Brianna Iannazzo wins Outstanding Women of Laurier Award 2020

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The Outstanding Women of Laurier award, originally scheduled for March 26, was cancelled due to the current global pandemic. The Athletics and Recreation departments worked hard to hold the ceremony virtually and were able to do that during this past month, as they were finally able to recognize the amazing nominees on Aug. 6. 

This year Brianna Iannazzo from Thornhill, Ontario was awarded the Outstanding Women of Laurier award, making her the 15th OWL recipient since 2006. She is a fourth-year women’s basketball star majoring in health sciences with a long list of impressive extracurriculars. 

Iannazzo was nominated along with her teammate Rachel Woodburn from Ajax and former swim team member Lauren Cullye of Toronto, Ontario. 

Head Coach Paul Falco was very excited to hear that two of his players from the Laurier basketball program were being nominated for the OWL.  

“Having coached Bri and Rachel the last four years, I saw firsthand their determination to succeed academically and athletically, while at the same time being leaders in our community through volunteer work,” Falco said. “Congratulations to Bri on being the 2020 OWL award winner. Her commitment to our women’s basketball program has been second to none and the growth she has displayed, as both a player and a leader, has been truly impressive.”

Laurier launched the Outstanding Woman of Laurier award to recognize female students who combine athletic and academic achievement with an active commitment to the community through volunteerism. The money raised from the event goes towards supporting women’s athletic initiatives, scholarships and the mentoring program at Laurier. 

The award was presented virtually on Aug. 6 by the RBC. The Department of Athletics and Recreation arranged for Toronto Raptors assistant coach Brittni Donaldson to deliver the keynote speech as well as many other valued sponsors to attend the event. 

When the event got canceled back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OWL team worked hard to deliver the event online. The team created video messages on WLU Athletics social media to celebrate the nominees and recipient. 

The year’s event was sponsored by Enterprise Holdings, Heffner Toyota, WLU Alumni Association, Miller Thomson, Media Resources, Lululemon, SoCIAL LITE, Amsterdam Brewery and Wilfrid Laurier University.  

Iannazzo embodies the key characteristics of an OWL recipient. As team captain and starting guard, she claimed the fifth spot on Laurier’s all-time scoring list with 915 points. Averaging 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and one steal per game. 

Her athletic abilities are matched by her volunteerism as she volunteers at the Grand River Hospital aiding in the development of activities for patients. Off the court Iannazzo coached the Waterloo Youth Basketball League as well as at the Wilfrid Laurier Girls Basketball Camp. 

Her passion for athletics and academics is seen through her work with the Golden Hawk Council Running and Reading program, where she helps children combine athletics with reading. She is also an intern for Stand Up for Health. 

A student-athlete has the majority of their time decided for them, but Iannazzo continues to strive for not only self-improvement but the betterment of her team but her community. She has one more year of eligibility with the Golden Hawks and is sure to continue to keep setting records and giving back to her community and team. 

While the event was certainly different than the past OWL presentations, the department of Athletics and the Golden Hawks did a great job in staying committed towards holding the event.

The virtual presentation that honoured the three nominees and awarded Iannazzo was executed excellently on Laurier’s social media sites throughout the whole week and ended as a great success! 

With files from Mark Cascagnette, Sports Editor.

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