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Tom Longboat award winner recognized for hoop prowess

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By Sam Laskaris, Sweetgrass Writer, DEWINTON







Surprising accomplishments just keep coming for Ammon Crowfoot.
The 17-year-old, who lives in Dewinton, was recently caught off guard when he was announced as the national male recipient of the Tom Longboat Award for 2009, recognized as the country’s top Aboriginal amateur male athlete.

“I was pretty overwhelmed and shocked,” said Crowfoot, a Grade 11 student at Calgary’s Western Canada High School. “It’s a pretty amazing honour.”

Crowfoot had attended a high school in Okotoks for two years before transferring to Western Canada.

“It was mainly for sports,” Crowfoot said of his change in schools. “I wanted to go somewhere where they took their sports seriously.”

Though primarily known for his basketball skills, Crowfoot decided to compete for the Western Redmen cross-country running team this past fall. By doing so he earned some prestigious hardware.  

Crowfoot ended up placing second in the boys’ Grade 11 six-kilometre race at the provincial high school championships.

“It was actually surprising,” Crowfoot said. “My start wasn’t very good.”

But his eventual placing has convinced him to keep running.

 “My dad thinks I’m better at running than basketball,” added Crowfoot, who has Blackfoot, Saulteaux, Mohawk and Oneida ancestry.

The 5-foot-10 point guard led the Redmen to a provincial title at the highest calibre 4A level this past March. Western Canada registered an over-all record of 31-3 this past season. It’s believed to be the first time in 50 years the school team had captured the Alberta title.

For Crowfoot, this was the second straight year he had competed in the provincial high school finals. In Grade 10 he cracked the roster of his senior team at his Okotoks high school. But that squad did not enjoy success at the provincials.

Crowfoot’s parents nominated their son for the Tom Longboat Award. The teen, however, admitted he did not know much about Longboat, the legendary Aboriginal long-distance runner who dominated races during the early 1900s.

After he discovered he was a nominee, Crowfoot did some research on Longboat and the award.               “When I read more about it, I didn’t think my chances of winning were good,” he said.

Officials with the Aboriginal Sport Circle, who annually present the award, were obviously impressed with his accomplishments.

Meanwhile, Brigette Lacquette, a 17-year-old hockey player from Mallard, Man., was selected as the national female Tom Longboat Award winner.  Picking up the 2009 National Aboriginal Coaching Awards were Courage Bear and Gloria Hendrick-Laliberte. Bear, a Saskatoon resident, was chosen in part for leading the Saskatchewan boys’ team to a gold medal at the 2009 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Winnipeg.  Hendrick-Laliberte, who lives in Thunder Bay, was honoured for her many years of coaching hockey, soccer, baseball and track and field teams in her hometown.