St. Mary honours OFSAA champion Crusaders

St. Mary High School pays tribute on Thursday (May 19) to its Crusaders who have become Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations champions. The athletes will become Legacy Wall inductees during a school ceremony.

A number of posters highlighting the students will be unveiled.

The Legacy Wall is a project initiated by the St. Mary Athletic Council three years ago. The updated OFSAA Champions Legacy Wall in the gymnasium will recognize seven OFSAA champions from 1996-2009 in the sports of cross country, track and swimming and the 2010 track and basketball champions. In the Crusader Championship Legacy Hallway outside of the gymnasium, a squash poster will be on display.

To be honoured are:

TYLER HAMILTON (St. Bernadette, Dundas)
2007 Ontario High School Squash Champion

During his St. Mary athletics career, Tyler was selected as the MVP in the sports of squash, cross country and track. He also played badminton. He was chosen as the Senior Athlete of the Year in his graduating year.

Tyler is a city and Golden Horseshoe Athletic Council champion in track and cross country and qualified for OFSAA in cross country. In 2007, he offered to be the player-coach for the school’s first-ever squash team and he trained the athletes on the squash courts at McMaster University. The team placed second overall at the provincial high school championships and Tyler won the Open Division against the best squash players in the province.

Since his graduation from St. Mary in 2007, Tyler has been playing professional squash on the world pro circuit and has travelled around the world several times on an extremely hectic schedule. Since January, he has played eight international tournaments making it to the semifinals and quarter finals in tournaments in Australia and the United States against the top players in the world.

In a sport which has a huge world wide following and where the peak age is in the late 20s, Tyler is proving to be not only one of the youngest competitors but a rising one in Canada and on the world stage.

In June 2008, he was ranked 175th on the world pro circuit and since January 2009 he has moved from 142nd to 121st currently.

Tyler looks to continue to improve in his rankings. He is hoping that squash is included in the 2016 Olympics and the opportunity to represent Canada in another venue.

REBECCA STALLWOOD (St. Thomas, Waterdown)
1996 Cross Country OFSAA Champion

Rebecca was a true gutsy runner and never gave anything less then her best in every race. She was a very competitive student athlete whose work ethic was one of the strongest which led to an incredibly successful cross country career.

While at St. Mary, Rebecca ran both track and cross country. She was the city and GHAC champion in both the 1,500-metre and 3,000m; was chosen four times as the MVP for track and cross country and was named Senior Athlete of the year.

Rebecca received a full track and field/cross country scholarship to West Virginia University. She was the Big East 5000m champion and a member of the winning Distance Mixed Relay. She was a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association All American. In 2004, Rebecca won the Canadian National Cross Country Championships and was chosen to represent Canada at the World Cross Country Championships where she finished an amazing 32nd.

Rebecca graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology and a Masters degree in Sports Management. Currently, she is in medical school at the University of Ottawa and will graduate in 2012.

2000 Senior Boys 800m OFSAA Champion

Eric had a very successful high school track career at St. Mary where he earned both indoor and outdoor track MVP awards. Eric earned seven OFSAA medals in track in the 800 and 1,500m. His eighth medal was gold in the 2000 Senior Boys 800m.

Eric graduated from St Mary in 2000 and received a full track and cross country scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. For four years Eric trained with the best collegiate runners in the U.S. with many great accomplishments.

He was a two-time Canadian Olympic Track finalist in the 800m and 1,500m events in 2000 and 2004. He earned All-American honors. Eric achieved a sixth place finish in the Distance Medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships where he set a new Notre Dame school record. He was also an eight-time All-Big Conference Selection, helping the Irish win four Big East Championships.

Eric graduated from Notre Dame with a Bachelors of Science and attended Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland where he received his Masters degree in Global Health. He is currently in his second year of medical school at St. Georges University and will graduate in 2013.

2002 Junior Girls 400m Relay OFSAA Champions

2002 Junior Girls 400m Relay OFSAA Champions. From left: Mercedes Markowski, Alison Heydorn, Cari te Boekhorst, Joanna Stanisz (Photo: St. Mary)

ALISON HEYDORN (St. Ann’s, Ancaster)
Alison earned a Division 1 soccer scholarship to Central Michigan University where she competed for four years. Alison played semi-pro soccer for seven years in the W-League for Arizona, London and the Hamilton Avalanche.

