SPORTS

Nominees announced for CIS male and female athletes of the year.

04/22/2015 06:17 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - University of Calgary quarterback Andrew Buckley demonstrated why he has won awards for his ability to balance academics with athletics.

Even though he had a final exam later in the afternoon, Buckley found time to attend a Wednesday morning press conference to announce the nominees for the Canadian Interunvesrity Sport male and female athletes of the year.

"This is kind of the culmination of college sports in Canada, so to be even nominated for this is such a huge honour," said Buckley, who joined seven other nominees for the 2015 male and female BLG Awards, which will be presented May 4 in Calgary.

After fulfilling his media obligations, Buckley headed back for his exam.

"It's a flexibility course in kinesiology so we're learning all about muscle physiology and stuff like that," said the Calgary native. "It could be a tricky one this afternoon, but I think I'm prepared for it. I've put in the work studying for this test, so I should be ready — press conference and all."

In November, Buckley won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding CIS football player and took home his second straight Russ Jackson Award for success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

"It's tough and it requires a time commitment," Buckley said of being able to juggle his on-field endeavours with his studies and community work. "It's got to be something that you want to do. Anyone who's not really committed is going to struggle with it. You really have to have a passion for doing all three — school, community work and then sports on top on all of that."

The other men's nominees are Cape Breton University soccer player Justin Maheu from Ottawa, McGill University hockey player Cedric McNicoll from Boucherville, Que., and University of Guelph cross country and track and field star Ross Proudfoot of Sudbury, Ont.

Maheu said the nomination is the highest honour he has ever received.

"For a small school, it means that much more to be nominated for such a big award," Maheu said. "It is a big deal for me and for the school."

On the women's side, the nominees are McGill basketball player Mariam Sylla from Conakry, Guinea, St. Francis Xavier University soccer player Emma Taylor from Scotsburn, N.S., University of Windsor basketball player Korissa Williams from Windsor, Ont., and Trinity Western University soccer player Jessica King from Liverpool, England.

Sylla immigrated to Montreal from Guinea 10 years ago and the six-foot-one centre has played for the Martlets for the past three seasons.

"McGill is a really good school," said Sylla, who helped guide the Martlets to a silver-medal at the CIS championship, which was the best result in the program's history. "It was a great opportunity for me."

The two BLG Award winners each will receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship. The awards date back to 1993 and are sponsored by the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais.

"All the nominees have had great background, great success at university and on the playing field," said Doug Mitchell, national co-chair of BLG. "All of them are great winners. We look back on all previous winners and nominees and we've followed their careers and they've becoming some of Canada's greatest leaders. We congratulate not only the current nominees but also all the former nominees."

Basketball players Justine Colley of St. Mary's University and Philip Scrubb of Carleton University were last year's winners.

MORE:cpSports