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NEWS: Bennett siblings win Athletes of the Year at Varsity Awards Banquet

Thursday April 5, 2018
Jackson and Dria Bennett portrait
Greg Mason

Dria and Jackson Bennett are the uOttawa varsity Athletes of the Year for 2017-18, and were honoured at the annual varsity awards banquet at the Marriott hotel in downtown Ottawa on Thursday night. The impressive sibling duo was joined by over 350 varsity student-athletes, coaches, and staff to celebrate the 2017-18 season.

Katherine Bearne and Quinn O’Brien were the winners of the President's Awards for outstanding accomplishments in academics, athletics, and community involvement. Rookie of the Year winners were Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu and Médric Mercier. Each team also recognized a most valuable player, and Sophie Drouin was named the Student Therapist of the Year.

There were 10 recipients of the uOttawa Directors Award, recognizing the student-athletes who achieved national recognition as All-Canadians or U SPORTS All-Rookie Team members. 61 graduating student-athletes were also honoured.


ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: Dria Bennett (rugby), and Jackson Bennett (football)

Dria Bennett captained the Gee-Gees women’s rugby team to a fourth straight RSEQ championship and its first ever U SPORTS National Championship. The fourth-year centre from Orleans, Ont., scored three tries during the national championship tournament and was named the Tournament MVP. Dria was an RSEQ first team all-star and has represented Canada on three occasions this season alone, travelling to Japan for two sevens events and to England for a 15s tour. Bennett is studying towards a Master’s degree in Epidemiology within the Faculty of Medicine.

Jackson Bennett was named the OUA’s Most Outstanding Stand-Up Defensive Player and a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian following his eye-popping 2017 season. He led the Gee-Gees with 47 tackles during the regular season and picked off three interceptions, returning one for a game-winning touchdown. In addition to his excellent defensive work, which earned him an OUA First Team All-Star position at half back, Bennett excelled on special teams. His total of 679 all-purpose yards earned him an OUA Second Team All-Star award as a returner. The Environmental Science student has recently been impressing scouts at the CFL combine and is expected to be a high draft pick at the 2018 draft.


PRESIDENT’S AWARDS: Katherine Bearne (soccer) and Quinn O’Brien (hockey)

Katherine Bearne was celebrated as one of the U SPORTS Top Eight Academic All-Canadians this year and also had a career year on the soccer field. Bearne led the Gee-Gees in scoring in 2017 with eight goals and also added two assists along with excellent defensive play at midfield. She was named as a U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian. Her 10.0 GPA in the Faculty of Science’s Physics and Mathematics program has included co-op placements in academic lab settings, with her most recent placement at a photonics lab which worked on solar cell devices, researching organic solar cells. Bearne also volunteers her time with various youth soccer organizations and soup kitchens in Ottawa and her hometown of Halifax.

A Finance student at the Telfer School of Management, Quinn O’Brien has displayed the qualities of a natural leader from day one of his time with the Gee-Gees, both on and off the ice. His irreproachable work ethic both on the ice and in the classroom have helped Quinn stand out, and the Campbell’s Bay, Que., product contributed seven goals to the Gee-Gees this regular season. O’Brien served as the head councillor with the Junior Gee-Gees hockey camps and was the team representative at a Do It For Daron event. He is also a volunteer coach for on ice skills sessions with the Ottawa East Minor Hockey Association.


ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARDS: Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu (basketball) and Médric Mercier (hockey)

Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu was a U SPORTS All-Rookie Team member and led the Gee-Gees in scoring and rebounding en route to an OUA semifinal finish. Lefebvre-Okankwu proved herself early on in the Gee-Gees season, earning her first of six double-doubles in just her second regular season game. She scored a season-high of 29 points in a commanding performance against Toronto at Montpetit Hall to begin 2018. The Biomedical Sciences student from Gatineau was also on the OUA All-Rookie team.

Médric Mercier joined the Gee-Gees after taking part in the Columbus Blue Jackets selection camp and had an immediate impact on the team. The defenceman tallied 12 points during the regular season and three points in the playoffs. The Criminology student was named to the OUA All-Rookie team.



Samantha Alli  - rugby – U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian

Katherine Bearne – soccer - U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian

Jackson Bennett – football - U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian

Davide Casarin – swimming – U SPORTS silver medal, U SPORTS bronze medal

Montana Champagne – swimming – U SPORTS gold medal, two U SPORTS bronze medals

Christine Deaudelin – hockey – U SPORTS All-Rookie Team

Stephen Evans – track and field – U SPORTS silver medal

Jamie Harry – football – U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian

Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu – basketball – U SPORTS All-Rookie Team

Alexandra Ondo – rugby – U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian



Cross Country (M) - Alex Behre

Cross Country (W) - Keili Sheppard

Basketball (M) - Brandon Robinson

Basketball (W) - Brooklynn McAlear

Football - Jackson Bennett

Hockey (M) - Cody Drover

Hockey (W) - Maude Lévesque-Ryan

Rugby (W) - Emma Sandstrom

Soccer (W) - Katherine Bearne

Swimming (M) - Montana Champagne

Swimming (W) - Delphine Vandal

Track (M) - Stephen Evans

Track (W) - Kiera Christie-Galloway

Volleyball (W) - Sabrina Roy

Student therapist - Sophie Drouin