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Carlyon up for national hoops award

Some players who get their start in high school sports go on to bigger and better things, and one Westlock athlete has truly shined.

Some players who get their start in high school sports go on to bigger and better things, and one Westlock athlete has truly shined.

Andria Carlyon has been nominated for the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association’s (CCAA) national Player of the Year.

The nomination comes on the heels of a series of other awards following a successful basketball season with the Grand Prairie Regional College Wolves.

“The season’s been really good,” she said. “We only had three losses in our regular season out of 20 games.”

And the club’s regular season dominance continued at the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference’s Women’s Final Four Tournament in Calgary last Saturday where the Wolves beat Grant MacEwan 63-59 in the gold medal game. The club now gets a chance to compete for a national title March 17-19 at Niagara College in Niagra, Ont.

A season as successful as this one for the Wolves obviously requires a strong team effort, but Carlyon has been spectacular.

She was first named to the all-conference team in the north as she averaged 21.73 points per game during the year. She was picked for this team by a group of coaches from across the league.

“From that they pick the top player from the south and the top player from the north who are named CCAA all-Canadians,” Carlyon explained. “From that, they pick the top one and they picked me.”

The winner of that award will be announced at a banquet on March 16.

Carlyon said while she knew playing basketball was something she wanted to do, she had no idea she would be as successful at the college level as she has been.

“I was just playing basketball because I liked it, and Grand Prairie seemed like a decent place to play because it’s small,” she said.

She is in her second year at GPRC where she is studying general sciences with an eye to pursuing a career in agriculture or animal sciences.

She should have no trouble finding a university to let her pursue her career options, as she has already been scouted by some universities within Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), the governing body for major university sports in Canada.

“My coach has been contacted by universities at the CIS level,” Carlyon said. “Right now I haven’t been talking to them; I’ve been focusing on this season because we’ve had quite a bit of success.”

Although she hasn’t given it too much thought yet, she is quite confident she’ll pursue an offer from a university, as long as it allows her to pursue her intended education path.

“I’m waiting until the season is over and I’ll talk to them then,” she said. “I’m definitely looking at playing at the next level.”

Carlyon began her basketball career in high school when she played for the R.F. Staples Thunderbirds. Her team won the bronze medal at zones in 2009.

She credited her experience in high school with much of her current success, saying she had some good coaches who helped her along, including her father, Rod Carlyon.

“I had some pretty good coaches,” she said. “My dad got us going to whatever camps we wanted to so we could get better and enjoy the sport.”

Playing basketball is still as enjoyable as it ever was, she added, and she has developed a strong bond with her fellow Wolves.

“The team is like a family and we’re all really close; we all hang out together so it’s a great way to make friends and have a good time at college.”

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