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Six Tri-Cities athletes named finalists for annual provincial awards

Sport BC's 55th organizational honours include one local athlete in five different categories.

Several Tri-Cities athletes could soon be adding another provincial honour to their career résumés.

Sport BC unveiled its 65 individual finalists for its annual Athlete of the Year Awards, which includes six from Anmore, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody across five categories.

The 55th edition, scheduled for March 9 in Vancouver, is said to recognize amateur athletes, teams, coaches and officials for their performances from the 2021 and 2022.

The local nominees are as follows (in alphabetical order by category):

College athlete of the year

  • Thomas Venos (Anmore) = wheelchair tennis
  • Claire Ye (Coquitlam) = soccer

Female coach of the year

  • Barb Fraser (Port Coquitlam) = gymnastics

High school female athlete of the year

  • Lauren Clements (Port Coquitlam) = basketball

High school male athlete of the year

  • Laon Kim (Coquitlam) = swimming

University athlete of the year

  • Kent Johnson (Port Moody) = ice hockey

All of the above were nominated by a B.C. provincial or multi-sport group, high school, college of university.

"The Athlete of the Year Awards is a true celebration of sport in our province," said Sport BC president and CEO Rob Newman.

Venos has won two tournament titles since joining the University of Alabama, including one on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) circuit, and is currently ranked 60th in the world.

Before transferring to Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Ye was a standout with Capilano University, earning PACWEST player of the year for the 2021-22 women's soccer season after leading the Blues to conference gold.

Fraser is the owner and tenured coach with TAG Gymnastics in Port Coquitlam, and led members to several individual and team accolades from the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Clements, now with UFV, is being recognized for her MVP performance in helping lead the Terry Fox Ravens to the 2022 B.C. AAAA seniors girls basketball title.

Kim, 14, won three gold medals for the Gleneagle Talons at the 2022 B.C. aquatics championships and set a new national record for his age group in 800m men's freestyle.

Johnson, who's currently in the middle of his first NHL season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scored the overtime-winning goal to claim the 2022 world junior hockey championship with Canada and even suited up for the red and white at the Beijing Winter Olympics.