Thunder Bay – SPORTS – From October 3-5, 2019, Lakehead University and the Thunderwolves will be welcoming students, alumni, and friends back to campus to celebrate the annual Homecoming Weekend.
Lakehead Athletics is especially excited to welcome back those who have been a part of the Lakehead Wrestling team, which is entering into its 50th season. Those in attendance will also witness the Wall of Fame induction of five special individuals and one incredible team.
Established in 1996, the Lakehead Athletics’ Wall of Fame has existed to acknowledge athletes, coaches, teams and administrators who have made exceptional contributions to Lakehead Athletics over the years.
“What the Wall of Fame does is highlight our history in sport,” said Lou Pero, Chair of the Wall of Fame committee.
“By recognizing various athletes who were outstanding at Lakehead University, we are able to identify that individual for their time here and what they gave to the university and also what they gave to the community and what they gave to their sport,” Pero added.
This year’s inductees consist of one Builder, two male and two female athletes, and one team.
Lakehead Athletics is proud to announce that Ron Lappage will be inducted into the Builder category.
Ron started making his mark on the Lakehead Thunderwolves in 1972 when he joined Lakehead University as a Physical Education lecturer and as an assistant coach for the wrestling team. During his time at Lakehead, Ron represented LU on the Northwestern Ontario Hall of Fame Board of Directors, helped establish the Wall of Fame, started the LU Judo Club, served as the Acting Director of the School of P.E. and Outdoor Rec, was the Acting Director for the School of P.E. and Athletics and was Lakehead’s Director of the School of Kinesiology.
Justin BeauParlant and Andrew Ritchie are the Male Athletes being inducted this year.
Before becoming an assistant coach for the Lakehead University Wrestling team, Justin had a very successful run as a Thunderwolves wrestler. He finished his stint on the team with three CIS gold medals and one silver. Justin also made his mark on both the National and International stages, competing in the Canada Cup in 1999, earning a 12th place finish at the World Wrestling Juniors, and finishing second at the World University Games.
Much like Justin, Andrew also came from Thunder Bay to compete on the international stage when he swam his way to a seventh overall finish in the men’s 400M individual medley at the 1976 summer Olympic Games. Andrew spent five years as a member of the national swim team, starting in 1975. He joined the Lakehead University swim team in 1977, which is when he competed in the FISU Summer Games. While at Lakehead, Andrew broke national records and won many CIAU national titles. In the 1979-1980 season, Andrew was named Male Athlete of the Year.
The two female athletes being inducted are Jylisa Williams and Kelly Williams (no relation).
Before arriving at Lakehead University in 2013, Jylisa spent time playing for Georgia State University, two years in the US Army, and one season with the Olds College Broncos where she won CCAA Player of the Year. As a Thunderwolf, Jylisa had a massive impact on the Women’s Basketball team. In 2015, she broke the OUA Single-season scoring record (506 points) and the single-game scoring record (50 points). Jylisa was the leading CIS scorer with an average of 28.8 points per game. After graduating from Lakehead, Jylisa headed overseas to play professional women’s basketball for Evo New Basket Oberhausen in the German Damen Basketball Bundesliga.
Kelly was the kind of athlete who had an impact on every game she played in, even if it sometimes went unnoticed. She celebrated success as a Nor’Westers volleyball player, and as part of Team Ontario. Kelly was a member of the Lakehead women’s volleyball team from 1988-91. In her first year, she won Rookie of the Year and the following year she was named both Captain and Female Athlete of the Year. Kelly was also named the captain of the Team Ontario Canada Games Team in 1989. After university, Kelly moved to Alberta, where she spent time coaching youth volleyball between 2014 and 2019.
The 2001/2002 wrestling team will be inducted into this year’s team category.
Coach of the Year Francis Clayton, the men’s wrestling coach, found an abundance of success in the 2001-02 season as they finished third in the OUA and second at the CIS Championship, which they hosted in the same year. The 2001/02 team saw nine athletes qualify for the CIS Championship, including Devin Kirk, who wrestled his way to a first-place finish, and Steve Raine, who was named Outstanding Wrestler. The Thunderwolves finished the championship with one gold, two silver, and two bronze medals.
The Wall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Saturday, October 5 at 11:00 AM. All Lakehead alumni, students, fans, and supporters are invited to enjoy Homecoming 2019 and the special events associated with it. More information on the weekend’s schedule of events will be posted at thunderwolves.ca/alumni/homecoming-2019/.