LAWN, N.L. – Brent Hennebury says most people only know him for his skills on the soccer pitch.
The 18-year-old, who is winding down his high school days this month at Holy Name of Mary Academy (HNMA) in Lawn, is in his third season with the St. Lawrence Laurentians of the provincial Challenge Cup men’s soccer league. He also recently committed to play men’s soccer for the Memorial University’s Sea-Hawks.
But soccer – the indoor and outdoor varieties – were only two of eight sports Hennebury played throughout the past school year. He was also a member of HNMA’s slo-pitch softball, cross country, volleyball, basketball, ball hockey and badminton teams.
HNMA’s indoor and outdoor soccer teams as well as the basketball team won School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador (SSNL) Varsity provincial championships for their respective categories.
For his accomplishments, Hennebury was named as the SSNL Varsity program’s Brother G.I. Moore Male Athlete of the Year for 2018 at the organization’s annual banquet June 8 in St. John’s.
The award, named after one of SSNL’s founders, is presented to the male and female student-athletes who best exemplify the ideals of sportsmanship and excellence in their high school sports careers, and demonstrate well-rounded athletic abilities and academic distinction.
For Hennebury, whose schoolmate Donald Pretty was runner-up for the award, the fact the honour covers so many sports – not just soccer – was a satisfying achievement.
“I was pretty proud of it,” he told the Southern Gazette in a recent phone interview.
Playing so many different sports meant Hennebury’s plate was pretty full all year but he managed to make it work, he said.
“It’s kind of scheduled so that as soon as one (sport) ends, another one starts. So, nothing ever clashes, but you’re pretty busy,” he acknowledged.
Soccer still tops the list
While Hennebury might have an affection for a variety of sports, soccer does top the list, he admits, and he will be getting his fill of the sport in the coming months.
Hennebury said he’s gained a lot of experience playing in the Challenge Cup league.
“Most people are still older than me. I’m the second youngest on the (Laurentians) now,” he said.
“I settled in pretty quick, so it’s just soccer to me now. I’m not intimidated by anyone older than me or anything. I’m used to it now.”
Hennebury has been playing soccer since he was four, following his older brother, Kyle Edwards, into the sport.
“My mom just kind of threw me into it, and it was just something I really got into,” he said.
Though he’s quite capable of finding the back of the net – he scored a dramatic game winner in extra time to propel St. Lawrence to victory in the Challenge Cup championship game in 2016 when he was just 16 – Hennebury said he finds more enjoyment in being a setup man.
“To be honest, I like assisting goals more than scoring goals,” he said.
Hennebury said he’s looking forward to joining the Sea-Hawks later in the summer as the team gears up for a new season.
“I had interest from a couple universities, but I wanted to stay home really,” he said.
In addition to being able to play in front of family and friends, Hennebury, who was the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccor Association’s (NLSA) Junior Player of the Year for 2016, said there’s another bonus.
“A lot of the guys (on the Sea-Hawks) I’ve played Canada Games with and come up through the provincial teams with, so I know most of them,” he said.
Lamaline teacher selected for School Sports NL’s Honour Award
LAMALINE, N.L. – Marc Pittman has received School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador’s (SSNL) Honour Award for 2018.
The award, which was presented during the organization’s annual banquet in St. John’s on June 8, recognizes commitment and dedication to school athletics.
“It was unexpected but definitely appreciated,” Pittman told the Southern Gazette.
Pittman, a long-time member of the St. Lawrence Laurentians men’s senior soccer team, is a physical education teacher and vice principal at St. Joseph’s Academy in Lamaline.
Prior to his eight years in Lamaline, he taught at St. Joseph’s All-Grade in Terrenceville for two years, starting up the athletics program at that school.
“I mainly coach soccer and ball hockey but I dab into everything,” he said.
Pittman has coached four provincial champions in soccer and ball hockey – two from St. Joseph’s Academy and two more from St. Lawrence Academy.
Since he’s been at St. Joseph’s Academy, the school’s teams have won over 20 regional tournaments.
“The kids love sports here, so hopefully it keeps going now for another couple years at least,” he said.