Waterloo Region has produced some amazing high school athletes.
One a month, a former or current high school student will be inducted to the Record's Honour Roll.
I've been covering high school sports since 2004 and to be fair, I'm only including athletes since then. I may add older athletes down the road, but didn't think it was appropriate to extol the virtues of players I've never actually seen in action.
This list is purely subjective. I'm choosing kids who were awesome athletes but also ones that were great leaders too.
Gavin Horne, Waterloo Collegiate: Horne's main sport was basketball and he currently attends Wright State in Dayton Ohio. He was a power forward with a graceful shot who formed half of the twin towers at WCI with teammate Jaan Montgomery. He was always friendly and unselfish on the court. I'll never forget him icing a victory over Cameron Heights in the WCSSAA semifinals in 2005. WCI was down by three with 1.9 seconds left and Horne was fouled on a three-ball. He made all three foul shots to tie the game and WCI won in overtime to reach the final.
Brienne Stairs, Forest Heights: Stairs dominated field hockey and ice hockey for the Trojans. She was the type of player who could pick up the ball/puck in her own end and literally weave her way through the entire opposition and score. I'm not sure if I have seen such a dominant player in either sport during my entire time at the Record. No surprise that she went on to star for the field hockey team at the University of Guelph after graduating in 2007.
Bob Serviss, coach, Bluevale: Serviss coached football for more than two decades at Bluevale Collegiate. He made BCI football the number one sport at school and took the team to nine of the 11 championships leading up to his retirement in spring of 2008. More than 1,500 players passed through his system and dozens went on to play university football and some even cracked the CFL. Serviss was instrumental in realigning football into its current tiered system and getting the league into the provincial Western Bowl playdowns.
Maddie Buttinger, Resurrection: There wasn't much that Buttinger wasn't good at. She played several sports but track and field was her specialty, especially the high jump. She won several all-Ontario gold medals in the pit and as a junior national athlete for Canada. Her leaping abilities took her to Notre Dame on a scholarship in the fall of 2008.
Cam Little, Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate: Little wasn't your typical high school athlete. He didn't get a scholarship down south or stand out as much as others. But the guy could play, plain and simple. He carried himself in a way that commanded respect on the football and rugby fields. He could have been a high scoring player in both sports but often bypassed the glorified positions to dominate a secondary spot for the good of the team. The guy had big time heart and passion.
May Kotsopoulos, Waterloo Collegiate: May was known for her stellar defence and ability to slash to the bucket during her days on the basketball court for the Vikings. She led the Vikes to several championships was the best basketball player in the region during her final year. She went on to the University of Vermont on a round ball scholarship.
Mohammed Ahmed, Cameron Heights: Teammates called him 'Mo' on the field but his full name was Mohammed. And he was a superb midfielder for Cameron Heights earlier this decade. Mo was one of those rare players who seldom, if ever, got rattled on the pitch. Opponents would always try to throw him off his game, but he never cracked. He was a leader for the Golden Gaels, both in skill and heart and a key cog in the Double G's success. I specifically remember Eastwood targeting Mo in the 2004 WCSSAA finals but the senior never lost his cool. It was a fabulous championship, 2-2, before ECI won it in a shootout. Mo had smarts, talent and was fun to watch.
Brian Millar, hockey coach, Grand River: He's an institution on the ice at Grand River, having ruled as skipper of the boys hockey team for more than 25 years. He recently coached his 1,000th high school game, an incredible feat. Along the way, he has been instrumental in developing the Rens' strong on-ice reputation that includes countless WCSSAA titles as well as CWOSSA banners and solid outings at provincial finals. Besides coaching, Millar continues to serve as convener for the local league and regional finals.
Scott Tinning, Preston: He was the heart and soul of Preston's senior football team and led the Panthers to a WCSSAA championship. I'll never forget that run to the finals in 2006. It was the semifinal when Tinning, playing on an injured knee, refused to be taken off the field and virtually willed the pack to victory over Grand River. He commanded respect on the gridiron and was a talented running back. He went to the University of Western to play football but is also a skilled lacrosse player.
Tarah McKay, Elmira: A tiny girl with a huge stride. McKay dominated the local cross-country scene during her time at Elmira District, winning several all-Ontario medals. She also ruled long distance running events in track and field. Her swift pace had schools south of the border clamouring for her services. McKay chose the University of Louisville where she continues to shine.