Top local high school athletes feted at Breakfast of Champions

“You can’t understand how to be successful without acknowledging your mistakes and then understanding them,” Mark Shivers, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame, tells young athletes

Some of Orillia’s top high school athletes and student leaders were recognized at this morning’s Sport Orillia Champions Breakfast.

Athletes from all three Orillia High Schools were recognized for their dedication to the sport and their achievements in various disciplines.

World-class swimmer Mark Shivers, who is inducted into Orillia’s Sports Hall of Fame during a sold-out gala Saturday night at Hawk Ridge Golf Club, was the guest speaker at the event.

He encouraged young athletes to persevere in their athletic journeys.

“Embrace your flaws,” he said. “You cannot understand how you can be successful without accepting your mistakes and then understanding them.”

Shivers reminded athletes to stop along the way to “smell the roses” and revel in their youth and savor every experience.

“Your athletic journey goes by quickly,” he said. “Enjoy the bonds you will form and the places you will visit, and remember to keep a balance in life.”

Each high school in Orillia selected four students to receive awards at the breakfast event at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn and Conference Center.

Orillia Secondary School (OSS) student-athletes Jessie Buck, Emily Moore, Anna Glass and Ben Sweet were among the honorees.

Buck has competed in figure skating, basketball, badminton, track and field, and volleyball. She won a silver medal in an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) discus tournament and was national champion in both discus and javelin.

Moore played a variety of sports during her high school career, including flag football, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. Outside of school, she was awarded the Ontario Volleyball Association’s Award of Excellence as an U15 and U17 athlete.

Glass is a multi-athlete who has competed in volleyball, basketball, badminton, lacrosse, and ultimate frisbee. During her athletic career at OSS, she has received multiple MVP honors and helped teams win multiple championships. Most notably, she was a member of the OSS senior girls’ basketball team, which won a silver medal at OFSAA in the 10th grade.

Sweet is a high performance cyclist who travels internationally to compete. He has finished in the top 10 at 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 students honored today at Twin Lakes Secondary School (TLSS).

Noble is a multi-sport athlete at TLSS. She is the captain of the Simcoe County Athletic Association (SCAA) college flag football championship team. Her primary sports include volleyball, where she is the center and captain of the school team that won a SCAA junior championship, and slo-pitch, where she was named rookie of the year in 9th grade.

Corston is the captain of the TLSS senior volleyball and basketball teams, which won the SCAA championship this year. He also plays ultimate frisbee and mixed volleyball.

Courtney’s success didn’t come immediately in 9th grade, but the 12th grader’s work ethic and drive has led him to 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 last season. Courtney also competed in track and field this year, qualifying for the OFSAA Regionals in the high and long jump.

Waite was a key part of the SCAA and Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) championship basketball team. She finished in the top three in SCAA cross country league races, was the winner of junior women’s Nordic skiing races, and was a member of the SCAA volleyball roster. Waite is also an accomplished mountain biker, discus thrower and shot put athlete, Corry explained.

Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School (PF) honored Whyatt Winkel, Jhett Winkel, Peyton Landon and Kennedy Clarke.

The Angle Twins are known at school for being personable, welcoming, and easy to get along with, teacher Curtis Columbus said. The duo were co-captains of the boys’ hockey team and were instrumental in the team winning a GBSSA championship. They are also co-captains of the school volleyball team.

Landon is invaluable to PF on and off the basketball court, Columbus said. She is a peer supporter in the basketball class taught at school and is always willing to help with game day operations at school sporting events.

Clarke is another basketball star at PF and one of the leaders of the volleyball team, Columbus explained, adding that Clarke is a player who leads by example and is always last in practice.

The Breakfast of Champions is held annually on the Thursday before the Orillia Gymnasium Hall of Fame induction to recognize the achievements of local student athletes.

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