Stiff Competition For WESPY Awards

Stars soccer Ademolu

As a member of the Windsor Stars, Stephen Ademolu is one of three players nominated as soccer player of the year.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Header-image-Shalapata-2By Ian Shalapata

(WINDSOR, ON) – Organizers for the 2016 WESPYs revealed today to nominees for the annual local sports recognition awards. At a ceremony held this morning at Central Park Athletics, the current short-listed athletes, coaches, and volunteers were announced to local media.

In attendance were some of the athlete nominees, including Sarah Bondy, Stephen Ademolu, and Jalen Jackson.

Saints-basketball-Bondy

Sarah Bondy is a multi-sport athlete with St Clair. Bondy was nominated as the softball player of the year, as a member of the national champion Saints.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Additionally, the winners were announced for four categories. Sandra Garofalo, of the Walker Homesites Baseball Club, is the 2015 winner of the Knobby Knudsen Female Volunteer of the Year. Winning the nod for the men was Joe Cleroux from the AKO Fratmen Football Club.

The Central Park Athletics Female Legacy Award went to Chris Brecka while the Unifor Local 444 Male Legacy Award was announced as Rick Cranker and Gary Semeniuk.

Jalen Jackson sprints down the sidelines during a 55-yard punt return that he took for a touchdown.Photo by Bill Smith.

WESPY award nominee Jalen Jackson (28) sprints down the sidelines during a 55-yard punt return that he took for a touchdown against the Frontenac Falcons during the OFSSA championships in Hamilton.
Photo by Bill Smith.

The selection committee found it difficult to select just three nominees for some categories. That speaks to the high level of coaching and athleticism according to the committee chair, Royal Church.

“I believe the science of coaching has become really fine tuned now,” Church explained. “Now the coaches take it pretty seriously and it transfers to the athletes. The athletes are better because the coaching is better. And the teams are better.”

The men’s edition of the Ed Jovanovski Hockey Award and the Gino Fracas Football Award each has four nominees vying for the WESPY. In addition, the Team of the Year will be selected from four entrees including the Windsor Lancers women’s basketball team, the Sandwich Secondary School track and field team, the Essex 73’s Hockey Club, and the Tecumseh Thunder Senior baseball team.

For the full list of nominees, visit the WESPY Awards website.

Also announced today was the renaming one category as the Dennis Fairall Track and Field Award in honour of the long time coach and mentor at the University of Windsor.

“Words cannot begin to express how honoured we are that you would consider renaming the WESPY Track and Field award,” Dennis and Jan Fairall wrote in a statement read at the ceremony. “To be recognized by both the University last week and now the community of Windsor for doing what he loves, only validates that appreciation and commitment of sport in our communities. Please know that Dennis is humbled and overwhelmed by this outpouring of appreciation for his life’s passion”

Tickets for the March 28 awards presentation and dinner are available through the WESPY website and from Bob Reaume Sports.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
Email Ian Shalapata

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