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MAJOR AWARD NOMINEES: CLARA BENSON HONOUR AWARD will highlight the nominees of U of T’s major awards – men’s and women’s rookies of the year, Dr. Clara Benson honour award, George M. Biggs trophy, as well as the men’s and women’s Frank Pindar and T-Holders’ athletes of the year – to be announced at the Varsity Blues Awards Gala on Saturday, April 1.

The following Varsity Blues athletes were nominated by their coaches and chosen through the awards selection process as finalists for the Clara Benson Honour Award, given annually to the graduating undergraduate women’s student-athlete who has contributed most to university athletics from the standpoint of academics, athletics, leadership and community service (in alpha order):
Sara Cumby – Golf / Curling  
Sara Cumby has been a member of the Varsity Blues golf (2019-22), curling (2021-23) and basketball (2019-20) teams during her time at U of T. Serving as a team captain of the golf team, Cumby helped the Blues to the OUA championship title in 2022, earning OUA all-star honours in the process. When she’s not competing for the Blues, Cumby has volunteered as a program assistant for the March of Dimes, is the co-president of Big Spoon, Lil Spoon, an organization that offers affordable cooking classes to children with intellectual disabilities in the community, is a volunteer instructor at Ken-Wo Golf Club and served as a rehabilitation student as Kensington Gardens Long-Term Care Home.
Lauren Dundee – Water Polo
A three-time NCWP all-star, four-time NCWP champion and 2019 NCWP championship MVP, Lauren Dundee is not only accomplished in the pool, but in the classroom and community as well. The 2022 team captain of the Blues is a three-time academic achievement award winner and a three-time Faculty of Arts & Science Dean’s list scholar. She is the founder and president of the U of T women in sport club, served as the Varsity Board’s vice president of community outreach in 2021-22 and currently serves on the Varsity Board’s academic and leadership development committee. Dundee is a member of the U of T pre-law society and awas a gala committee member of the U of T UN Women. She volunteered as a UK Motorsport marshal, at the senior open golf tournament and with Water for People.
Aleksa Gold – Swimming
A decorated swimmer in the pool, Aleksa Gold is an accomplished student in the classroom and leader in the community. The 2022-23 OUA women’s swimmer of the year is a four-time OUA all-star and U SPORTS all-Canadian and has been a member of four OUA championship and two U SPORTS championship teams. She represented Estonia at the 2019 and 2022 world championships. Gold is a three-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian and served as a team captain of the swimming team this season. She is the founder and president of the U of T Estonian Student’s Association, serves a co-president of Varsity Board and is a member of the Varsity Jewish Association. She has also served as the Varsity Blues swimming social media coordinator since 2021. 
Hope Kotun – Volleyball
A member of two OUA champion and two OUA silver medalist Varsity Blues women’s volleyball teams, Hope Kotun is a leader both on and off the court. The three-time academic all-Canadian received the Jane Clement Chamberlin memorial award in 2022, the Katie Taylor and The Harris-Taylor family foundation scholarship in 2022, as well as the Marjory Shed memorial scholarship in 2021. Kotun, who served as team captain of the Blues this past season, is a volunteer coach with the Varsity Blues volleyball academy. She serves on Varsity Board and is a member of the community outreach subcommittee and has also volunteered at the Canadian youth national volleyball championships.
Jada Roach – Track & Field
Varsity Blues track and field team co-captain Jada Roach boasts a phenomenal resume. The 2022 OUA triple jump champion and all-star is a three-time academic all-Canadian. She won the 2022 David B. Cooper award and was a U of T scholar in 2019. When she’s not on the track or in the classroom, Roach is heavily involved with her many extra-curricular activities. She is a member of the Varsity Board’s athlete engagement subcommittee and is the current social media coordinator, she is the director of diversity and inclusion for the U of T women in sport club and served as the head of communications for the BIPOC Varsity Association (BVA) in 2020-21. Roach is a placement student at the ELLICSR Cancer Survivorship Centre at Toronto General Hospital and has been the student at-large representative on the U of T’s Council of Athletics and Recreation since 2020. She is a member of the KPE equity committee and graduate committee and served as a facilitator at the KPE diversity and equity in motion conference as well as the Black History Month film showing. Roach also served as a grant writing support volunteer for Shift Happens Coaching, and was a volunteer official at the Saskatoon Track & Field Club.
Ella Tetrault – Rugby
Ella Tetrault is a two-time OUA women’s rugby all-star and won both the OUA and U SPORTS women’s rugby community service award in 2021. The co-captain of the Blues won the 2023 U of T student leadership award, as well as the Mary H. Lee award for leadership in women’s athletics in 2020-21. She is a two-time academic all-Canadian, is a Dean’s List scholar and has won both the Anne Hewitt and Elaine Andrews scholarships. Tetrault serves as the women’s rugby rep on the U of T women in sport club and is the co-founder and co-president of the U of T Growing Mentality Club, advocating for student’s mental health and wellbeing within the university and greater community. She volunteered with the Hot Potato initiative, whose mission is to educate, engage and enlarge youth conversation about homelessness and served as the vice president of the POWERS (Periods an Organization for Women’s and Everyone’s Reproductive and Sexual Rights) club from 2020-22. She has been heavily involved in U of T’s St. Michael’s College, serving on the orientation team from 2020-23, the athletic committee in 2020-21 and the event management team since 2021.

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