golf

Amherstburg residents among Lajeunesse students getting athletic scholarships

 

 

By Ron Giofu and Christian Bouchard

 

A recent signing ceremony at École E.J. Lajeunesse secondary school celebrated the athletic scholarships of three of its athletes, two of which are from Amherstburg.

McGregor native Luc Warnock has verbally committed to play Division 1 golf for Northern Illinois University beginning August of 2020. The 17-year-old has been playing golf since the age of 13 and has recently competed in the Canadian Junior Championships after placing third in the Ontario Junior Boys Championship.

The former Amherstburg Admiral is now dedicated to golf and he and his family will move to Florida as he begins adjusting to play golf 365 days a year. His scholarship is a four-year, $120,000 U.S. scholarship that he verbally committed to in September, though the formal signing was in November.

Warnock added how thankful he is especially to his parents for the sacrifices they make every day, so he can try to achieve his dreams.

“It’s tough to pick up my stuff and leave family and friends but I’m in it for the long haul,” said Warnock. “This is one of the best decisions we could have made for my development.”

Warnock is a E.J. Lajeunesse graduate and practices out of the Essex Golf & Country Club. He said his coaches Ryan Robillard and Henry Brunton have been a major key to his development and success. They ingrained in him how difficult it is to play college golf and defeat the misconception that Canadians are just hockey players.

According to Warnock, there is also a misconception that getting a golf scholarship is easy.

The 17-year-old was e-mailing schools such as Oregon State, Central Arkansas, Eastern Michigan and Washington State but none had offered him a scholarship, however none of them had seen him play.

“When I wasn’t as accomplished as I am now, I’d attract the response of ‘our 2019 class is full’,” said Warnock.

Once he started achieving high levels of success, spots quickly opened.

“I received an amazing offer that is great for a freshman and I think it shows how much NIU believes in me,” added Warnock.

According to Warnock, playing in the final group of the Canadian Junior Boys Championship and seeing his name on the leaderboard heightened his expectations and he knows he can help NIU compete for championships.

Northern Illinois played host to the 2017 Division 1 Golf Championship. Warnock said his schedule will consist of tournaments hosted by schools such as Purdue, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and The Ohio State.

Despite his recent success on the golf course, Warnock says it’s the losses that motivate him the most.

Amherstburg was well represented among the three Lajeunesse students that received athletic scholarships recently. From left: Brendyn Fountain (football), Audrey
O’Connor (track) and Luc Warnock (golf).

“The feeling I had that final day of the Canadian Junior is something I will never forget” added Warnock. “The sense of defeat on the 18th green stung for a while. It’s only made me more determined to work hard.”

Warnock received the offer after moving up 2,000 spots in the world ranking. He received a bronze medal at the provincial championship and earned a top 15 ranking at the national championship. He will be pursuing a business degree.

Brendyn Fountain received an athletic scholarship to the University of Windsor to play football. He accepted the offer Nov. 3.

Fountain competed in Calgary this past summer as member of Team Ontario.

“I’m extremely happy,” said Fountain. “All of my hard work paid off.”

Fountain said he was excited to play football for the University of Windsor and hopes to have success with the program close to home. He said when he visited the school, it felt comfortable and he wanted to be part of it.

“I like the environment,” said Fountain. “It felt like home.”

The offensive lineman said he likes to play physically, noting he began his football career in Grade 9 and just completed his fourth season. Being at a smaller high school, he tried numerous sports and liked the challenges that football presented as well as competing out in the fresh air. Giving the sport a try is “what got me here today,” he said.

Fountain will be pursuing a degree in criminology with the hopes of a career in law enforcement. He also hopes to play football for as long as he can, with an eye on possibly trying out for the Canadian Football League (CFL) down the road.

The third student was Audrey O’Connor, who accepted a four-year, $200,000 U.S. track and field scholarship to the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside). Her skills in shot put, hammer throw, discus and weight throw landed her the scholarship, which she accepted Nov. 9.

O’Connor, a graduate of École Monseigneur-Augustin-Caron in LaSalle, made Team Ontario Track & Field in August and is a three-time provincial champion. At the nationals, she placed fourth in shot put and eighth in discus.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

O’Connor said she likes both the individual aspects of competing in track and field but also the support she receives from others on the track and field team. She started competing in Grade 9.

“It’s been such an amazing experience meeting new people,” she said.

UC Riverside’s track and field program appealed to her and O’Connor added the coach was very welcoming to her.

“It felt like home,” said O’Connor, who will major in sports management.

O’Connor added she hopes to compete nationally for Canada at the IAAF U20 meet in Nairobi in 2020.

 

Amherstburg natives inducted into Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a big night for a number of people in the region’s athletic community, including two people with Amherstburg ties.

The Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame officially welcomed seven individuals, one team and one club at their induction ceremony Friday night at the Ciociaro Club. Among the inductees were Dom Silvaggio in the basketball builder category and Cheryll Damphouse in the golf athlete category.

