Zach Androschuk named Russ Jackson Award winner
It was announced at the CIS’s All Canadian Banquet last night that Gryphon defensive back Zach Androschuk was the winner of the prestigious Russ Jackson Award, presented annually to the CIS football player who best combines academic and football success with community service. Androschuk was one of four national finalists for the award having been nominated by the OUA. Check out this gryphons.ca story for more details. I intend to give more coverage to Androschuk’s accomplishments in a future post.
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Gryphon football alumnus Peter Partridge made me aware of a recent article in the Niagara Falls Review. The Review’s Cory Smith wrote about the role that nine local players [Niagara Falls & Niagara-on-the-Lake] had on the 2012 Gryphons – Niagara Nine leads Gryphons. The Niagara Nine was comprised of freshman through to 5th year veterans.
Collectively, the Niagara Nine of Palmer, Michael Fortino, John Rush, Rob Farquharson, Giuliano Tropea, Ryan Nieuwesteeg, Donnie Egerter, Evan Murdza and Kory Kemp helped Guelph advance to the Yates Cup before losing last weekend at McMaster.
The article presents stats for the players and quotes DB Taylor Palmer several times.
Off the field, Palmer is likely to be named an Academic All-Canadian for a second straight year. The distinction goes to players with a full course load who average higher than 80%.
Palmer is studying human kinetics with a minor in neuroscience.
“We’re all kind of here for the same reason. We’re students and have to build for the future. It took me a while to get used to the schedule — 25 hours a week of football with a full course load. A lot of late nights and a lot of effort to get organized and prepared.”
“Over my four years it was definitely my most enjoyable season,” he said. “The team from the get go seemed to develop a close bond and great atmosphere in the locker room and stadium. Everyone showed up to play, won a lot of close games, and no doubt we were an elite team. The program is going forward and it was great to be a part of this year.”
Hopefully Niagara’s top players will continue to be a key part of every Gryphon recruiting class. Football alum and assistant coach John Casasanta is the primary recruiter for the Niagara Region and responsible for identifying most of these players. It doesn’t hurt that former Gryphon players like Partridge and Mark Antonelli are also coaching in the region. Partridge coaches at St. Catharines’ Sir Winston Churchill where his former players include current Gryphons Jeff Finley and Ryan Mattei.
Mark Antonelli is the defensive coordinator of the Junior team at Grimsby’s Blessed Trinity. Just last week they won their second consecutive Niagara Junior championship and have advanced to the Junior Metro Bowl semifinals. Antonelli is also the new head coach of the Niagara Spears JV team. Joining his OVFL staff as offensive coordinator is Gryphon OL assistant coach Nick Woehl, a former Spear player himself.
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The Alumni Stadium and the University of Guelph continue to get lots of national publicity as a result of the announcement that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are coming to town. In case you haven’t seen them, here are some more links to stories published since my post on the topic two days ago.
The Hamilton Spectator: It’s official Ticats will play 2013 season at Alumni Stadium in Guelph
CTV News video link: A touchdown for Guelph as Ti-cats pick new temporary home
The Scratching Post [Ticat blog]: Ticats set to make Guelph their temporary home
AM980 Radio: Hamilton Ticats Select Guelph Over London
TSN, the CBC, Global TV and every major daily newspaper in the country carried the story. You can’t buy publicity like that. By this time next year millions of Canadians will recognize the red & black checkerboard endzones and associate them with the University of Guelph. There are great opportunities ahead to extend the brand.