By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
SCARBOROUGH, ONT.- After two months in which the Centennial Colts Athletes of the Month presented to you by: St Louis Bar and Grill honours went to athletes of the same sport (soccer in September, cross-country in October), November marked the first month in which the male and female honours didn’t come from one sport itself.
The start of 2019 saw many of the Centennial Colts teams back in action with indoor soccer, volleyball, badminton, and basketball in terms of varsity sports after a quiet December.
January’s edition saw Kyrin Henlin (men’s basketball) and Paige Solda (women’s indoor soccer) received this month’s honours, for Male and Female Athletes of the Month, respectively.
With 2018 in the rearview mirror and 2019 now underway, time to take a look at how both of these athletes have fared this season.
In November, we went into depth about rookie Isaiah Cromwell-Wright and how his scoring has provided a spark to this young Colts team.
This time, Henlin gets the spotlight. Except you could say that he goes how the defence goes.
Injuries to centres Dieu Merci Betoukoumessou and Darnell Richards to start off the season put Henlin as well as forward Edose Etomi into unfamiliar territory as both players were forced to play as de facto bigs. The lineup of Isaiah Adeboboye, Cromwell-Wright, Ian Francis, Etomi, and Henlin got Centennial off to a 3-0 start.
“Kyrin has done a great job accepting his role and challenge,” Trevor Challenger, Colts Head Coach said. “He’s had a few adversity moments but all learning experiences.”
If there were some things that Challenger would like Henlin to work on, he said, “We think he can increase his strength, offensive rebounding and his defensive presence.”
As a first year combo guard from Pickering, Ont., Henlin has done everything this Colts team could ask for from him, averaging 13.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 spg and 1.5 bpg on 39.8/28.1/72.9. He is ranked first in rebounding, steals, and blocks and second in scoring for Centennial.
In the two games that Henlin didn’t play, Centennial gave up a total of 190 points on the road to Georgian and Loyalist. In the 13 games that Henlin has played, however, the Colts have given up 70.2 ppg; that would be good for four in the OCAA behind the Seneca Sting, George Brown Huskies, and the Durham Lords.
Henlin provided the signature moment, perhaps of the 2018-19 OCAA season thus far in front of a packed house on Oct. 25, 2018, at home against the rival Sting, hitting a triple with a second left to go to propel the Colts to a 72-71 win, ending a nearly two-year regular season winning streak for Seneca.
“It felt amazing; probably the best feeling you could ever experience,” Henlin said excitedly as he reminisced being mobbed at centre court after the shot. “I’ve never experienced anything like that in my entire life. Definitely at the top of my list.”
The highlight performance of Henlin’s brief Colts career thus far came on Nov. 17, 2018 at home against the Huskies, with a statline of 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and four steals despite the home team falling 67-60.
Henlin looks towards achieving his goal of becoming the OCAA’s best two-way player this season as the second half of this season rolls along and hopefully be a key cog in leading Centennial back to provincials and maybe further.
For Solda, the opportunity to shine came at an unlikely moment. During an indoor soccer tournament held at Redeemer College last weekend, the Centennial Colts women’s team came into the first game with an injured goalkeeper and lost their first game, 4-1.
“After we lost the first game, Paige volunteered to go in net in the next game versus St. Clair,” Diarmuid O’Connor, Colts Head Coach, said about what transpired next.
During their next match against the St. Clair Saints, who were the eventual winners of the tournament, Solda made several outstanding saves as both teams played to a 0-0 draw.
In their final two games after that, Centennial won one (2-0) and tied one (0-0) as Solda had three shutouts in the three games that she played in net during the tournament.
“She was brave and fearless in net,” O’Connor said.
As a fifth year defender from Waterdown, Ont., Solda has held down the back fort of the Lady Colt defense for the entirety of her post-secondary career. Solda has made it her priority to prevent the opponent from scoring except this time around, she was allowed to use her hands.
After wrapping up her outdoor soccer career, we would only hope that Solda’s indoor soccer career ends in style.
Congratulations to both Henlin and Solda for earning the Centennial Colts Athletes of the Month presented to you by: St Louis Bar and Grill once again as their hard work and perseverance this month has come to fruition.
Special thanks to our partners, St. Louis Bar and Grill, Scarborough. Both athletes will receive a gift certificate to its location at 55 Town Centre Court, Suite #101.