CHARLOTTETOWN – Three Island athletes who have had great success on the world stage will be recognized by Sport P.E.I. on Friday, as it hosts its annual awards banquet at the Rodd Royalty.
Finalists for the prestigious Bell Aliant senior male athlete of the year are Mark Arendz (para-nordic biathlon), Jared Connaughton (athletics) and Jeff Ellsworth (softball).
The last 12 months have been a dream come true for Hartsville’s Mark Arendz, with the paranordic biathlete winning World Cup, world championship and just recently Paralympic medals.
Arendz was crowned world champion when he won the 7.5-kilometre sprint gold medal at the worlds in Softea, Sweden (in addition to two bronze medals), and this was followed up with the overall World Cup title after he had recorded four regular-season podium finishes.
A medal favourite in Sochi, Arendz did not disappoint, and the two-time Paralympian came home with a silver in the 7.5-kilometre sprint and a bronze medal in the 12.5-kilometre event, confirming that this outstanding Island role model is, without doubt, one of the world’s very best Paralympic athletes.
Role model also sums up New Haven’s Jared Connaughton.
Despite injury setbacks in 2013, he showed that he still is one of the best sprinters in Canada.
A key member of the 4x100-metre relay team, Connaughton won gold at the Texas Relays and the Francophone Games, earning selection for the world championships before injury struck.
It wasn’t a total wasted year, however, as he won the 200 metres at the Seiko Grand Prix in Tokyo, and his 11th Canadian championship medal when he won 200-metre silver in Moncton.
Connaughton was also recognized by his hometown of Cornwall and his former college conference, and 2014 promises to be a big year for Connaughton.
The year 2013 was simply amazing for Brooklyn’s Jeff Ellsworth.
In March, Ellsworth captained Team Canada to a fifth-place finish at the International Softball Federation world championship in New Zealand, before helping his club team, the Six Nations United Hill Chiefs, win both a United States championship, and then a world title in Quad Cities, Iowa, where he hit over .300 at both events.
Back home, Ellsworth won a provincial title with O’Leary, before helping the 3 Cheers/Bud Light team from Newfoundland win a national title at the Canadian championship.
Canadian captain, a world championship, and two national titles, it was a remarkable haul of silverware for Ellsworth.