A group of Grande Prairie area athletes, coaches and community members have been honoured for their dedication to local sports. On Friday, 12 awards were handed out at the 2019 Northwest Alberta Sport Excellence Awards.

Coming off a Bronze medal win in Judo at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Michelle Grisales was named the Female Athlete of the Year. This is the second time Michelle has been given the title in her career and says it feels really good.

“It just motivates me to keep on working hard and keep on trying to achieve my goals.”

The 16-year-old trains with Hoku Sei Kan Judo Club in Grande Prairie under her coach and father Carlos Grisales. She is coming off of a successful 2018, where she placed first at the Canadian National Championships, Ontario Open, and Edmonton International Championships.

Community member Darren Foley was given the Unsung Hero Award after he created a tournament to raise money for local students with medical concerns. Foley started the 3D Charity Hockey and Soccer Tournament 19 years ago and all the proceeds go towards helping students pay for medical costs. He says the children he helps are the real heroes.

“Obviously it’s humbling. I mean the award’s called the unsung hero award but the actual real heroes are the kids themselves that are in our community that are dealing with these medical issues… At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about and we’re just proud to physically accept that award on their behalf.”

A list of winners can be found below:
Coach of the Year- Ron Thomson-volleyball
Development Coach of the Year- Anthony Wall, football
Male Athlete of the Year- Tyler Funk, volleyball
Junior Female Athlete of the Year- Catherine Minic, swimming
Junior Male Athlete of the Year- Carter Kettyle, football, multi-sport
Team of the Year- GPRC Wolves Club U16 Girls, volleyball
Event of the Year- 2018 Alberta Summer Games
Outstanding Official- Dave Bleile, football
Sport Builder- Sarah Herman, beach volleyball
Community Sportsmanship- Adrenaline Athletics Cheerleading and Tumbling Gym