The Delta Sports Hall of Fame has announced its Sports Champions winners — recognizing excellence and contribution in athletics over the past year.
The recipients will be honoured at the gala banquet on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn. The evening’s festivities will also include the induction of the newest members to the Delta Sports Hall of Fame.
Started in 2005, the Delta Sports Hall of Fame set as its goal “to celebrate Delta sport achievement, recognize excellence and honour past, present and future role models.” Family, friends and the public are invited to join the DSHOF committee and the award winners at the banquet. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased until Oct. 19 by calling Rick or Carlene at 604-943-0469.
Here are this year’s Sports Champion recipients:
Rawnie Weststrate (softball)
This standout aged up to be a key member of the powerhouse 2001 Delta Heat that enjoyed an outstanding run through rep softball. She also earn a spot on Canada’s junior national team headed to this month’s WBSC Americas U17 Women’s Softball Championships in Colombia.
Weststrate’s final game for the ’01 Heat was a complete game 12-strikeout performance in the final of this summer’s USSA Western National Championships in Eugene.
Around her softball training and competitions, she gives back to the sport she loves through coaching with 140 Sports. One of the things she is very proud of is the 2016 Delta Youth Rotary Helping Hand Award given to her Heat team for all of its volunteer work.
She is thankful for the contributions of her parents, along with her sister and teammate Jessie. She has had the guidance of many coaches including her father Jason, Bill Olexa, Bob Houtman and Doug Harris who have taught her both softball and lessons in life.
After being heavily recruited, Weststrate will be continuing her career at Texas Tech University in the fall of 2020.
Jace Minni (golf)
Among the top players in the Golf Canada’s junior rankings, Minni has competed in many high-profile tournaments across the country.
In 2018, he captured the BC Juvenile Championship, where he won in a playoff by sinking a 25-foot putt — his biggest personal highlight to date. This year, Minni won the Vancouver City Amateur champion, MJT Odlum Brown champion, and earned a fourth place finish at the Canadian Junior Championship in New Brunswick.
He is also a key member of the South Delta Sun Devils golf team, earning low medalist honours at this year’s Delta Police Tournament.
He has been a Beach Grove Junior since he was eight and began playing competitively when he was 12. He is thankful for the support of his family and credits his dad Scott, a golf professional himself, for being his coach and mentor.
His sister Amanda is on a golf scholarship at Oregon State and Jace will be heading south too after committing to Gonzaga University back in August.
Aaron Lattimer (rowing)
Since graduating from UBC in 2017, Lattimer is in his third-year training with the national team with his sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Along the way, he has seen a great deal of success. He placed fourth at the 2018 World Championship in Bulgaria, setting the fastest Canadian Lightweight Men’s Skulls (LM1x) time of 6:45. In 2019, Lattimer placed sixth in the LM1x at the Worlds in Austria.
Off the water Aaron has also done very well on Ergometer testing. He holds the Canadian Record (Lightweight) for 10000m with a time of 33:07, the World Record for 6000m test time of 19:16, and the World Record for the one-hour Ergometer test distance of 17850.
He followed the family tradition and joined the rowing team in Grade 8 at Vancouver College.
His brother Maxwell is a national team veteran and 2016 Olympian.
Cody Tanaka (curling)
In 2018, Tanaka’s rink captured the Mixed Provincials, followed later that year by another first place finish, and MVP honours, at the Traveler’s Championship in Miramichi, NB.
In 2019, Tanaka achieved another first place finish at the BC Mixed Doubles Championships, as well as a top 12 finish at the Canadian Mixed Doubles in Fredericton, NB.
The Tunnel Town Curling Club member is currently training with his competitive men’s team at a variety of clubs, working towards his goal of competing at the Brier. Along with his own training over the years, he has taken the time to share his expertise in teaching skill-development clinics and coached the U18 and U21 boys teams. Tanaka was also selected to coach a Provincial Wheelchair Curling team in 2018.
