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Meagan Cornelssen Named DHT Female Athlete of the Year

Meagan Cornelssen’s 2008 was a lot like her 2007.

Both years she medaled with Team Alberta at baseball nationals, represented Alberta for hockey and played with the female midget AAA Storm.

Those accomplishments alone would rank Cornelssen as one of the top junior athletes in Grande Prairie.

The fact that she added being a key member of Canada’s silver-winning team at the Women’s Baseball World Cup to her list of accomplishments makes her a more than worthy selection as Grande Prairie’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2008.

“I didn’t expect it. I didn’t even know you guys had this,” she said. “I’ve had female athlete of the year at school, but this, for the city, is kind of cool.”

Cornelssen earned a spot on Team Canada after a strong performance with Team Alberta at nationals in Cape Breton, N.S. She was given the news during the medal ceremony after leading Alberta to a bronze medal with an 11-6 win over Quebec.

She knew being named to Team Canada was a possibility heading into the tournament, but it wasn’t something she was expecting.

“I didn’t want to think about it because I’d be more nervous when I was in Nationals. If that was all I thought about it would have affected my game. I kind of just lived in the moment,” she said.

Cornelssen made the most of her time with the national team in Japan as well.

“It was definitely an honour. Playing with the best girls in Canada was awesome,” she said.

“I made lots of new friends, not just in my age group because it was 17 and up. It was just a great experience.”

Cornelssen was the second youngest, and one of only three 17-year-olds, on the team.

Don’t think because she was young that she spent her time in the dugout watching her more experienced teammates.

Cornelssen played a pivotal role as the starting left fielder and rotated between the five and six spots in the lineup. She repaid her coaches for their confidence by batting .294 and stealing four bases – one behind the tournament leader.

Cornelssen’s highlight of the tournament shows how important she was to the team making it to the finals – a first for either the men or women’s national team at a Baseball World Cup.

“It was probably tying the game against U.S.A. and then us going on to win that game to go into the semi-finals,” she said.

With Canada down one run, Cornelssen started the seventh and final inning with a single. She stole second before reaching home on a Stephanie Savoie single.

Canada won the game, 7-6 and beat Australia by an identical score in the semis before losing to the host-country, Japan, 11-3 in the finals.

Cornelssen was able to take plenty out of the experience despite not taking home a gold medal.

“There were some girls who were on their fourth run for that team,” she said.

“Their experience through the whole thing taught me some stuff, and just little fundamental things. I learned a lot.”

Even though the local teams she plays on compete at a lower level, Cornelssen brings the same attitude to every game she did as a member of Team Canada.

“Meagan is a workhorse,” said Storm coach Guy Anthony. “I have yet to see her play against anyone in our major midget league that can manhandle her. She out-muscles everyone she plays against whether they’re bigger or smaller. A lot of that has to do with her attitude that she won’t be beaten.”

Cornelssen’s strength of character has led to her being looked at as a leader with the Storm. She was named team captain and was listed as the best player they’ve ever played with by eight of 12 teammates who took a team survey.

“She is looked upon in the room as the girl who takes the team on her shoulders,” Anthony said.

“That’s what they expect her to do and that’s what she attempts to do. She attempts to be everything she can be for her team.”

Cornelssen leads the team in scoring to this point in the 2008-2009 season, with 20 points, including 10 goals.

She has already left her stamp on 2009, less than a week into the New Year.

Cornelssen was named top forward for the North after scoring a goal and an assist during the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League all-star game, Jan. 4.

“It was fun. I got two points and I got top forward for the North,” she said. “It was a good experience.”

With more than 11 months remaining in 2009, Cornelssen is looking to spend the rest of the year adding to her already impressive resume.

“I definitely want to make the national team again for baseball,” she said. “Maybe decide where I want to go to school. Those are my two main goals.”