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BEHIND THE SCENES: Thorold sports legends recognized at gala

ThoroldToday editor Bernard Lansbergen takes us behind the scenes

The annual ceremony of the Thorold Runway of Recognition took place at Amici's Banquet and Conference Centre, honoring outstanding athletes and builders from Thorold. Regional Councillor Tim Whalen and City Councillor Nella Dekker led the event, presenting trophies to the deserving recipients. The evening saw the induction of four new members into the Runway's hall of fame.

Lou Gazzolo, recognized for his remarkable baseball career with the St. Catharines Metros and Thorold Anchors, expressed gratitude for the support he received from friends and family throughout his sports journey. The Thorold Elite Track Club, founded by Steven Fife, was also honored for its numerous achievements, boasting over 150 athletes across all age groups and an impressive medal count in provincial and national competitions. Fred Matheson received a posthumous tribute for his unwavering dedication to Thorold Baseball, with his sister acknowledging his lifelong love for the sport.

The Thorold Secondary Rowing Club's accomplishments were recognized as well, with team member Mike Petrychanko highlighting the club's dependence on the volunteer sports system in Thorold. Gene Citrigno, president of the Thorold Soccer Club, received the Albert Ciancio Memorial 'Friend of Sport' Award, emphasizing the collective effort of the soccer board. Kory Yungblut was honored with the Daryl Mahler 'Excellence in Coaching' Award for his contributions to Thorold Minor Hockey.

The Team of the Year award was presented to the 2022 Thorold Anchors, celebrating their victory in the OBA competition. Ally Sentance was named Female Athlete of the Year for her achievements in basketball, while Ryan Miotto earned the title of Male Athlete of the Year for his success in ice hockey. Carson Dickinson received the Michael I Egoroff 2021-2022 Outstanding Junior Athlete of the Year Award, and Jack Hale was honoured with the James A Whyte Memorial Award 2021-2022 Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year.

Furthermore, the ceremony recognized the recipients of the White Family Foundation 'Open the Door' Scholarship. Acting Mayor Carmen DeRose concluded the event by expressing congratulations to the inductees and gratitude to the volunteer committee and attendees for their support.

Video Summary:

The Thorold Runway of Recognition recently held its annual gala to honour individuals who have made significant contributions to the local sports community. The event has been taking place for over a decade and serves as a platform to recognize and celebrate the achievements of athletes, builders, and volunteers in the sports world. The gala highlights the strong network of volunteers who support various sports organizations in Thorold, nurturing young athletes and helping them succeed.

The selection process for inductees into the Runway's Hall of Fame involves an open nomination system. A city committee reviews the nominations, conducts research, and ultimately decides who will be honoured each year. The event acknowledges outstanding individuals and teams, such as the 2022 Thorold Anchors, who won the OBA Senior Championship and moved up a division, garnering significant attention and celebration from the entire community. Additionally, four new individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame, including Fred Matheson, who was honoured posthumously for his contributions to baseball in Thorold.

The success of the event is made possible by the dedicated volunteers who form the Runway Recognition Committee. Led by individuals like Regional Councillor Tim Whalen and City Councillor Nella Dekker, the committee plays a vital role in organizing the gala and ensuring its smooth execution.