Some of Orillia’s top high school athletes and student leaders were recognized this morning at Sport Orillia’s Breakfast of Champions.
Athletes from all three Orillia high schools were honoured for their dedication to sport and achievements in various sports.
World-class swimmer Mark Shivers, who will be inducted into Orillia’s Sports Hall of Fame as part of a sold-out gala Saturday night at Hawk Ridge Golf Club, was the guest speaker at the event.
He encouraged the young athletes to be persistent on their sports journeys.
“Embrace your failures,” he said. “You cannot understand how to succeed without accepting and then understanding your failures.”
Shivers reminded athletes to stop along the way to “smell the roses” and to revel in their youth and enjoy each experience.
“Your athletic journey goes by quickly,” he said. “Enjoy the bonds you will make and the places you will visit, and remember to keep a life balance.”
Each Orillia high school selected four students to be recognized at the breakfast event at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn and Conference Centre.
Orillia Secondary School (OSS) student athletes Jessie Buck, Emily Moore, Anna Glass and Ben Sweet were among those honoured.
Buck has participated in figure skating, basketball, badminton, track and field, and volleyball. She earned a silver medal at an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) tournament in discus and has been a national champion in both discus and javelin.
Moore has played a variety of sports throughout her high school career including flag football, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee. Outside of school, she earned the Ontario Volleyball Association’s Award of Excellence as a U15 and U17 athlete.
Glass is a multi-sport athlete who has participated in volleyball, basketball, badminton, lacrosse, and ultimate Frisbee. She has been awarded several MVP honours during her athletic journey at OSS and has helped teams to several championships. Most notably, she was on the OSS senior girls’ basketball team that won a silver medal at OFSAA when she was in Grade 10.
Sweet is a high-performance cycling athlete who travels internationally to competitions. He has finished in the top 10 in national championships and Canada Cups. He hopes to make Team Canada and compete in the world championships.
Kayleigh Noble, Spencer Corston, Zach Courtney and Elle Waite were the Twin Lakes Secondary School (TLSS) students honoured today.
Noble is a multi-sport athlete at TLSS. She is the captain of the varsity flag football Simcoe County Athletic Assocition (SCAA) championship team. Her main sports include volleyball, where she is the centre and captain for the school squad that captured a junior SCAA championship, and slo-pitch, in which she was named rookie of the year in Grade 9.
Corston is the captain of the TLSS senior volleyball and basketball teams that won the SCAA championship this year. He also plays ultimate Frisbee and co-ed volleyball.
For Courtney, success didn’t come right away in Grade 9, but due to his work ethic and drive, the Grade 12B student has carved out an impressive high school career, noted TLSS teacher Andrew Corry.
He said Courtney was an important part of the SCAA championship volleyball and basketball teams this past season. Courtney also competed in track and field this year, qualifying for OFSAA regionals in high jump and long jump.
Waite was a key part of the SCAA and Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) championship basketball team. She finished top three in SCAA cross-country league races, was the winner of junior girls’ races in Nordic skiing, and was on the SCAA championship volleyball squad. Waite is also an accomplished mountain biker, discus thrower, and shot-put athlete, Corry explained.
From Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School (PF), Whyatt Winkel, Jhett Winkel, Peyton Landon and Kennedy Clarke were recognized.
The Winkel twins are known around school for being personable, welcoming and easy to get along with, said teacher Curtis Columbus. The duo co-captained the boys’ hockey team and were instrumental in helping the team capture a GBSSA championship. They are also co-captains of the school volleyball team.
Landon is an invaluable asset to PF on and off the basketball court, said Columbus. She is a peer helper in the basketball course taught at the school and is always willing to help with game-day operations for school sporting events.
Clarke is another basketball star at PF and is one of the leaders of the volleyball team, Columbus explained, adding Clarke is a “lead-by-example” kind of player who is always the last one at practice.
The Breakfast of Champions, sponsored by Lake Country Animal Hospital, is annually held on the Thursday before the Orillia’s Sports Hall of Fame inductions in an effort to recognize the accomplishments of local student athletes.