Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
July 23, 2024
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Season to Celebrate

The sport culture at PECI is something to be proud of now, and in the years to come
<p>PECI top athletes (Top, from left) Abi Childerhose, Mitchell Sills, Cameron Billing, Emerson Blakely, Sophie Caissie, Olvia Demianchuk, (Bottom) Will Bolton, Cole Byford, Drew Spencer and Brooke Spencer. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
PECI top athletes (Top, from left) Abi Childerhose, Mitchell Sills, Cameron Billing, Emerson Blakely, Sophie Caissie, Olvia Demianchuk, (Bottom) Will Bolton, Cole Byford, Drew Spencer and Brooke Spencer. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

With one last growl the PECI Panthers closed the book on the 2023-24 Bay of Quinte Athletic Conference secondary school sports season.

There was plenty to celebrate at the annual athletic awards night at the Regent Theatre June 11. The junior boys volleyball team captured its first Bay of Quinte crown in over two decades. On the track and in the field, a number of PECI runners and throwers starred at the East Regionals meet in Ottawa.

PECI Athletics co-captain Rowan Colby pointed out that the Panthers make time for extracurricular athletics for the love of sport and the feelings that come from being part of a movement and culture.

“I remind everyone why we are here tonight and put into words the culture we have built. All of us love sports. We play sports, we watch sports, we coach sports. As Panthers, we all get something meaningful from sports. We can recognize and be proud of the efforts we put in to build each and every team.”

He mentioned an entire junior team bleaching their hair and the over-the-top dedication of the coaches. The funny and farcical moments that come from teenage athletic pursuits. The chatter on the bus ride to a game or event.

“These may seem like small, silly things — but they are gestures of camaraderie. It is important to keep doing them. It builds the culture for future generations of Panthers, and it gives us something that we can be proud of both during our years at PECI, and for many years to come.”

Top Performers

The surname Spencer was a popular one with the trophy engraver. 

Graduating senior Brooke Spencer took home the Senior Female Athlete of Year. She was also recognized with the Jeremy Vincent Memorial Award for top Track and Field Athlete. Ms. Spencer took gold at the Central Ontario 400m championships and qualified for the 200m and 800m East Regional races.

The 2023 Bay of Quinte Jr. Boys Volleyball champions from PECI were recognized during the athletic awards ceremony. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Meanwhile, little sister Drew Spencer won the Joe Scott Memorial Award for excellence in a single sport. While she wasn’t playing rugby, volleyball, soccer, or track and field for PECI, Drew Spencer somehow found the time to compete provincially and nationally in the sport she is most passionate about: rugby.

She represented Team Ontario at the U16 Nationals in Calgary, starting every game and winning a national gold medal.

A few other names made it onto the hardware.

Mitchell Sills was PECI’s top Senior Male Athlete for standout skills on the baseball, hockey, and basketball teams.

Three-sport-star Abi Childerhose picked up the Junior Girls Athlete of the Year award for her work in rugby, soccer and volleyball. 

Cameron Billing helped the aforementioned Jr. Boys Volleyball team to the Central Ontario finals and was a force on the basketball court. Roundball teammate Emerson Blakely was also key for the Panthers and qualified for East Regionals in three different track events. They split the Junior Boys Athlete of the Year.

For Freshman athletes, Will Bolton and Cole Byford were both winners of the Grade 9 Boys Athlete of the Year while Olivia Demianchuk and Sophie Caissie shared the Grade 9 Girls Athlete of the Year award. 

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 27 edition of The Picton Gazette
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