General Amherst High School

Use of Centennial Park being allowed again in 2019

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There will be action at Centennial Park again this summer sports season, but questions still linger over what happens beyond 2019.

Town council received official notification from the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) at the Feb. 25 meeting that the 15 acres of the park it bought to construct a new public high school on can be used again this year.

“Further to our initial discussions and negotiations on this topic, the Greater Essex County District School Board is pleased to have formalized with the Town of Amherstburg the utilization of the Board’s 15-acre land, formerly Centennial Park Property, until September 7, 2019, the first weekend after Labour Day Weekend,” board planner Bryan Pearce wrote. “Please be advised that the Greater Essex County District School Board is currently working on the detailed design of the new dual campus high school and construction on the property will not occur until at least September 2019. The Greater Essex County District School Board is pleased that the Town of Amherstburg would like to continue to utilize the property until Labour Day weekend for continued recreational programming, consistent with the arrangement last year.”

That news was positive for Mary Lippert, the president of the Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association (AMBA).

“We’re pretty excited. We’ll see how it goes,” said Lippert.

Lippert said 2019 will be “business as usual” for minor baseball but wonders what will happen beyond that.

“We’re still pushing the town to build new diamonds,” she said.

AMBA will participate in the Libro Centre Master Plan process this year, Lippert noted, as “any time we can move forward with youth sports in Amherstburg, we’ll be on board with that.” She hopes that diamonds will be constructed for the 2020 baseball season.

Lippert said the town contacted her last week about the ability to play at Centennial Park this year and, while happy to get the news, she added they had been trying to get answers since September to no avail.

“It was a bit frustrating,” she said.

The Greater Essex County District School Board is building the new public high school on the southern 15 acres of Centennial Park (blue shaded area).
(Image courtesy of www.publicboard.ca)

AMBA is trying to stay positive, Lippert added, and she just hopes diamonds are constructed somewhere in town so the youth in town have a place to play baseball. AMBA uses diamonds seven days per week and she noted other user groups use other parks in town.

“We just want our kids to have some place to play,” she said. “Hopefully sooner rather than later the town can have a plan together and put it in place.”

Lippert said AMBA is waiving its late fees and registration has been extended through April 1. People can register at www.amherstburgcardinals.com.

Local swimmers still have questions, however. Yvette Erickson, who along with fellow parent Tiffany Cote, have been pressing the town for a pool, said she hasn’t heard anything official yet from the town. Erickson said she read online about the additional year but, as of Saturday afternoon, had yet to hear anything from the town. She was unsure of plans for 2019 as she did not know the condition of the Lions Pool and whether anything had been removed in terms of plumbing or filtration.

A message had been sent to council members, Erickson added, and she said she was told to be patient.

“No one has been in contact with us telling us it’s a go,” she said. “No one has been very forward with what exactly is going on.”

Erickson said “it would be fantastic if we get one more summer” at the Lions Pool, but added they would like direction one way or another so that swimmers and their parents can make future plans.

“It’d be nice to know if kids are going to have to go somewhere to swim or whether they can stay in town,” she said, noting her back-up plans are either to go to LaSalle or Harrow.

While swimmers are still in limbo, Erickson said they have been told there are options for swimming but they have heard nothing further.

“They just kept telling us there are options,” she said. “No one has given us options.”

The town did discuss potentially opening the Lions Pool during recent budget deliberations with administration telling council that it would cost approximately $78,500 in staffing, upgrades, repairs and insurance costs to re-open the pool in 2019. Councillor Michael Prue asked if the town could forgo some of of the costs, such as painting, but administration told him that much of those repairs aren’t for cosmetic purposes but rather to satisfy board of health regulations.

“The pool is in such a state that you have to paint it,” said manager of operations Sandy Lindsay.

Manager of recreation services Rick Daly said there were 912 individual users of the pool last year and estimated $11,000 in fees could be generated to offset some of the costs.

“There is another possibility we are exploring,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, during the deliberations.

Erickson said she and others are willing to step up and volunteer to do some of the work if it means keeping the pool open another season.

Two General Amherst wrestlers now competing at OFSAA

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After finishing first and second in the 44kg weight class at SWOSSAA, a pair of wrestlers from General Amherst High School are now wrestling on the provincial stage.

