The latest accolade for Shanelle Rioux on the football field will see her attend a festival during the Grey Cup in Calgary in November.
Rioux, who is entering her final year with the Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) Elecs football team, was one of the first 10 athletes selected in a Canada-wide search to join the 2019 All-Canadian TITAN team.
She will meet and train with her peers, CFL players, and alumni during the 107th Grey Cup festivities.
Her selection is part of the Nissan Kickoff Project, which aims to showcase Canada’s most notable high school football players who not only shine on the field, but also off it.
Mark Schott, who is the head coach of the ECS football team, nominated her for the distinction.
Rioux was the only Saskatchewan athlete selected among the first 10 players chosen, and was the only female player chosen, too.
“I respect the boys a lot. I look up to them. So to be able to excel and show my skill as well is a nice feeling, to show them that I can make these high-level boys teams,” said Rioux.
She admits she was surprised to see she was the only one chosen from Saskatchewan, because there is a lot of football talent in this province. She believes there are a lot of worthy candidates on the Elecs.
“They are excelling in places like the (Sask.) Selects and Team Sask., and so it definitely is a nice feeling considering they are my competition.”
A couple other female players from Saskatchewan were nominated in the opening round for the TITAN team, and Rioux has had a chance to speak with them previously.
A total of 70 high school athletes from across the country will be chosen for the TITAN team.
“Often the only female player on her teams, Shanelle does an excellent job balancing football, school and work,” stated a news release for the TITAN program.
They also pointed out her skill level and physical play were noticed by representatives from the Regina Riot of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, and earned her a position on the tackle team for the 2019 season. She has played almost every position on offence, defence and specials teams, including quarterback, at the high school level.
The athletes chosen for the TITAN team will get to play in an exhibition game during Grey Cup week.
“It will definitely help a lot for my Riot season. I wish it would be before my high school season, for sure, just to get a little bit more knowledge before that starts up, but I’m definitely excited to see what I can use with the Riot.”
And she is looking forward to attending the Grey Cup festivities for the first time.
In May and June, early bird nominations opened for players, coaches, family and friends to nominate a high school football athlete as a leader on their team, in the classroom and throughout their community.
The student athletes selected for the All-Canadian TITAN team have been recognized for exemplifying the following TITAN values: toughness, innovation, tenacity, ambition and notability.
The nomination period for the 2019 All-Canadian TITAN team will remain open until October, in which self-nominations or nominating a high school football player in a community is encouraged.