Doug Harris (softball)
For more than 24 years, Harris has been coaching and mentoring young athletes in Delta. Like many dedicated parents, he began coaching his children but unlike most, continued long after his children moved on.
Over his long softball coaching tenure he has worked mainly with two teams — the South Delta Invaders (2002-2010) and the 2001 Delta Heat (2011-2019). Next year he will be the 2002 Heat. He has also spent 18 years coaching soccer and eight more with Delta Special Olympics.
Harris is most happy to quietly use his experience and knowledge to benefit youth “using sport as a tool to teach life lessons like discipline, accountability, responsibility, commitment and teamwork. The development of these skills, taught through sport, will help children deal with the highs and lows of life.”
He is also passionate about his work with 140 SPORTS and reaching out to many more youth to build strong skill sets in their “athletic, emotional and mental areas of their lives.”
According to his players, Harris “brings such a positive sense to the game and never once doubts us on or off the field’. At every opportunity, he emphasizes to his athletes that “their accomplishments belong to them and are theirs to claim.”
Typically, Harris does not even come on to the field to collect a medal at the end of various successful tournaments highlighting that “I didn’t win it, you all won the game.” He says that he gets his gratification “in feeling that my role as their coach allowed them to feel supported and confident enough to take on and ultimately overcome life’s challenges.”
North Delta Huskies (basketball)
The Huskies capped a dream season with a dramatic run at the Langley Events Centre last March with a narrow win over Vernon to deliver the city its first high school basketball provincial title in 29 years.
The path to glory though would not be an easy one. Key injuries at significant times in the year, a challenging schedule, and an extremely difficult playoff route were all obstacles to overcome.
An injury depleted squad struggled through the Fraser Valley playoffs finishing fourth and ultimately being seeded ninth for provincials
In a quadrant which featured four teams that had been ranked No. 1 at some time in the year, their journey was not going to be easy. With two key players, Vik Hayer and Suraj Gahir, competing with significant injuries, the Huskies opened with a comfortable victory over Byrne Creek.
The Huskies then dispatched top seed Sir Charles Tupper in the quarter finals, setting the stage for two of the most exciting games of the tournament.
In the semi-finals, with just seconds remaining, Gahir’s three-pointer secured a 62-61 victory over Duchess Park.
In the tournament final, once again the outcome was decided in the dying seconds.
Trailing by four with just over a minute remaining, a three pointer by Arun Atker, followed by a driving layup by tourney MVP Gahir, earned the Huskies a 46-44 victory.
Coached by Coaches Jesse Hundal, Gary Sandhu, Bill Edwards and Manvir Gahir the roster also included: Jag Johal, Abbiel Mate, Bhavraj Thiara, Ryan Cabico, Suraj Gahir, Eshaan Kapoor, Gary Singh, Manraj Singh, Sagar Ranouta, Gurjiwan Dhindsa, and Parm Hothi.
Sue Demuynck (field Hockey)
Field Hockey BC defines a volunteer as, “a person who freely offers to undertake a task and has contributed endless hours of time and energy.” Demuynck has more than exceeded this criteria as she has volunteered with Field Hockey BC for over 40 years, working at local, provincial, national and international levels.
In the last three years alone, Demuynck has received the 2017 Field Hockey BC award for Event Management, the 2018 for Governance Support and the 2019 Sport BC President’s Award. Of her many awards, Sue is most proud of winning the 1994 Barb Schrodt Award presented to “someone who has made a difference to women’s field hockey in BC.”
Demuynck joined the BC Women’s Field Hockey Federation Executive in 1975 assuming many roles. After the amalgamation with the Men’s association in 2005, Sue lead the Women’s High-Performance athlete portfolio, then add the Men’s portfolio before becoming the president of Field Hockey BC. She was president for the maximum allowable three terms, stepping down in 2018.
From 1991-2017, Sue volunteered as technical director, advisor, judge, coach and officer at every level from local through international events.
Sue is still active as a Tournament technical official. “I stayed because the sport is one of my passions, and I enjoy the close friendships I have established.”