UXBRIDGE, Ont. — The Golf Association of Ontario (GAO) has announced the formation of three regional junior teams comprised of some of the best under 17 athletes in the province, a first for the association.
The GAO Team Ontario program was formerly was made up of a under 19 and under 17 team, now the provincial team features the 12 best under 19 athletes, regardless of age, while three regional teams in the Ottawa, York and Waterloo regions have been set up for an additional 36 male and female athletes under the age of 17. Twelve players will comprise each regional squad.
The teams were created in the Fall of 2013, based on combines held in the three regions. Each region features a head coach and a strength and conditioning coach to help the athletes train during the winter months.
“The GAO is thrilled to be expanding the pool of talented athletes and coaches in Ontario and the opportunity to enhance our support to members clubs and families in all parts of this great province,” said GAO Managing Director, Sport Mike Kelly. “As we inch closer to golf’s return to the Olympic program in 2016 and 2015 Pan-Para Pan-Am Games in Toronto, investments like these will clear the path for podium performances in the near future, hopefully paved in gold.”
The program will run from November to March and is comprised of 11 three-hour training sessions – approximately two per month. The teams will conclude the program with a five-day training camp and Regional Team Competition during March Break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Team Ottawa is made up of athletes from Ottawa and surrounding area stretching from Almonte to Kingston. The team is led by Head Coach Adam Holden, a PGA Canada and PGA Australia Class ‘A’ Professional. Holden is in his 12th year coaching at the Kevin Haime Golf School in Kanata. Allen Hicks is the team’s strength and condition coach. He brings more than 20-years of experience as a physiotherapist and strength coach.
Team Ottawa consists of:
- Jake Bryson, 14, from Dunrobin, a GAO Public Player
- Christopher Carwardine, 14, from Kanata and Kanata Lakes Golf & Country Club
- Ty Celone, 14, from Long Sault and Summerheights Golf Links
- David Iaderosa, 15, from Ottawa, a GAO Public Player
- James Parsons, 15, from Almonte and Mississippi Golf Club
- Tyler Read, 13, from Brockville and Brockville Golf & Country Club
- Nicolas Valiquette, 15, from Cornwall and Canadian Golf & Country Club
- Sarah Cushing, 14, from Brockville and the Brockville Golf & Country Club
- Danielle Humilde, 14, from Greeley and Greyhawk Golf Club
- Lilian Klekner-Alt, 15, from Ottawa and Camelot Golf Club
- Diana McDonald, 15, from Kingston and Loyalist Country Club
- Kiley Rodrigues, 13, from Kingston and Cataraqui Golf & Country Club
The York team pulls together athletes from the Toronto area as far east as Peterborough and the Oakville area in the west. They are coached PGA of Canada Class ‘A’ Professional Jeff Overholt. Overholt has worked with Team Ontario in the past and is the Head Coach of the Toronto North Junior Golf Development Centre. He was named 2013 Coach of the Year by the PGA of Ontario. Kathryn Robinson is the team’s strength and condition coach. Robinson is currently the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Specialist at York University.
Athletes on Team York are:
- Kyle MacDonald, 15, from Oakville and Rattlesnake Point Golf Club
- Sam Meek, 15, from Peterborough and Kawartha Golf & Country Club
- Nicklaus Naumovski, 14, from Halton Hills and Brampton Golf Club
- Lachlan O’Hara, 14, from Mississauga and Credit Valley Golf & Country Club
- Jerry Anderson; Mathew Suarez, 15, from Toronto and Mad River Golf Club
- James Wyndham-West, 15, from King City and King’s Riding Golf Club
- David Yoon, 15, from Richmond Hill and Station Creek Golf Club
- Delana Basanisi, 13, from Mississauga and Trafalgar Golf Club
- Ellice Hong, 14, from Thornhill and Glendale Golf & Country Club
- Hailey McLaughlin, 12, from Markham and Cedar Brae Golf & Country Club
- Alexandra Naumovski, 16, from Hornby and Brampton Golf Club
- Emily Zhu, 9, from Richmond Hill and Station Creek Golf Club
The Team Waterloo region includes Kitchener-Waterloo and everything south and west to the U.S. boarder. Mike Martz, PGA Class ‘A’ Professional, is the Head Coach for this team. He has more than 25 years of experience. Most recently Mike has become Certified as a Coach for New Competitors and trained as a Coach for Developing Competitors with the PGA of Canada and Golf Canada. The team’s strength and conditioning coach is Angella Lee. She is currently the strength and conditioning coach of the Whistle Bear Junior Team in Cambridge.
The athletes on the team are:
- Jackson Bowery, 16, from London and Greenhills Golf Club
- Drake Jefferson, 15, from Bayfield and Bluewater Golf Club
- Vince Friyia, 15, from Niagara Falls and St. Catharines Golf Club
- Mackenzie Raines, 14, from Kitchener and Whistle Bear Golf Club
- Thomas Code, 16, from Dorchester, GAO Public Player
- Justin DiCienzo, 13, from Niagara Falls and St. Catherines Golf Club
- Sparky MacLean, 14, from Niagara Falls and St. Catherines Golf Club
- Madeline Marck-Sherk, 16, from Ridgeway and Bridgewater Golf & Country Club
- Isabella Portokalis, 12, from London and London Hunt and Country Club
- Haley Barclay, 13, from Strathroy and Sawmill Creek Golf
- Kristen Giles, 13, from Georgetown and Cutten Fields
- Taylor Kehoe, 9, from Strathroy and Whistle Bear Golf Club