Heyens wins national award
Lasalette native plays rugby for Brock Badgers
La Salette’s Katelyn Heyens continues to make a lasting impression on the rugby community.
The Brock Badgers competitor is not only a multiple- time Ontario University Association ( OUA) all- star but on Oct. 31 was presented with the U Sports Student- Athlete Community Service Award during the annual women’s rugby All-canadian gala in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
“I am honoured to receive this award and am incredibly humbled by it,” Heyens said in a release. “However, this was a team effort. I would not be here if it wasn’t for the support from all the amazing people in my life. I am truly thankful for all the people who have encouraged me to get involved, and for all those who have helped me grow as an athlete and individual over the last few years.”
Last month the Holy Trinity graduate won the OUA Russell Division Community Service Award.
The prospective high school phys. ed instructor is currently attending teacher’s college and has volunteered in a number of projects, including the CIBC Run for the Cure ( four years), the Niagara Superhero Run, and at first-year orientation serving as ‘Motionball Coordinator’. For three years she took part in the Brock women’s rugby Rookie-vet Mentorship program and was a member of the Brock University Athletic Council for four years.
“Volunteering has always been a big part of my life,” said Heyens, a member of the Norfolk Harvesters women’s team. “From a young age, my parents encouraged me to get involved and help others whenever I am able to. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the help and support of others, so in return I want to do all I can to help others reach their goals.”
Heyens has spent her summers working with youth at the Waterford Heritage Agricultural Museum.
“Through volunteering, not only have I been able to help others, but I have been able to meet some amazing people and gain some valuable experience,” she said. “Through meeting new people and hearing their stories, it really adds a new perspective to life. By offering even a little bit of your time to help, it can make an incredible impact in the lives of others.”
Badgers coach Stefanie Pavlovich said Heyens takes a great deal of pride in helping her peers.
“Katelyn has a passion for helping others lead a healthy lifestyle, and is always willing to help others in need,” Pavlovich said. “Last year, she was the recipient of the Dallas Beaton Award at the Brock Athletic Banquet, which goes to a Brock athlete that has truly left an impact on the Brock community. She is selfless, hardworking, and an incredible person to be around.”
It’s interesting to ponder where Heyens’ career would’ve led had she not been convinced by Holy Trinity girls rugby coach Ian Fitzgerald to make the switch from soccer to rugby after her freshman year.
“Following the summer season with the Norfolk Harvesters, I decided to try out here at Brock and made the team,” she recalled. “Four years later I am still here, and am finishing up my varsity rugby career, which is crazy.”
A senior fullback, Heyens was one of the Badger captains that led her team to a second consecutive regular season record of 4-0 and a playoff run that saw Brock finish fourth in the province. She collected her third provincial allstar nod along the way.
“Rugby has become a significant part of my life in the last four years. It has challenged me both as an athlete and as an individual,” said Heyens. “This sport has taught me resiliency, teamwork, time management, and the importance of hard work. But ultimately, rugby has allowed to meet so many incredible people, many of whom will be life- long friends. Especially here at Brock, our team is like a family. We support each other both on and off the field, and we constantly push each other to strive for greatness. I couldn’t imagine my life now without this sport and all the amazing people I have met.”
La Salette’s Katelyn Heyens was named U Sports Student-athlete Community Service Award winner during the annual women’s rugby All-canadian gala in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Heyens is shown alongside Brock Badgers coach Stefanie Pavlovich.