Myah Trymbulak and Katie McEvoy are representing their school in OFSAA and trying to bring home some hardware. For Trymbulak, she admitted there is some pressure as well as she finished second last year in Windsor and she wants to at least match, if not beat that standard.

“I obviously want to finish first,” she said. “I feel I put in a lot of work and have a shot at it if I work my hardest.”

Myah Trymbulak stands atop the podium at SWOSSAA with Katie McEvoy on the right with her silver medal.

Trymbulak, a Grade 11 student, said she was excited to go to OFSAA again, with this year’s meet being in Ottawa, with McEvoy stating she is excited also.

For McEvoy, it is her third year going to OFSAA and she hopes to finish in the top six. It is also her last high school wrestling meet as she is in Grade 12.

“It’s kind of sad to give it up,” said McEvoy.

Trymbulak said they knew they had a shot at OFSAA and McEvoy said they know some of the competition at OFSAA including a girl from northern Ontario that has beaten them both. They may even have to face each other.

“Wrestling each other definitely sucks because we’ve been partners for so long,” said Trymbulak.

McEvoy and Trymbulak are the only two members of the General Amherst wrestling team left standing and they practice at Sandwich Secondary School with another wrestler they work with being Angelina Papia. They practice five nights per week until 5 p.m. and then work with the Windsor Wrestling Club two nights per week as well.

Katie McEvoy and Myah Trymbulak flex for the cameras.

Trymbulak said they stuck with that schedule in preparation for OFSAA.

“There’s not much more we can do,” said Trymbulak.

Both love the aggressiveness of wrestling and the fact it is an all-contact sport. McEvoy said there are still not as many female competitors in the sport so “I think it’s good to break barriers.”

Rodney Levesque, the teacher/coach of the General Amherst wrestling team, said there will be over 900 competitors at OFSAA and 31 weight classes. Both wrestlers thanked him for his efforts as well as everyone else who helped them get to where they are. The wrestling season lasts from November-March.

Lady Gens capture SWOSSAA “AA” volleyball championship

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens were already going to the OFSAA “AA” championships as the host team, but have now earned the right to be there based on their play.

The Lady Gens won the SWOSSAA “AA” title last Friday night on their home court, thus solidifying their position as a provincial-calibre senior girls volleyball team. However, they made things dramatic for themselves and their fans as they needed five sets to defeat the visiting Chatham John McGregor Panthers. The match was almost a reversal of the previous week’s WECSSAA title win over Essex, as it was the Lady Gens who won the first two sets before losing the next two. General Amherst was able to rally and win the decisive fifth set to claim the title.

The scores were 25-12, 25-20, 18-25, 22-25 and 15-5.

“It’s awesome. We’re really excited,” said Emma MacVoy.

The General Amherst Lady Gens captured the SWOSSAA “AA” title with a five-set win over Chatham John McGregor last Friday night. Bottom row, from left: Lexi Dodds, Elyssa Grondin, Abby Orchard, Lizzy Homeniuk-Smith, Emma MacVoy. Top row, from left: coach Jeff Miller, Danielle Brindley, Allison Dufour, Brynlee Ammonite, Emery Lucier, Ramie Tytgat, Vanessa Pidutti and coach Mary Ewer.

MacVoy said they thought they would win and thought they had a chance to win in three straight games. They were a bit caught off-guard but John McGregor’s comeback in the third and fourth games but rebounded in the fifth and final set.

“We shook up the lineup a bit,” said MacVoy. “It was definitely fun.”

The Lady Gens got down on themselves in the third and fourth sets, she added, but were able to rebound.

“We were just thinking ‘why do we do this to ourselves?’” she said. “Why not pound the ball and get it in there?”

MacVoy added that “it was awesome to prove we deserve to be at OFSAA. We earned our spot. We worked our butts off, practicing every day even on snow days.”

Assistant coach Mary Ewer said they played well in the first set and were fine in the second but the “blocks were non-existent” in the third and fourth sets.

“Everything was the opposite of the first two games,” said Ewer.

The Lady Gens played hard in the fifth game and were able to win it.

Emma MacVoy (2) spikes the ball over the net during the SWOSSAA “AA” final at General Amherst Feb. 22.

“Near the end, we served tough,” said Ewer.