Since 2009, she has been a member of the Guyana Women’s National soccer team and in 2010 her team made it through World Cup qualifying games to compete at the Gold Cup held in Mexico, the first-ever soccer team in Guyana to do so. For her efforts, Alison was named the 2010 Women’s Soccer Player of the Year for the team.

The next competition she will train for is Olympic qualifying in a couple of years. Alison resides in Chicago with her husband.

MERCEDES MARKOWSKI (Hillfield Strathallan, Hamilton)
A city and GHAC track champion at St. Mary’s, Mercedes went onto receive an Honors B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Toronto. She then enrolled in graduate school and completed a Green Business Management program.

Mercedes took time to travel abroad to countries such as India, Indonesia and Thailand. Today she is working at Colliers International, a global commercial real estate company in Toronto, where she is a Sustainability Analyst specializing in green buildings and environmental efficiencies. She is also a board member for the Toronto Green Community, a non-profit environmental organization that helps engage Torontonians in sustainability initiatives where they live, work and play.

JOANNA STANISZ (St. Augustine’s, Dundas)
Named a track MVP while at St. Mary, Joanna attended Queen’s University where she graduated with a B.Sc. with Honors in Life Sciences. She was a member of the Queen’s Varsity Track and Field Team for four years and competed on a provincial and national level in the 60m, 300m, 4x200m and 4x400m and won several Ontario University Athletics medals in the 4x200m and 4x400m and a Canadian University CIS championship silver medal in the 4x400m. In her third year, Joanna was named Queen’s female track MVP and in her fourth year, was the team captain.

She was an OFSAA soccer champion while at St. Mary and continued to play at a competitive level with Hamilton Sparta and was on the U21 Ontario Cup Championship team along with Alison Heydorn.

Joanna is graduating this spring from Medical School at the University of Ottawa. She will be starting residency in Pediatrics at McMaster University this July.

CARI TE BOEKHORST (St. Bernadette, Dundas)
A versatile athlete at St. Mary who won both MVPs in cross country and senior basketball, Cari graduated from McMaster University in Honours Sociology and played on the Women’s Varsity Basketball team for four years.

She had an outstanding basketball career and was selected to the Canadian Interuniversity Sports all-Canadian all star rookie team after being named the OUA Rookie of the Year. She finished her career as an All Canadian – Academic.

Her varsity team won two gold and one silver medals at the OUA basketball championships; a national championship bronze medal; and fifth and eighth place finishes at nationals.

Cari has recently travelled to Australia and New Zealand and continues her running with a future marathon in mind. She will be attending the Art Institute of Vancouver for Interior Design in the fall.

GREG HAYES (St. Ann’s, Ancaster)
2004 and 2006 Junior and Senior Boys 400m (Record)

Greg made track history at St. Mary. He was a gifted athlete in several sports. His track career spanned all his years from the junior to senior level competition and on the provincial level. He was a two-time track MVP and was recognized as the Junior and Senior Athlete of the Year.

In 2004, Greg won the city and GHAC finals to advance to OFSAA where he won the 2004 Junior Boys 400m. He continued to train and in 2006 he won the senior Boys 400m and set an OFSAA record.

Greg graduated from St. Mary and attended the University of Western Ontario. A knee injury that required reconstructive surgery left Greg unable to compete and he retired from competitive track. He graduated from Western with a Business degree and now runs his own business.

FRANK DESPOND (Guardian Angels, Waterdown)
2008 and 2009 200m Free Style Open Boys (record holder)

During his years at St. Mary, Frank represented St. Mary at OFSAA two consecutive years where he won the 200M Free Style Open event two years in a row and set two OFSAA records. However, what is a truly legendary achievement is that he broke the record four times. In 2008, he broke the 200M Open in his heat in the morning and once again broke his own record in the final in the afternoon. He repeated this again in 2009. His OFSAA record still stands today.

Frank also posted national qualifying times with his club team during his high school years and attended many national and international events on the Junior National team including the Olympic trials. He is currently enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Toronto and training at the National Training Centre. He recently won two bronze medals at the Canadian University CIS Championships. Frank continues to clock faster times and is looking forward to the next Olympic trials and a chance to represent Canada.

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