Treherne Collegiate was home to not just one but both the male and female MHSAA Athlete of the Year award winners for the 'A' Division.

Kindal DeGraeve was the female award winner and participated in a variety of different sports, from track & field to volleyball. She says it came as quite a shock when she found out this award was going to be hers.

"My parents kind of kept me in the dark. They said I had been nominated but it wasn't until I got there that I started to put together the pieces. I was the only single A girl there and I kind of figured out that I was going to be the winner," DeGraeve explains. "Words can't describe the feeling, I was just over the moon. I put in so much work to get where I am, and to get something for that is unbelievable."

She describes the event as amazing, noting being honoured with so many great athletes in attendance made everything even more meaningful.

DeGraeve was the team captain of both her volleyball and basketball teams (led the basketball team in points and rebounds), and took part in cross-country, fastpitch, and track and field in her senior year. Outside of Treherne Collegiate, she is playing for the AA Central Energy and was a part of the U18 Pembina Valley Rockets hockey team.

Kindal DeGraeve playing softballKindal DeGraeve.

The all-around athlete says basketball and volleyball were her two favourite sports in high school. She adds they really brought her out of her shell.

"To be one of the older girls on the team and to be able to share what I've learned throughout my years in high school sports with the girls that were just starting to learn how to play was so gratifying," says DeGraeve. 

While her leadership skills were definitely improved as a captain, where she was really able to harness that talent was as a coach. DeGraeve played for the varsity girls volleyball team but also was a coach for Treherne's junior varsity squad, which she describes as extremely rewarding.

"When you play with them, you can kind of see the growth and notice them getting better throughout the year but when you're actually coaching and helping them learn, it's unbelievable. I had such a good time and will miss coaching those girls. They were so much fun," DeGraeve continues. "While we were supporting them, they were supporting us being the coaches as they knew it was our first year. They listened so well, worked so hard, and pushed themselves. That helped me push myself."

DeGraeve coached these girls but also played alongside many of them, as many of those players were called up to their varsity squad throughout the season. She says it was so cool to be able to see the young athletes' development in two different scenarios. She says winning as a coach is even more satisfying than winning as a player.

"I love winning as a player, it's a part of my nature since I'm a very competitive person. But when you're able to see the smiles on the girls' faces when they're finally able to overcome a team they've been struggling with all year, the feeling is indescribable," DeGraeve explains. "My cousin was on the team, and she would talk to me after games. The way she would talk after a win just made my heart melt because I was so happy I could be able to help get them there."

While she is moving on from volleyball, for the time being, DeGraeve will still be involved in athletics going forward.

"I'm actually going to Dakota College at Bottineau to play hockey. I played hockey out of Holland, and we were fortunate enough to have three girls on our team get scouted at provincials," says DeGraeve. "All three of us are going down to play together, and it's going to be a great opportunity for all of us. We still get to continue playing together, while also furthering our hockey career and education."

DeGraeve notes there couldn't have been a better way to put a cap on her high school experience.

Kindal DeGraeve running track.Kindal DeGraeve running track.