Head coach Jeff Miller said they played great in the first set but “struggled in the second set and got through it.”

“Realistically, I thought John McGregor outplayed us most of the second, third and fourth sets. We were fortunate to come out on top in the second set,” he said.

The serving was going well early, he added, but that was problematic in the middle of the match.

“We could never sustain momentum because we were making service errors,” he said. “In the fifth game, the kids did a good job resetting and going back to basics. We made good plays and forced (John McGregor) into errors.”

The field is not quite set for OFSAA but 20 teams from around Ontario will be playing matches at both General Amherst High School and the St. Clair College Sportsplex. Miller said there are about 50-60 kids from General Amherst volunteering and sponsorships are going OK. Individuals and businesses looking to sponsor the tournament or be part of the tournament brochure can contact Miller at 519-736-2149 or jeff.miller@publicboard.ca. People can also send inquiries to kieth_ewer@hotmail.com or call 226-350-5900. Cheques are payable to General Amherst High School.

Allison Dufour (12) and Brynlee Ammonite (1) go up for a block at the net.

OFSAA starts March 3 with the banquet with matches running March 4-6. The final matches will be in Amherstburg.

Tickets are $20 for an adult tournament pass, $10 for a student tournament pass, $10 for an adult day pass and $5 for a student day pass. Children under 13 are free.

Matches will also be streamed on YouTube by following 2019 OFSAAVB GAHS Court or 2019 OFSAAVB St. Clair Court.

To see more photos from the SWOSSAA “AA” title game, visit our Facebook photo album.

Bulldogs ousted in jr. boys basketball quarterfinals

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs junior boys basketball team advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” playoff quarterfinals, but could get no further.

The Bulldogs were defeated 50-36 at Riverside and thus were eliminated from the playoffs. They made it to the quarterfinals thanks to beating Tecumseh Vista Academy 38-27 48 hours earlier.

Head coach Ben Pelger said they were matched up against a Tier 1 opponent in the Riverside Rebels, with General Amherst being a Tier 2 opponent.

“They fought hard until the end,” said Pelger. “They had a really good regular season with an 8-4 record. It’s really promising for next year.”

The General Amherst Bulldogs junior boys basketball team were eliminated from the WECSSAA playoffs last week. (Submitted photo)

Pelger said the junior Bulldogs learned something every game and played well as a team, particularly the last two games. He was also thankful for the support of the senior boys team and coaches Frank Palumbo and Alex Temesy.

“The parents were always of great support,” he said.

Pelger also thanked the students who served as the scorers as well as the players themselves from both the junior and senior teams “for their hard work, dedication and sportsmanship.”

Four students from the junior team are eligible to move up to the senior team next season, Pelger added.

“They’ll have a really strong group for next year,” he predicted.

General Amherst High School hosts “Girls in Trades” events

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

In an effort to get more female students interested in trades, General Amherst High School has been hosting Grade 8 classes to expose them to those programs at the school.

Students from Amherstburg Public School, Malden Central Public School and Anderdon Public School rotated between four different classrooms recently with Anderdon students being the most recent, having visited General Amherst last Thursday.

While both boys and girls attended, the idea was to get more students including girls to consider a career in trades. General Amherst was able to hold such an event this year thanks to provincial grant funding, said technical studies department head Rodney Levesque.

“We’re trying to expose them to things they haven’t been exposed to through trades and technology,” said Levesque.

Matelyn Levy (left), a Grade 8 student at Anderdon Public School, tries her hand at taking off a tire last Thursday. Keeping a watchful eye is General Amherst student Austin Farmer.

Students rotated between the machine shop, auto shop, communications technology and the technological design lab and got a glimpse of what each has to offer. Levesque said “it is important to expose girls to trades”

Levesque added: “A lot of them are being exposed to things they’ve never used before.”

Halle Higgins, a Grade 11 automotive student at General Amherst, encouraged the students to stay involved. Higgins said she grew up around an automotive environment and said she enjoys taking part in the class.

“I like this class because there is a lot of hands-on work,” said Higgins.

Levesque added that some students earn $30,000 while working part-time in local shops and that he often doesn’t have enough students to send to shops that call him.

“This is a good opportunity to expose students to the trades and a viable career,” said Levesque.