Athletics drop fourth straight
Gavin Howard continues to look at the big picture.
Three years ago, the 19-yer-old St. Catharines resident made the decision to move from St. Francis Secondary School to Culver Academy, a college preparatory boarding school in Indiana, to help him prepare for the next step.
The decision proved to be sound.
Not only did Howard recently graduate from Culver, but he has also committed to Utah University for this fall where he will play lacrosse and study engineering.
“Obviously, it feels good,” Howard said. “Go back two years ago and the junior year of high school is when the schools can start reaching out to you. I was in contact with a couple of schools but Utah sparked my interest and went on a tour and fell in love ever since.”
Howard feels fortune to be able to study at a D1 school where he can also continue to play lacrosse.
“Having that under my belt means a lot,” Howard said. “I get to continue the sport that I love for another four years but also receive an education with money being paid toward that as well.”
Howard said he is prepared for the lifestyle change of living in Utah.
“Being in contact with a couple of guys I know, one I went to high school with for two years a Culver, has allowed me to get some confidence about moving out there,” he said. “I went to school in Indiana for three years and have been away from home so that’s not an issue on my part. Getting used to their culture will be a lot different but they do have a lot of things that I like —skiing, hiking, outdoors stuff — that’s definitely a big plus.”
Howard feels his time at Culver was well spent and has prepared him for this next step.
“It helped a lot. The coaching staff is unbelievable and the structure they have at the school allowed me to develop many skills I wouldn’t have if I were to have stayed here,” he said. “It opened a lot of doors and the networking system is unbelievable. They say you never really graduate because you will always be connected with the people there.”
Howard missed the first five games of the season with St. Catharines WMKL Athletics but has quickly found his stride.
“I’m super pumped. We’re getting back on track after a bit of a downslope, the boys are super excited to get back after it in the second half of the season and moving into playoffs afterwards as well.”
He has high hopes for the second half of the season and into the playoffs for the A’s.
“All the boys are ready,” he said. “We know what’s coming. A lot of teams are loading up but we’re not scared at all. We’re in it for the fight and to have a good time and win some games as well.”
A’s general manager Jeff Chcoski has seen Howard grow up before his eyes.
“I’ve known Gavin since he’s been a puppy. You can see him developing into a man right now which is so important and now he’s got the big picture of Utah,” he said. “As many guys as we can have going to top Division 1 schools down in the States, it just helps them physically and mentally and helps them grow up fast.”
Howard collected two goals Wednesday as the A’s dropped a 10-5 decision to the Whitby Warriors in Ontario Junior Lacrosse League action at Canada Games Park.
The loss was the fourth straight for St. Catharines which dropped below the .500 level at 5-6.
“Obviously, the defensive system has to tighten up a little more,” Chcoski said.
The A’s have been beset by injures, particularly on the back end, but are getting players back in the lineup for the second half of the season.
A’s acorns: The A’s honoured the Ontario high school field lacrosse champion Governor Simcoe Redcoats before the game. Oliver Vanyo and Ari Steenhuis of the A’s are members of the Redcoats . . . A moment of silence was held for former Athletics assistant equipment manager Eric Holt . . . Former Niagara IceDog Lucas Littlejohn scored a pair of goals for the Warriors.
Warriors 10 A’s 5
WMKL Star of the Game: Whitby’s Riley Knox with four goals and seven points.
St. Catharines Athletics: Gavin Howard 2; Keaton Zavitz 2; Christian LeFeuvre.
Whitby Warriors: Knox 4; Lucas Littlejohn 2; Gabriel Sorichetti 2; Jack Oldman, Michael White.
Up next: The A’s visit Burlington Sunday, Whitby Tuesday and are home to Oakville next Wednesday.
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