In many ways, 2019 was a remarkable year for Row NS; our athletes, coaches, umpires, and club administrators all play vital roles in our sport, and it’s important to recognize their achievements. Although we can’t gather in person to celebrate our collective accomplishments, we are excited to announce our award winners in this forum!
The quality of this year’s nominees is exceptional, and showcases the vast array of accomplishments by our members. Together, Row NS and our clubs continue to build a remarkable slate of young and seasoned athletes who compete and excel at national and international levels. Our athletes’ success is the end result of the work of many, many people who toil behind the scenes to ensure that our athletes get to do what they love: row.
We will be announcing all of our award winners in the coming days. Please stay tuned to our social media to help celebrate with us!
Club Coach of the Year – Katie Edwards, Antigonish Rowing Club
The Row NS Club Coach of the Year is Katie Edwards, Head Coach of the StFX Rowing Club and the Antigonish Rowing Club, and the current President of Row NS and the Canadian University Rowing Association. Katie’s work has been integral to the growth of rowing in Nova Scotia over the past decade, including the construction of the new rowing facility in Antigonish, which has hosted national and international regattas. The success of the StFX rowing program has built steadily, culminating this year in historic results. For the second consecutive year, the StFX men’s team won the banner at the Atlantic University Rowing Championships. Soon after, two StFX boats qualified for the A finals at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in Victoria, BC. The lightweight men’s double finished sixth, and the lightweight men’s single placed fifth, indicating the continued growth and success of the StFX rowing program. Katie’s passion for rowing is evident in her extensive administrative work, but the relationships she fosters with her athletes is the hallmark of her deeply personal coaching style.
Umpire of the Year – Yetta Withrow
The Row NS Umpire of the Year is presented to Yetta Withrow. Yetta has been a tireless supporter of the sport of rowing for over 20 years and a Nova Scotia RCA Umpire for over 14 years. Yetta is very giving of her time to the rowing community and to the umpires at regattas. She goes out of her way to make sure that regattas can run smoothly, efficiently and safely not only by upholding the RCA Rules of Racing as an umpire, but making herself available to the regatta local organizing committee for additional duties. Yetta brings depth of knowledge, professionalism, sincerity and an excitement for racing to her umpiring at every regatta she attends.
Volunteer of the Year – Joan Backman, Halifax Rowing Club
The Row NS Volunteer of the Year is Joan Backman of the Halifax Rowing Club. Joan is a long-time board member in Nova Scotia rowing – with HRC from 2004-2010 and with Row NS since 2018. Joan has been umpiring in Nova Scotia since 2014, and has also been selected to officiate at several national regattas. In 2019, Joan was instrumental in the formation of the Row NS President’s Committee, which has vitally improved inter-club communication and the sharing of knowledge. Joan has also been a key figure in the emergence of coastal rowing in Nova Scotia: indeed, her support and guidance of the Lunenburg Rowing Club resulted in their hosting the province’s first-ever coastal regatta in the summer of 2019. And, Joan took the opportunity to organize a coastal umpire training course in conjunction with the event, led by Canada’s top coastal umpire. Joan’s strong work ethic, coupled with her always careful and measured consideration of complex issues, make her an invaluable member of our rowing community.
Mileage Award – Tracy Brown, Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club
The Row NS Mileage Award is presented to Tracy Brown from Mic Mac AAC Rowing. Tracy is a vibrant and well-recognized leader within the rowing community in Nova Scotia. Tracy began rowing in 1990 and later represented Team Nova Scotia at the 1993 Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, B.C. After a break from the sport, she returned as a masters rower at Mic Mac AAC in 2011. Since then she has been a dedicated year-round rower as part of the Mic Mac AAC Rowing Masters program who rarely misses a chance to be on the water. Tracy has rarely missed a regatta in Atlantic Canada over the past nine years and has traveled to compete in Quebec and Ontario many times over the years. In addition to her own rowing, Tracy has been heavily involved in the rowing community, including being a member of the Row NS Board of Directors from 2013-2017, volunteering as the team manager at the 2013 Canada Games, working as the Sport Director at Mic Mac AAC Rowing, being selected to the Women in Coaching Program for the 2017 Canada Games, being selected into the RCA Coach Mentorship Program, coaching at the CanAmMex Regatta in Mexico City and her role as coach learning facilitator and evaluator. Through everything, Tracy continues to be energetic and passionate about rowing while striving to raise the profile of the sport as a rower and a coach.
