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Friday, May. 24, 2019
Twice the drama for award winning high school teams
by Randy Pascal

Many in attendance were not sure what exactly to make of the tail-end of the presentations at the 49th Annual Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Dinner recently.

After first announcing that the Marymount Regals flag football team would receive the Dr Fred W Sheridan award as "High School team of the Year", organizers corrected themselves, handing over the plaque to the Lo-Ellen Park Knights nordic ski team.

Thankfully for all involved, the Regals had already been designated to receive the inaugural "Team of the Decade" hardware, leaving everyone reasonably satisfied in the end.

"When we first won the award, I wanted to cry - I was so happy," stated Marymount offensive lineman Kayla Yitts. "And then they said it wasn't for us and I wanted to throw up. "Then they said we were the Team of the Decade, so that was really cool."

In racking up their sixth consecutive city championship, the flag football Regals boasted some of the very same attributes as the teams that came before them. "We act as a family, we move together, we all work together," said Yitts.

"It's different than any other sport at our school. On offense, we were in sync. We didn't have any drama, we all just got along." A member of that same team, Allison Byrnes bolted from her grade 12 graduation to the Caruso Club, arriving just in team to be named the "High School Female Athlete of the Year".

A true multi-sport athlete, Byrnes noted a distinction in the way she approached a few of her sporting pursuits at Marymount. "I kind of classify it as differences between individual sports and team sports," she said.

"I grew up playing team sports, Sudburnia soccer, competitive soccer. I came to Marymount and started doing track and field, and that was completely different, being out there on my own."

As for the Lo-Ellen ski contingent, they were anything but "out there on their own", displaying a team spirit that was evident through each and every picture that was snapped at the NOSSA championships locally, or OFSAA in Timmins this past winter.

"Most of the kids that we started with this year are all cross country rnners," noted veteran Allison Caswell. "They really like endurance sports, so we kind of promoted nordic as great cross training. We had a lot of fun together."

Still, there is much than just assembling a bunch of athletes with great cardio when it comes to putting together one of the top high school nordic ski programs in the province.

"There's some pretty basic things with skiing that, as long as you get them down, you're going to be pretty good," said Caswell. "And we had a lot of really fast learners. They picked up on it way faster than I did in grade nine."

"Kendyn Mashinter," exclaimed fellow grade 12 Knight Kate Richards. "He didn't even know how to ski starting off the year. He did amazing. Max Mahaffy too - and all of the junior girls, they did incredible."

"It's just really neat the see them starting from not knowing anything about skiing, and at the of OFSAA, they were so good." Both Caswell and Richards are off to the University of Guelph in the fall, the former studying Wildlife Biology and Conservation, the latter enrolled in Environmental Biology, and both looking to remain in nordic ski.

Male Athlete of the Year Dylan Terris has a much longer trek in store. A key cog on OFSAA representative teams in both volleyball and basketball, the senior at Lasalle Secondary, who heads off to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in the fall, acknowledged that he did look at both teams a little differently.

"In volleyball, I feel like I have a little bit of a bigger role," he said. "In volleyball, my partner, Tyrus Cuculick, we played a lot together, we're really close to each other. In basketball, the show is Noah (LaPierre)."

"I impacted a lot there, but not as much as volleyball." Through it all, however, the biggest impact on his development as an athlete would actually come right in his own backyard.

"My olfer brother Shawn, for sure," Terris acknowledged. "He's had me playing basketball since I was four. I've been playing outside with him my whole life. He was a shooting guard, I'm more of a point guard. But he didn't like volleyball very much at all."

Rounding out the list of award winners were:

Import Athlete of the Year
Kadre Gray - Laurentian Voyageurs men's basketball

Professional Athlete of the Year
Nick Foligno - Columbus Blue Jackets

Amateur Male Athlete of the Year
Connor Vande Weghe - Laurentian Voyageurs men's soccer

Coach of the Year
Patti Kitler - Para-Nordic skiing

Team of the Year
Krysta Burns rink - Laurentian Voyageurs women's curling
Megan Smith, Sara Guy, Laura Masters, Ryan Lafraniere (coach)

Bill Roman Administration Award
Marisue James - Sudbury Playground Hockey League
Sudbury Youth Basketball League

Elite Athlete of the Year
Collin Cameron - Para-Nordic skiing

Amateur Female Athlete of the Year
Jenna Hellstrom - Kent State Golden Flashes
Women's Soccer

Hall of Fame inductees for the Class of 2017 included Bill McKetsy, Mary Waddell, Bob Rogers, Mario Anselmo, Pat Pickard, Mike Derks, Ron Didone, Andy Barbe and the 1999-2000 Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats team.

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