Niagara golfers join GAO’s U17 regional teams

Golf_ball_resting_near_fairway_woodUXBRIDGE – The Golf Association of Ontario has named 12 players to its regional Niagara team – one of five in the province – that will comprise Ontario’s under-17 high performance program in 2014-15.

After a very successful regional team pilot program in 2013-14, the GAO is expanding the number of regional teams as well as adding more content to the training programs. The team members were selected based on their 2014 tournament scores and testing results from Skills Combines held during the month of September.

“We were thrilled with the progress of the 36 athletes that were part of regional team pilot program last season,” says Mary Ann Hayward, GAO manager of sport performance. “Six of those players have advanced to our Team Ontario program for the upcoming season. With the addition of Niagara and Windsor, we will have 60 promising young athletes in our under-17 training program for 2014-15.

“A new addition to the program this year is a 36-hole regional team competition to be held in the Niagara area in late April. With our skilled personal coaches, dedicated regional coaches and the support of TaylorMade-adidas Golf Canada as our new high performance sponsor, the future of golf in Ontario has never been brighter.”

Team Niagara, which draws from Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and surrounding area, includes: Michael Athoe (Ridgeway, Ont.), Justin DiCienzo (Niagara Falls), Vincent Dicosimo (Niagara Falls), Vince Friyia (Niagara Falls), Sparky MacLean (Niagara Falls), Jason Maloney (St. Ann’s), Ethan Siebert (Beamsville), Brett Warkentin (Ridgeway), Sukriti Harjai (Niagara Falls), Susan Leone (Niagara Falls), Taylor Simoneau (St. Catharines), and Emily Ward (Niagara Falls).

John White coaches the team and the strength and conditioning coach is Wayne Oliver. They will train out of the Legends on the Niagara, in Niagara Falls and winter training will be at TurfNet and Fourth Quarter Fitness in Welland.

For more information on the team and its players visit the Team Niagara page at

Other players include Team Ottawa, Team York, Team Waterloo, and Team Essex-Kent.

The Regional Team Program is designed for golfers under the age of 17. Players participate in regional skills combines and those results, combined with tournament results and Order of Merit standings, determine the 12 players that are selected for each team. Team members take part in an eight-month training program with a PGA of Canada registered head coach and strength and conditioning consultant. They participate in 11 three-hour sessions before a spring training camp and Regional Team Competition to be held in Niagara at the end of April.

More from Golf

Mac golfers recover to finish seventh

McMaster's Michaela DiMarcantonio (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

Battling rain, wind, and cold, Michaela DiMarcantonio’s two-day total of 163 earned her Second Team All-Star honours and a seventh place finish at the OUA golf championships Tuesday.