill (hockey)
OUA: Erika Reiser, Windsor (track & field) / Shujon Mazumber, Toronto (wrestling)
CWUAA: Hayley Wickenheiser, Calgary (hockey) / Darren Mazzei, Victoria (cross country - T&F)

AUS: Alex Legge, Dalhousie (basketball) / Jacob Kilpatrick, UNB (volleyball)
QSSF: Marie-Michelle Genois, Laval (basketball) / Steven Bielby, McGill (swimming)
OUA: Megan Brown, Toronto (cross country - T&F) / Dillon Heap, Wilfrid Laurier (football)
CWUAA: Jennifer Hinze, UBC (volleyball) / Thomas Hall, Manitoba (football)

AUS: Isabelle Miles, UNB (soccer) / Christopher Morrison, Saint Mary’s (hockey)
QSSF: Paméla Filiatrault-Veilleux, Laval (swimming) / Emmanuel André-Morin, Montreal (volleyball)
OUA: Noelle Montcalm, Windsor (track & field) / Keith Beavers, Waterloo (swimming)
CWUAA: Kayla Dykstra, Victoria (basketball) / Kyle Ross, Regina (hockey)

AUS: Justine McMillan, Acadia (cross country) / Niklas Rademacher, Dalhousie (volleyball)
QSSF: Jennifer Thomson, McGill (volleyball) / Tyler Marghetis, Concordia (wrestling)
OUA: Brae Anne McArthur, Guelph (track & field) / Brad Rootes, Brock (basketball)
CWUAA: Adrianne Vangool, Saskatchewan (track & field) / Benjamin Schellenberg, Winnipeg (volleyball)

AUS: Katie Hollinshead, Dalhousie (soccer) / Colin Sinclair, UNB (hockey)
QSSF: Audrey Lacroix, Montreal (swimming) / David Foley, Sherbrooke (track & field)
OUA: Jackie Malette, Windsor (cross country - T&F) / Justin Hall, Queen’s (cross country - T&F)
CWUAA: Katie Davidson, Manitoba (volleyball) / Jay Langager, Lethbridge (hockey)

AUS: Christine Terese Chislom, StFX (cross country) / Jeff Weiler, Dalhousie (volleyball)
QSSF: Marylène Laplante, Laval (volleyball) / Nicolas Murray, Laval (swimming)
OUA: Jackie Malette, Windsor (cross country - T&F) / Joel Scherban, Lakehead (hockey)
CWUAA: Kristen Hagg, Alberta (hockey) / Chris Meehan, Trinity Western (volleyball)

AUS: Hilary Burn, Dalhousie (cross country - T&F) / Tyler Dyck, StFX (hockey)
QSSF: Danielle Day, McGill (soccer) / Tyler Marghetis, Concordia (wrestling)
OUA: Allison Oosterhuis, Western Ontario (soccer) / Ian MacLeod, Toronto (swimming)
CWUAA: Danielle Bourgeois, Alberta (hockey) / Paul Deniset, Manitoba (hockey)

AUS: Natalie Oake, St. Thomas (hockey) / Daniel Hudgin, Moncton (hockey)
QSSF: Carolyn McCabe, McGill (swimming) / Simon Therrien, UQTR (soccer) 
OUA: Lulu Bursztyn, McMaster (wrestling) / Sagar Desai, Western Ontario (basketball) 
CWUAA: Danielle Bourgeois, Alberta (hockey) / Adam Ens, Saskatchewan (volleyball) 

AUS: Marieke Gardner, Dalhousie (soccer) / Kjetil Vaage, UNB (soccer)
QSSF: Marie-Hélène Giasson, Laval (swimming) / Alexandre Pichette, McGill (swimming)
OUA: Alison Mills, McMaster (volleyball) / Robert Smart, Carleton (basketball)
CWUAA: Maria Gallo, Alberta (rugby) / Blair St. Martin, Alberta (hockey)

AUS: Andrea Faryniuk, Dalhousie (track & field) / Tim Mullen, Saint Mary’s (soccer)
QSSF: Sarah Ali-Khan, McGill (cross country & T&F) / Strachan Hartley, McGill (football)
OUA: Lauren Fratesi, Ottawa (swimming) / Alexandre Hayes, Ottawa (swimming)
CWUAA: Jacqueline Lavallee, Saskatchewan (basketball) / Jeff Zorn, Alberta (hockey)

