Campus Life

Rizos recognized by Canada West

Mackenzie Rizos has become a well-known name around the University of Lethbridge campus by taking the term "student-athlete" to heart.

Rizos, the Pronghorns women's hockey team goaltender, earned a pair of honours this week and has been nominated for a national award thanks to her all-around ability. Named a second-team Canada West All-star for her on-ice performance this past season, the Calgary native is also the Canada West nominee for the Marion Hilliard student-athlete award.

"Mackenzie is a hard working student-athlete that strives to excel in her studies as well as in her sport," says Pronghorns head coach Chandy Kaip. "She is always asking questions and finding new ways to succeed on and off the ice. I look forward to her next three years, she will be a top contender each year for student-athlete as well as top goaltender in the Canada West."

Since her arrival at the U of L, Rizos, a second-year pre-management student, has been the consummate student-athlete. In three semesters she has a cumulative grade point average of 3.53 and was an Academic All-Canadian as a freshman. She was also the recipient of a Board of Governors Entrance Scholarship as well as a Jason Lang Scholarship Recipient, the post-secondary institute's nomination award for academic excellence.

She says her hard work in the classroom is matched by a willingness from University professors to be flexible with an athletes' unique needs.

"The profs here are really supportive. They find out you're a student-athlete and they try and make any accommodations for you that they can," she says. "Whether you are missing classes or tests, they've all been very helpful."

On the ice, Mackenzie has been a stalwart between the pipes and despite the Pronghorns missing the playoffs, earned Canada West Second Team All-Star status. She made 21 appearances for the Pronghorns this season and had a save percentage of .891.

Rizos also organized Mackenzie's Bike Across Canada for Cancer, in which she biked the equivalent distance from Victoria, B.C. to St. John's, Nfld., raising awareness and donations. Rizos helps out at numerous hockey camps and participates in the youth hockey day in Coaldale for youth recreational hockey.

Rizos is now a finalist for the national student-athlete award. Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) will hand out the award at the 2009 national women's hockey championship, hosted by St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., Mar. 19-22.