Simon Fraser Has Four Finalists For Sport BC Awards
Aaron Ahl (left) and Alison Andrews-Paul are both finalists for University Athlete of the Year at the Sport BC Athlete of the Year awards.
Aaron Ahl (left) and Alison Andrews-Paul are both finalists for University Athlete of the Year at the Sport BC Athlete of the Year awards.

Thursday, January 19, 2023
by Simon Fraser Athletic Communications

BURNABY, B.C. – Three Simon Fraser student-athletes and one coach have been announced as finalists for awards at the 55th annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards.

Recent graduates and track and field standots Aaron Ahl and Alison Andrews-Paul are finalists for the University Athlete of the Year while their coach, Brit Townsend, is a finalist for the Female Coach of the Year. Freshman men's basketball player Jimmy Zaborniak is a finalist for the Male High School Athlete of the Year based on his accomplishments before arriving at SFU.
Ahl, the 2022-23 GNAC Male Athlete of the Year, was also named the 2022 GNAC Indoor Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year and received the GNAC Indoor Championships Male Track Athlete of the Meet and Performance of the Meet awards after he set meet records in both the mile and the 3,000 meters.
Ahl, who is from Calgary, ran third-fastest indoor mile in NCAA Division II history, posting at time of 3:57.95 on Jan. 30, 2022. It is a GNAC record, and he was just the second miler from the conference to go under four minutes. Ahl was also a member of the SFU distance medley relay squad that set a new GNAC record in 2022.
Ahl captured the GNAC indoor titles in the mile, 3,000 meters and distance medley relay, as well as the 800 at the outdoor meet. He had All-America results in the following NCAA indoor championships events: distance medley relay (second), and 3,000 meters (fourth). He was 10th (All-America) in the NCAA outdoor 1,500.
A biomedical physiology student, Ahl made the GNAC Academic All-Conference Team in cross country and track and field.
Andrews-Paul has been recognized for her incredible 2021-22 season with SFU in which she was named the GNAC's Female Athlete of the Year. She won the NCAA Division II indoor title in the 800 meters and recorded the fastest outdoor 800-meter time in Division II history (2:01.43) in April. That performance made her the fifth-fastest woman on New Zealand's all-time ranking of 800-meter runners.
Andrews-Paul also won the conference's Female Athlete of the Year awards in indoor and outdoor track and field. Her meet-record performance in the 800 meters was chosen as the Performance of the Meet at the 2022 GNAC Indoor Championships.
Andrews-Paul earned five NCAA All-American trophies during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. She set GNAC records in the 800 meters both indoors and outdoors and owns the No. 4 spot on the GNAC all-time list in the 400 and 1,500 meters.
She helped SFU win GNAC banners in cross country and, for the first time, indoor track and field. Andrews-Paul was also the highest-finishing SFU women's runner at the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.
The master of public health student from Ohope Beach, New Zealand made history for the Red Leafs on the academic side as well during the 2021-22 season. Andrews-Paul earned a spot on the College Sports Communicators Academic All-America First Team in track and field and cross country. She, along with teammated Emily Chilton, were the first SFU women to be make a CSC Academic All-America Team. Andrews-Paul was also a GNAC Academic All-Conference Team member in cross country and track and field.

Townsend won GNAC Coach of the Year awards during 2021-22 in women's cross country, men's cross country, women's indoor track and field and women's outdoor track and field. Her peers chose her as the 2021 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Coach of the Year in women's cross country.

SFU won conference team titles in men's and women's cross country and women's indoor track and field. It placed first at the NCAA Div. II women's cross country West Region championship.
In addition to the achievements of Ahl and Andrews-Paul, Olivia Willett raced to the GNAC individual championship in women's cross country. Marie-Éloïse Leclair won the GNAC's Outdoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year, and the conference outdoor championship's Track Athlete of the Meet awards. Charlie Dannatt was named the GNAC's Outdoor Track and Field Newcomer of the Year. Simon Fraser had a combined 13 All-America performances at NCAA Div. II indoor and outdoor track and field championships.
Three alumni of the program, all coached by Townsend, made the 2022 World Athletics Championships. Lindsey Butterworth, Cameron Proceciat and Addy Townsend all represented Canada this past summer in Oregon.

Current men's basketball freshman Zaborniak is one of five High School Male Athlete of the Year finalists. In his Grade 12 season with Burnaby South Secondary School, he led the Rebels to the BC Quadruple-A provincial title in March 2022. He was chosen as the tournament's Most Valuable Player after averaging 22.5 points per game at the event. Zaborniak then signed with SFU and has been impressive in his debut campaign at the NCAA level, appearing in all 17 Red Leafs games so far this season, starting six.

The finalists will be celebrated at a banquet on Thursday, Mar. 9 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East.