AUAA: Kate Ellis, UPEI (basketball) / Steve Gallace, Saint Mary’s (hockey)
QSSF: Catherine Foley, Sherbrooke (track & field) / Strachan Hartley, McGill (football)
OUA: Karina Verdon, Ottawa (hockey) / Andrew Kwiatkowski, Western Ontario (basketball)
GPAC: Brandy West, Regina (hockey) / Joey Mikawoz, Manitoba (football)
CWUAA: Jen Dowdeswell, UBC (field hockey) / Mark Versfeld, UBC (swimming)

AUAA: Kate Ellis, UPEI (basketball) / Aaron Barkhouse, Dalhousie (soccer)
QSSF: Sara Russo-Garrido, Laval (soccer) / Yannick Demers, Montreal (swimming)
OUA: Kristine Spekkens, Queen’s (volleyball) / Alex Hayes, Ottawa (swimming)
GPAC: Erin Soroko, Winnipeg (basketball) / Shawn Peters, Regina (track & field)
CWUAA: Kelly Matheson, Calgary (soccer) / Spencer Holt, Lethbridge (basketball)

AUAA: Jolene Bourgeois, UNB (field hockey) / Jan Trojanowski, Acadia (basketball)
QSSF: Stephanie Welsh, McGill (track & field) / David Dufresne, UQTR (soccer)
OUA: Nathalie Côté, Ottawa (cross country - T&F) / Bob McGill, Queen’s (cross country - T&F)
GPAC: Nadia Melon, Manitoba (volleyball) / Shawn Peters, Regina (track & field)
CWUAA: Jessica Mills, UBC (basketball) / Curtis Myden, Calgary (swimming)

AUAA: Tracy McGee, UPEI (field hockey) / Peter Benoite, Memorial (basketball)
QSSF: Wendy Whelan, McGill (volleyball) / Alexandre Émond, Montreal (volleyball)
OUA: Rebecca Chambers, Toronto (track & field) / Tim Cowan, McMaster (swimming)
GPAC: Kathy Hrehirchuk, Manitoba (volleyball) / Darreb Peters, Regina (track & field)
CWUAA: Sarah Joly, Alberta (soccer) / Mike Dalziel, UBC (volleyball)

AUAA: Rachelle Beaton, Dalhousie (track & field) / Chris Diamond, UPEI (soccer)
QSSF: Andrea Bacsfalusi, McGill (swimming) / Pierre Hudon, Laval (football)
OWIAA / OUAA: Laurie Halfpenny, Guelph (soccer) / Russell Jones, Toronto (swimming)
GPAC: Amanda Mlodzinski, Manitoba (swimming) / Phil Peters, Winnipeg (volleyball)
CWUAA: Sarah Joly, Alberta (soccer) / Mike Sieben, Alberta (volleyball)

AUAA: Carla Edwards, Mount Allison (volleyball) / Chris Diamond, UPEI (soccer)
QSSF: Anna Leong, McGill (swimming) / Alex Hutchinson, McGill (track & field)
OWIAA / OUAA: Vicki White, Ottawa (soccer) / David Kantor, Queen's (volleyball)
GPAC: Jackie Honey, Manitoba (track & field) / Mel McManus, Manitoba (track & field)
CWUAA: Liz Smith, Alberta (soccer) / John McArthur, UBC (swimming)

AUAA: Jill Lawless, Acadia (volleyball) / Vojtech Kucera, St. Thomas (hockey)
QSSF: Caroline Vachon, Laval (track & field) / David O'Hara, McGill (cross country)
OWIAA / OUAA: Karen Jackson, York (basketball) / David Kantor, Queen's (volleyball)
GPAC: Renelda Friessen, Manitoba (volleyball) / Wayne Weathers, Manitoba (football & wrestling) CWUAA: Adair Duncan, UBC (basketball) / Todd Langley, Victoria (basketball)

AUAA: Kathy McNally, UPEI (field hockey) / Ron Whelan, StFX (soccer)
QSSF: Julia Maughan, McGill (soccer) / Jason Della Rocca, Concordia (wrestling)
OWIAA / OUAA: Karen Jackson, York (basketball) / Craig Donaldson, Western Ontario (hockey)
GPAC: Sandra Carroll, Winnipeg (basketball) / Scott Koskie, Winnipeg (volleyball)
CWUAA: Erika Forster, UBC (track & field) / Curtis Myden, Calgary (swimming)

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