SHHS Sports Scholarship Winners

SHHS Sports Scholarships 2017
Posted on 08/18/2017
Sports Scholarships

5 SHHS Students Earn Sports Scholarships


SHHS Sports Scholarship Winners

Five students from Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton have received sports scholarships. Pictured here from left: Black Mackey, Tony Elliott, Rachel Rier, Lucus Slosser-McLean and Ryan Bester. - Sacred Heart High School/PHOTO

WALKERTON, ONT. — Several athletes from Walkerton's Sacred Heart High School will be headed off to post-secondary on sports scholarships.

The students include: golfer Rachel Rier; soccer player Lucas Slosser-McLean; Tony Elliott for hammer-throw; Ryan Bester, baseball; and Blake Mackey for golf.

"It's great for the school," said principal Glenn Miller. "We are very proud of what these students have accomplished."

Miller said it could be a record number of students awarded sports scholarships for a single year for the school.

"I think for most of us, it's a way to pay for a great education while playing the sport we love," said Elliott.

Each student will receive a varying amount based on academics and sports skill, with the majority heading to schools in the U.S.

"I think for most of us, it's a way to pay for a great education while playing the sport we love," said Elliott.

Rachel Rier

Rier, who has been golfing seriously for just four years, will be headed to Davenport University in Michigan in September.

"My friend signed me up for the golf team as a joke," she said. "I guess I have a bit of a natural talent. I was kind of surprised by myself when I did fairly well, so I stuck with it."

She plays mostly at the Walkerton Golf and Curling Club and at Pike Lake. In 2015, she was part of the Whistle Bear Golf Club team. Currently, her coach is Taylor Schmidt from Kincardine.

Rier said she applied through a recruiting site via the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour. The process included sending off a resume with scores to several different schools, waiting to hear back. Fortunately, she said, Davenport was interested.

Rier said the strongest part of her game is driving and that putting is something she continues to work on. She has yet to hit the elusive hole-in-one.

She said her parents have been supportive, even though it will be a seven-hour drive from home.

"Dad's excited but mom's a bit nervous," she said. "But it could be a lot further."

Rier was also quick to point out all of the support from her high school, especially principal Miller, who she said drove her to several tournaments.

"I don't know if there's any other principal out there that would do that," she said.

Lucas Slosser-McLean

Slosser-McLean has being kicking the ball around since he was just three years old and is headed to an NCAA Division 1 team at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I was hoping to play for this one when I first heard of it," he said, adding that he went to a prospect camp during his Grade 11 after the team saw his highlight video on YouTube.

There was an offer from another school, but Slosser-McLean said it ultimately came down to it being closer to home.

"They said they have very few in my position and I will compete for a starting position and compete for minutes as soon as I get there," he said.

There are no illusions about playing professional soccer, he said.

"Everyone says they want to play professionally, but that's likely not going to happen, so it's a five-year MBA and then after that, probably move back home and do something with management and sports," he said.

Slosser-McLean thanked the staff at Sacred Heart High School, especially Coach Striukas, who guided him through his high school play.

He also thanked his dad for being his first coach and his mom for being his inspiration.

"I'm just excited to embark on the next part of my journey, it felt good to achieve this goal," he said.

Tony Elliott

Elliott will be headed off to Valparaiso University in Indiana this September. He's a throwing specialist focused on hammer-throw, but also shot put and discus.

He said he originally started out as a sprinter and a high jumper, but that all changed one day after his dad came to pick him up from practice.

"One day, my dad picked me up from practice, and my dad is a really big guy so my coach was like — why are you a sprinter? you should be a thrower — so I just started throwing after that," he said.

Currently, his personal best for the hammer throw is 56 metres, 99 centimetres. The world record is currently 86 metres, 74 centimetres, but this doesn't phase him.

"Most people don't throw that far when you are this young. Hammer throwers don't peak until their late 20s, early 30s. I'm still a baby in the sport, I'm 17, so I still have another 10-15 years to peak in my sport," he said.

Randy Millar of the Saugeen Track and Field Club currently coaches Elliott. He's been throwing for eight years now, six with Millar.

In March of 2017, he won the indoor provincial championship for weight throw. He's also won the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations twice and will compete for a spot on Team Canada this year.

"I'm ecstatic to go to Valparaiso," he said.

Ryan Bester

Bester will be heading to Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., for a two-year general studies program under a baseball scholarship. He plays first base and pitches with an 80-mile-an-hour fastball, a wicked curve and a changeup. This past summer, for his fourth year, he played with the Ontario Outlaws out of Guelph.

"We do winter practices from November to the end of April and then our season starts," he said. "It runs from May until late June and then in July we do a tournament season."

Bester said he hopes to find a starting position on the Macomb College team this year.

This past year was his fifth year at Sacred Heart, where the school recently started up a baseball team.

"I think being able to keep up with sports just playing in the school helped a lot," he said. "For school sports, baseball wasn't the only one, I played badminton, which keeps up with agility and stamina."

After his two-year program, he said he hopes to get a four-year program baseball scholarship and is leaning toward studying criminal justice.

"After that, ideally if something goes right, maybe get drafted. Right now, that's not really realistic," he said. "But if I just got drafted, that'd be awesome."

Growing up, he played softball, which he said helped his game, especially with batting, because the pitcher is so much closer.

A highlight was hitting a pair over the fence at the Roger's Centre during a tryout for the provincial team at the Roger's T-12 tournament held by Roberto Alomar.

"We were just doing batting practice and managed to hit two over," he said, adding he's excited to start this next chapter in his baseball career.

Blake Mackey

Mackey will be headed to Fanshawe College in London for a three-year golf and club management program. He has a roster spot on the team there, but will not know if he has a scholarship until the roster is finalized.

"Canadian colleges don't hand out scholarships until their final rosters are decided and there's only two scholarships per team," he said. "I think I have a good chance of getting one, I just have to perform well in tryouts."

Mackey moved to Sacred Heart High School in grade 10 from Belleville and has won the Bluewater Athletic Association tournament two of the three years he played.

"I felt it was great to be coached by Mr. Miller and Tom Kittle at Sacred Heart," he said. "They gave me the chance to step into a leadership role and perform at the level I wanted to perform at."

Mackey says he plans on turning pro by the age of 25 as a teaching professional.

He currently works at the Walkerton Golf and Curling Club.

"I really like working out here; it's good to see both sides of the game," he said.

In August 2016, he won the GAO Public Championship at the Diamondback Golf Club in Barrie. He said he spends his winters playing hockey, but golf remains his passion.

"I am looking forward to being able to pursue a career in golf," he said.

Reprinted from Walkerton Herald Times

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