Male Rower of the Year – Andrew Todd, North Star Rowing Club
The Row NS Male Rower of the Year is presented to Andrew Todd from North Star Rowing Club. Todd is a member of the RCA Para National Team, North Star Rowing Club and the Nova Scotia Provincial Team. In 2019, Todd claimed gold at World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria with his para-rowing Men’s Pair partner, Kyle Fredrickson – successfully defending their title from 2018 and becoming back-to-back World Champions. In a tightly-contested race, Todd and Fredrickson were in third place coming through the halfway point but battled back to pass France and Australia to claim gold. Todd continued his successful 2019 at the RCA National Rowing Championships in the PR3 Men’s single where he rowed his way to the gold medal! For all his accomplishments in 2019, Todd was recognized as the co-recipient of the RCA Para Athlete of the Year, along with partner Kyle Frederickson (Victoria, B.C.). During Todd’s time in Nova Scotia he has consistently set a very high bar for provincial athletes aspiring to the international stage. He is deeply invested and engaged in the sport, and gives back to his rowing community through speaking engagements, mentoring young athletes, and by serving on the board of directors for Row Nova Scotia.
Female Rower of the Year – Claire Ellison, Halifax Rowing Club
The Row NS Female Rower of the Year is presented to Claire Ellison from Halifax Rowing Club. Ellison was selected to the Junior National Team for a second straight year in the junior women’s quad which narrowly missed a medal placing 4th at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Ellison went on to compete at the RCA National Rowing Championships in the junior women’s single where she won the gold medal! In the Fall, Ellison began university at Queen’s University finding immediate success as she won silver in the women’s pair at the Canadian University Rowing Championships. Ellison was recognized with two RCA awards – the RCA Junior Athlete of the Year and the Tony Zasada Memorial Fund Award for her accomplishments. .Claire has been working hard and is demonstrating to all young Nova Scotians that rowers from this province can make an impact on the international stage and we are excited to see what she can accomplish moving forward.
Male Crew of the Year – Samuel Court and Jack Petrunick, StFX Rowing
The Row NS Male Crew of the Year is presented to Samuel Court and Jack Petrunick from StFX Rowing. Court and Petrunik rowed in the lightweight men’s double for the StFX Rowing Team this past season. The duo placed first at the Atlantic University Rowing Championships (AURC) in the lightweight men’s double, as well as placing first at the Atlantic Rowing Championships in the championship double. Following their success in Atlantic Canada, Court and Petrunick qualified for the A finals at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in Victoria, BC where they eventually placed sixth in a competitive lightweight men’s double event. Court and Petrunick show great leadership on and off the lake for the StFX Rowing Program and were integral in StFX Rowing capturing the AURC Men’s Banner for the second consecutive year and having its most successful season to date.
Female Crew of the Year – Hannah Meeson and Kayla Bugeya-Miller, North Star Rowing Club
The Row NS Female Crew of the Year is presented to Hannah Meeson and Kayla Bugeya-Miller from North Star Rowing Club. Meeson and Bugeya-Miller rowed in the lightweight women’s pair for North Star this past season. The duo placed first at the Nova Scotia Sprints – Bud Myra Memorial Regatta in the senior lightweight women’s pair. Next, the two competed at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta where they won their heat to qualify for the A Final. In the final, the lightweight women’s pair battled for the lead in what came down to a two boat race, ultimately being edged out and winning the silver medal. Both Meeson and Bugeya-Miller were integral members of the North Star Rowing Club this past season and made significant contributions to North Star having the most successful Canadian Henley Regatta in recent history.
President’s Award – Pat Cody
The Row NS President’s Award recipient for 2019 is Pat Cody. Even by his own standards, Pat Cody had an extremely successful year coaching. He received his second nomination to coach for the RCA NextGen Team where the boat he was coaching, the women’s quad, placed 4th at the Junior World Championships in Japan. In 2019, athletes coached and mentored by Pat competed at the Senior World Championships, Junior World Championships, CanAmMex, and Trans Tasmin regattas. Under Pat’s guidance, Team Nova Scotia traveled to Burnaby for the National Rowing Championships and performed well, collecting three medals – two gold and one silver. Pat Cody consistently exemplifies the core values of Row NS. In his coaching, he consistently communicates the importance of high standards, hard work, integrity, commitment to self-improvement, teamwork, and community. Through his vision, actions, and leadership, Pat Cody models those very same values and has made a significant contribution to Nova Scotia athletes’ exceptional performances in 2019.