(WINDSOR, ON) – Some said it wouldn’t get past the first year, but last night WESPY-class athletes, coaches, families, and supporters came together in Windsor to celebrate the 15th edition of the annual sporting awards originally conceived by Dominic Papa. The gala reception for the best of Windsor and Essex County was held at the Caboto Club with a record breaking crowd in attendance.

On the heels of their OPFL Varsity Championship, the Essex County Ravens were named the Team of the Year at the 2020 WESPY Awards on 10 March in Windsor. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)
On the heels of their OPFL Varsity Championship, the Essex County Ravens were named the Team of the Year at the 2020 WESPY Awards on 10 March in Windsor. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)

“I didn’t know it wouldn’t get past one, but we believed in it. We had a concept and over the years we’ve developed it and today we have over six hundred people here,” said Papa prior to last night’s ceremonies. “I think it’s gone in the right direction. I think we’re doing OK.”

The 2020 Class included Team of the Year Essex County Ravens varsity football team in the aftermath of their first Ontario Provincial Football League title in 2019. Additionally, Ravens coach Glen Mills picked up top honours in the coaching category.

Bedecked in his teal shirt and Essex Ravens tie, head coach Glen Mills took home the coach of the year award at the 15th annual WESPY Awards in Windsor on 10 March 2020. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)
Bedecked in his teal shirt and Essex Ravens tie, head coach Glen Mills took home the coach of the year award at the 15th annual WESPY Awards in Windsor on 10 March 2020. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)

It was fitting that the Ravens picked up the wins with the Detroit Lions great Herman Moore in the house as the night’s keynote speaker.

“What I’ve learned – how not to be complacent, humble yourself, to build character, to be honest, to go out and do what ever’s necessary – is put yourself first,” Moore told the audience. “But you can bring a team mentality to the table because you’ve got to be the best you in everything you do in life.”

Herman Moore played 145 over 10 seasons with the Detroit Lions as a wide receiver. He made 670 catches for 1,135 yards and 62 touchdowns. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)
Herman Moore played 145 games over 10 seasons with the Detroit Lions as a wide receiver. He made 670 catches for 1,135 yards and 62 touchdowns. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)

Taking home the hardware for male and female athletes of the year were Pierce Johnson from Windsor Lancers Volleyball and St Anne’s High School’s multi-sport phenom Ashley Ditchfield. Both Johnson and Ditchfield walked away with the volleyball awards as well.

Pierce Johnson and Ashley Ditchfield were each presented with the male and female volleyball players of the year award as well as the overall male and female athletes of the year at the 2020 WESPYS. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)
Pierce Johnson and Ashley Ditchfield were each presented with the male and female volleyball players of the year award as well as the overall male and female athletes of the year at the 2020 WESPYS. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)

Julie Ann Milling, from the St Clair Saints volleyball team, was presented with the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Leadership Award while Tom Bain and Mark Williams were co-winners of the Ken Dryden Executive of the Year Award.

Julie-Ann Milling of the St Clair Saints women's volleyball team received the 2020 Mickey Renaud Captain’s Leadership Award at 15th annual WESPY Awards. The Woodstock native played with both the Stratford Stingers and the Waterloo Tigers as wel as a year at the University of Windsor. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)
Julie-Ann Milling of the St Clair Saints women’s volleyball team received the 2020 Mickey Renaud Captain’s Leadership Award at 15th annual WESPY Awards. The Woodstock native played with both the Stratford Stingers and the Waterloo Tigers as wel as a year at the University of Windsor. (Photo by Ian Shalapata)

WESPY WINNERS

MALEFEMALE
SoccerMike ZivcicDanica Paesano
BasketballAkot AkenJana Kucera
VolleyballPierce JohnsonAshley Ditchfield
HockeyJean – Luc FoudyKira Juodikis
FootballCody Holmes
BaseballJack Zimmerman
SoftballRya Cowan
ParasportJulia Lane
Track & FieldMilan LobanKarlie Moore and Krystalann Bechard
SwimmingBrendan OswaldMadelyn Gatrall
Figure SkatingAlison Schumacher
GolfTyler HurtubiseJasmine Ly
WrestlingRoger LiSelena Renaud
GymnasticsSarah Parent
HorsemanGord McDonnell
VolunteerMarty KerresterMary Ewer
CourageWindsor Wildcats’ Intermediate BB Hockey
Community ServiceJennifer Belair
LegacyEd PetryshynPat Harrison