Silvaggio was honoured for his ongoing coaching legacy at General Amherst High School that includes over 600 victories, 26 championships at the local WECSSAA/ECSSAA level, 13 SWOSSAA (southwestern Ontario) championships and ten straight OFSAA medals with the school’s senior basketball team. Of the ten straight OFSAA medals with the Lady Gens, five of them were gold including four straight provincial titles between 2004-07.

Silvaggio also founded the Amherstburg Basketball Club and headed that for 22 years, teaching both boys and girls the fundamentals of the sport.

In his induction video, Silvaggio credited everyone he has ever coached with, noting Dave Scott, Ross Scott and Mike Nedin got him into coaching. He noted he has coached a long time with Greg Scott and Don Parks with his local coaching peers also including Nicole Rusenstrom, Karl Wightman, Frank Palumbo, Vic DiNardo, Jim Belcher, Dale Prisley, John VandeBovenkamp, Tim Dodds, Amy Bondy and Brad Bondy.

The Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame induction class of 2018.

“Coaching with my son was a big deal to me,” said Silvaggio, as his son Stephen shared the General Amherst sidelines with him and is now the head coach of the Kennedy Clippers senior girls team.

Silvaggio, joined by wife Susan as well as his son Stephen and daughter Kim as well as a group of fellow coaches, family members and former players for the ceremony, said in his induction video that “rewards are not easy” and urged that people “don’t take things for granted.” He also credited his parents for instilling in him his work ethic.

“My family has been amazing,” said Silvaggio. “Without their support, I couldn’t have done this.”

Silvaggio told the RTT after the ceremony that “it’s just awesome. To be here with family, friends and former players means a lot.”

Silvaggio added that he received congratulations from parents from other schools as well as other coaches from around the region.

Cheryll Damphouse was one of the 2018 Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

“It’s a special night,” he said.

Silvaggio emphasized that he shares the award with his fellow coaches, including from the elementary and club system.

“They all share a part of it,” he said. “It’s a whole team effort.”

For Damphouse, who was honoured for a golfing career that started as a result of illness when she was in Grade 4. Her talents blossomed as a member of the Kingsville Golf and Country Club as she was club champion nine times and the Essex-Kent District Ladies Champion five times.

Damphouse also won the Ontario Match Play Championship twice and qualified for LPGA tournaments including the DuMaurier Classic, the Lady Stroh’s Tournament and competed in France at the Ladies International Stroke Play Championship. Her biography also notes that she played in the Ladies British Open and was the 1989 Canadian Ladies Amateur Champion.

Domenic Silvaggio (pictured with son Stephen, wife Susan and daughter Kim) was among the honourees at the induction ceremony.

Damphouse was also named twice to the Ontario Senior Ladies’ Provincial team and was a five-time member of the Ontario Ladies Amateur team.

“When I got the call (about being inducted), I was very surprised and very humbled,” she said. “to be inducted with all these wonderful athletes and builders.”

Damphouse added that “it’s quite an honour to be compared to these people I’ve looked up to over the years.”

Noting she didn’t see the honour coming, Damphouse added that anyone who plays sports or who puts their children in sports learns “there is no better environment to grow up in.” The values one learns by learning to compete and to win and lose is important and learned through sports, she said.

Also inducted were Richard Shaw (basketball athlete), J. Paul Reddam (thoroughbred racing builder), Paul Carter (basketball builder), Andy Delmore (hockey athlete) and Don Marrin (wrestling builder). The Tecumseh Baseball Club was also inducted as was the University of Windsor Lancers women’s basketball team from 2011-15. The latter includes Amherstburg’s Korissa Williams, who was unable to attend as she was working Friday night as a member of the Peel Regional Police.

 

Local golfer heading to Alberta for Canadian Jr. Championships

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Golf has been a passion for Luc Warnock and now that passion is taking him to the Canadian Junior Boys Championships.

Warnock, 17, will be competing in the Canadian Junior Boys Championships in Medicine Hat, Alberta July 28-Aug. 2. He earned the trip by finishing third at the Ontario Junior Boys Championships in Kingston July 3-6.

“I’m so excited. I’m really starting to put together some good rounds lately,” the McGregor resident said.

Warnock said his finish at the Ontario Junior Boys Championships gave him confidence and he believes he is playing well.

“I’m so excited to get going and get underway,” he said.

McGregor resident Luc Warnock is heading to the Canadian Junior Boys Championships later this month. Warnock practices out of Essex Golf and Country Club in LaSalle.

Warnock’s third place finish at the Ontario championships has allowed him to represent Team Ontario in an inter-provincial tournament to be held the first two rounds of the Canadian championships. At the Ontario championships, he was eight strokes back of the leader after two rounds, causing him to have to decide whether to be aggressive in the remaining two rounds and go for the lead or whether to stick with his goal of finishing in the top three.

