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Four engineering students received Silver T awards for outstanding athletic performance (Photo courtesy Jing Ling Kao-Beserve).

When it comes to solving complex problems, some of U of T’s engineering students take it from the classroom to the playing field.

At the ninth annual President’s Reception on March 28, four engineering students – Frank Despond (MechE 1T5), Mario Kovacevic (MechE 1T2, IBBME MASc 1T4), Veljko Lukovic (EngSci 1T3) and Corey Wright (MinE 1T5) – were awarded Silver T awards, a prestigious honour given for outstanding athletic performance in their graduating year.

At this year’s event, President Meric Gertler presented 23 Varsity Blues athletes with the award. Founded in 2006 by former president David Naylor, the reception celebrates athletic excellence at the University.

U of T Engineering’s Silver Ts

A 2013–2014 team co-captain, Frank Despond has been a member of five OUA and two CIS championship teams. He is a four-time OUA all-star and three-time CIS all-Canadian, having won three provincial and two national individual titles. Despond won the 400 freestyle at the OUA championships in both 2012 and 2014, while earning gold in the 200 freestyle in 2013. At the national level, he is a two-time 400 freestyle gold medalist and capped off his five-year career with a silver medal in that event. Despond also competed at the 2013 FISU Games in Kazan, Russia.

A three-time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star, Mario Kovacevic has led the Varsity Blues men’s soccer team in scoring for the past three seasons. He was a member of the 2010 OUA championship team in his rookie season, and he helped the Blues to a silver-medal finish in 2011. Kovacevic represented Canada at the 2013 FISU Games in Kazan, Russia, and ends his four-year career with 29 goals in 48 regular season games.

Veljko Lukovic rejoined the Blues in 2011 after playing a single season in 2009. Since then, the native of Belgrade, Serbia, has been an integral member of Toronto’s midfield, amassing seven goals in 28 games. Lukovic was recognized as an OUA East second team all-star in 2013 after ranking second on the team with four goals.

Fourth-year defenceman Corey Wright has led Toronto’s men’s lacrosse team to four consecutive playoff berths. Wright is a three-time Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association all-Canadian and ends his four-year career with 16 goals and 16 assists in 44 regular season games.

Male Rookie of the Year

The week rounded out with another celebration of sports achievement at U of T with the annual athletic banquet awards. Football lineman and first-year engineering student Danny Sprukulis (MechE 1T7) took home the Varsity Blues prestigious male rookie of the year award.

Sprukulis was the only first-year athlete to start on the Toronto Varsity Blues football offensive line this season. He and the Blues offence ranked fifth in the OUA with 420 yards per game and were a vital part of U of T’s run and pass protection. He was named a member of the OUA all-rookie team in helping the Blues to their best team finish since the 1993 Yates- and Vanier Cup-winning season.

“It’s difficult balancing both engineering and football,” he said, when asked about playing high-level sports and navigating the challenging engineering curriculum. “Education always comes first with me…[but my] coaches and I work together, so that there are as few conflicts as possible, and I can try my best in both areas.”

Faculty Registrar Barbara McCann—an avid tennis player and runner who understands the benefits of sport—applauded the achievements of U of T Engineering’s varsity athletes. “I appreciate our varsity athletes’ efforts to excel in both their sports and demanding engineering programs.”

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