Despite being a Golden Hawk for a short amount of time, Whitney Ellenor , a 6-3 forward for the varsity Basketball team, is already a top five leader for her team. Originally hailing from Pickering, Ont., Ellenor began her journey as an athlete during elementary school. "I first started playing basketball in grade 5 but I grew up playing soccer, volleyball, ballet - I played everything," said the first year Hawk, "But as I got older and considerably taller than the other girls, it made sense, and basketball was a better fit for me." However, it wasn't just Ellenor's height and natural skill that prompted her to become the basketball star that she is. "Kevin Hughes, a principle from my elementary school and coach, got me really into basketball. He got me involved in playing basketball and developed me into being a talented player."
Once it came down to decision time, Ellenor was one of the few Canadians offered a scholarship to play at Canisius College, a Division I school in New York. "I wanted to play in the States because it was a different experience - it's something everyone wants to do while they're growing up," added Ellenor. However, despite playing at a level that many athletes only dream of, this athlete was beginning to realize that there was more to playing NCAA basketball than meets the eye. "After playing there for a while, I realized that it wasn't the experience I wanted. The team was great, the school was great, but the coaching experience wasn't great for me," described Ellenor, going on to say, "It wasn't something I connected with there and I wanted to come back to Canada so that I could play basketball and have fun again." It was at that pivotal moment when Ellenor decided to return to Canada and pursue her basketball career in the CIS.
Continuing her pathway, Ellenor brought many lessons she learned from Canisius back to Canada. "It was so hard for me, learning how to be mentally tough enough to fight through when your'e tired and when people are yelling at you when you're not having a great practice - having to be strong enough to play through that. Its made me a better basketball player and I feel like having that mentality taught me a lot," said Ellenor.
PAUL FALCO, the head coach of the women's basketball team, was quick to recruit Ellenor to the team. "Falco was awesome, he was really excited about me coming here and the team was awesome..I knew that I would fit right in," described Ellenor, adding, "He [Falco] is a silent motivator, you get motivated off his presence and you don't need him yelling at you every day." The transition process of becoming a Golden Hawk proved to be just as smooth, despite having to sit out a year after being transferring. "School was a bit more difficult. School here is definitely a bit harder than in the States, but basketball-wise it was a very good transition."
Sitting out for a year allowed Ellenor to observe from the sidelines and further develop herself as a player. "You learn a lot about the game just from watching the players. I feel like I learned a lot from just sitting out, so by the time I got to play this year everything flowed easier," expressed the Golden Hawk.
Ellenor's experiences both on and off the court have allowed her to create strong bonds with her teammates and accredits their team successes to their chemistry. "What makes our team so special are the different personalities we have. There are no two people alike on the team and all our personalities mesh well together," maintained Ellenor, "My motivation for me is my teammates. As much as we may be struggling sometimes, we're struggling together - it makes you want to push yourself."
Elleno'rs journey to becoming an all-star athlete for the women's basketball team has been an insightful one, with no sign of slowing down. "I have a couple of years left to play in university and after I graduate I'd love to play overseas - just for the experience of traveling and doing something different. Then, maybe I'd even start coaching."