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Thorold sports legends honoured at annual gala

Last night, the Thorold Runway of Recognition held its annual gala honouring those who have left their mark on the local sports community

On Monday evening, the Thorold Runway of Recognition held its annual ceremony at Amici’s Banquet and Conference Centre.

The room was packed with loved ones and supporters of the Thorold athletes and builders being honoured at the dinner.

Regional Councillor Tim Whalen and City Councillor Nella Dekker led the proceedings as they handed out trophies to the lucky recipients.

There were four new inductees into the Runway’s hall of fame.

Lou Gazzolo was honoured for his illustrious baseball career with both the St. Catharines Metros and the Thorold Anchors.

“I am grateful that in my long career in sports I was able to achieve success with the help of many friends and family along the way,” he told the gathered crowd.

The Thorold Elite Track Club, founded by Steven Fife, was also inducted into the Runway for its many achievements. The club sports a roster of over 150 athletes across all age groups. In 2022 alone, the club’s athletes took home 274 provincial medals, 4 national medals, and a provincial title.

“We have a remarkable group of athletes,” Fife said, in his speech. “We wanted to make a club that everybody could be a part of, but that was also at the elite level. Truly, it’s never too late to get involved in track and field.”

Fred Matheson was posthumously honoured for his unwavering commitment to Thorold Baseball.

“Fred loved baseball and I know he’s playing ball up there right now and enjoying every minute of it,” said his sister, while accepting the award. “He lived and breathed baseball. It was his life. I know that he would be so honoured to have this award.”

The achievements of the Thorold Secondary Rowing Club were also honoured during the evening.

“We’re very much a product of Thorold’s volunteer sports system,” said 1997 team member Mike Petrychanko, who is now a rowing coach himself. “There’s no way I would be here without you guys taking so much time for us.”

The president of the Thorold Soccer Club, Gene Citrigno, was given the the Albert Ciancio Memorial ‘Friend of Sport’ Award.

“There’s no I in team,” he told the crowd. “There’s a lot of people that helped me along the way. I want to recognize my soccer board. They do an amazing job. Thank you very much.”

The Daryl Mahler ‘Excellence in Coaching’ Award went to Kory Yungblut for all his work throughout the years with Thorold Minor Hockey.

“I want to say thank you to the city,” he said. “I coached for many different organizations and I hadn’t really found what a community was about until I came to Thorold.”

Team of the Year went to the 2022 Thorold Anchors, in celebration of their OBA victory last fall.

“In sports, success usually comes to those who work hardest and boy, did these players work hard,” said assistant coach and player Chris Ciolfi. “After an up-and-down regular season these players stayed committed to the goal. The camaraderie, belief and commitment proved too much for the opposition. The support we received from the community in those two weeks won’t soon be forgotten.”

Ally Sentance was named Female Athlete of the Year for her achievements on the basketball court. Last summer, Sentance was recruited by Central Connecticut State University and she has already made her mark in the Division 1 Northeast Conference.

"I've had many coaches, trainers and mentors along the way and with each one I've learned different things," she said. "To play at this level that I'm currently at has always been a dream of mine. I'm very grateful for every part of my journey so far. No matter how far I go I never forget how luck I am to have the support from every single person in this amazing city I get to call my hometown."

Ryan Miotto was given the title of Male Athlete of the Year for his ice hockey achievements. Miotto is currently playing at the NCAA level for the University of Vermont.

"I'm very proud to be from Thorold," he told the crowd.

The Michael I Egoroff 2021-2022 Outstanding Junior Athlete of the Year Award went to Carson Dickinson and the James A Whyte Memorial Award 2021-2022 Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year went to Jack Hale.

The three recipients of the White Family Foundation 'Open the Door' Scholarship where also honoured during the ceremony

At the end of the night, Acting Mayor Carmen DeRose took to the stage to thank everyone involved with the gala.

“We offer our sincere congratulations to the 2022 inductees,” he said. “We offer our thanks to the volunteer committee that spends hours researching each of the inductees. Thank you to all those in attendance tonight for your support.”

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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