After the third round, he decided a top five finish would be excellent as the top 37 make the Canadian championship however a strong fourth round got him into the top three and the inter-provincial tournament that only the top three make.

In the third round of the Ontario tournament, he scored a hole-in-one on a par four hole.

Warnock said that he will maintain the same practice regiment that he has been using. He tries to get “one per cent better every day” and he is going to continue doing that.

“I’m keeping the same practice plan as before,” he said. “It should lead to great results.”

This will be the second time that Warnock has competed at the Canadian Junior Boys Championships, as he competed last year when the tournament was in Kingston. He said he missed the cut last year but plans on doing much better this year.

“The magnitude of the tournament got to my head (last year),” he admitted. “This year, I know if I execute my game plan, I’ll be able to contend.”

Warnock said he hopes to continue to play golf at the college level and eventually turn pro.

“As long as I don’t plateau somewhere, there’s no reason I can’t follow my dreams and play pro golf,” said Warnock.

Warnock would play with his father on Father’s Day but after his dad put him in a nine-hole tournament that went to a playoff, Warnock said he was hooked. He is now part of the junior golf program at Essex Golf and Country Club in LaSalle and plays “every day, all day” to sharpen his game.

“I was lucky enough to get in this year,” he said of his membership at Essex Golf and Country Club. “I’m so lucky to be able to practice here.”

Warnock, a graduate of E.J. Lajeunesse Secondary School, said he will be taking a year off from school and will be moving to Florida and spend from September to January with coach Henry Brunton. He credits coaches Brunton and Ryan Robillard for helping him with his golf game.

Warnock also thanked his parents for their hard work and dedication so that he can pursue his dream. He said his mother works two jobs while is father works a lot of overtime at his job.

“They do everything they can to give me the opportunity (to reach my dream),” he said.

 

Mission golf tournament raises approximately $6,500

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The organizer of the 11th annual Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission golf tournament is pleased with how this year’s event played out.

“This year, we did really well,” said Winston McAllister. “It was amazing weather and we had great support as always.”

There were 136 golfers this year, McAllister stated.

The tournament was held at Dominion Golf Course in LaSalle.

“We were up 40 golfers from last year’s tournament,” he said. “We had a lot of great support from a lot of great sponsors as they really helped us out.”

McAllister, son of mission board of directors president Tim McAllister, said he couldn’t put a finger on exactly why so many people came out this year, but added they have a good core group of golfers that attend with newcomers joining them.

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Misson’s golf tournament was Saturday at Dominion Golf Course in LaSalle. The winning foursome this year included (from left): Kyle Booker, Jesse Carter, Bruce Bratt and Mark Bondy.

“Hopefully people had fun and continue to come back,” said McAllister, who stated the tournament topped the $6,500 mark.

“Our eleven-year total to date is $62,600,” he said.

All proceeds will go directly back into the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, he added.

“The mission is run 100 per cent by volunteers,” said McAllister. “Whatever their greatest need is, the money will be used to support that.”

McAllister added he thanks all the volunteers, sponsors, golfers and all who supported the July 7 tournament.

“There’s so many people who made this happen,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had with this golf tournament.”

People understand why the mission is needed, he added.

“I th ink the need for the mission is clear,” said McAllister. “Some people fall on hard times. ‘People Helping People’ is their motto and they are here to help the community.”

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission is located at 298 Victoria St. S. and their phone number is 519-736-9140. For more information, visit www.aburgmission.ca or “like” them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgMission.

Seniors get introduction to golf

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Thanks to a golf professional, several people within the community got a chance to try the game for the first time.

Matt Bodde met with a group of golfing beginners in the Libro Centre’s indoor sports field. It was mainly seniors who turned out the first time but he is offering paid courses in January and April.

“This was a free clinic for a new program we’re bringing to the Libro Centre,” explained Bodde. “We’re doing it in here with softer balls.”

Local golf pro Matt Bodde demonstrates a swing during a recent workshop at the Libro Centre. Courses will be offered in January and April.

Bodde, who is the golf pro at Seven Lakes Golf Course in LaSalle, said he approached Libro Centre staff about starting a new golf program with the aim, in part, to get seniors interested in golfing. However, the course is designed for beginners and for those who need to “brush up on their golfing skills.”

Aspects of the course will include fitness, learning the basics of golf from the grip to the swing and video analysis as well.

“I worked in the United States for 30 years as a club pro,” added Bodde.

Bodde believes there will be a good turnout for the classes, which will be capped at ten people per class. People are asked to bring their own clubs, with required clubs for the first class being a wood, a seven-iron, a pitching wedge and a putter.

Winter classes are Jan. 17, 19, 24 and 26 from 10-11 a.m. Spring classes are April 11, 13, 18 and 20 from 10-11 a.m. The fees are $70.

People can register at the Libro Centre. Bodde asks that registration be done no later than 48 hours in advance to the session start date.