Hometown heroes ready to shine at Paint the Meridian Red

MEDIA RELEASE: November 21 2023 – R0111

The upcoming showdown between the Brock Badgers and McMaster Marauders men’s and women’s basketball teams is poised to transform the Meridian Centre into a sea of red on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Paint the Meridian Red transcends the basketball court; it’s a celebration of community and hometown pride, according to Brock women’s basketball head coach, Mike Rao.

“For these student-athletes, stepping onto the Meridian Centre court isn’t merely about a basketball game,” he said. “It’s a chance to create enduring memories, cementing their connection with their roots and leaving a mark on the vibrant sports tapestry of Niagara.”

Paint the Meridian Red will feature a group of student-athletes hailing from various corners of the Niagara region: Shailah Adams from Welland; Madalyn Weinert, Brookelyn Keltos, Jamie Addy, Allison Addy and Anthony Heyes representing St. Catharines; Vienna Vercesi from Niagara Falls; and Ilijana Vukovic and Aleksija Vukovic from Grimsby.

The Badgers haven’t hosted Paint the Meridian Red since 2020, leaving current players yearning for the electrifying ambiance of competing beneath the radiant Meridian Centre lights.

Yet, for the Niagara-born talents on Brock’s teams, this event signifies more than just a game; it symbolizes the embodiment of aspirations and dreams cherished by athletes from the region.

“Growing up around here, you look forward to attending sporting events at the Meridian Centre,” said Keltos, a first-year shooting guard. “It’s a special arena which embodies the pride and spirit of Niagara.”

Having witnessed the intensity and excitement of a previous Paint the Meridian Red game from the stands, Keltos experienced first-hand the fan-fuelled atmosphere that defines these matchups while cheering on her sister, Samantha Keltos, competing for the Badgers.

“The atmosphere in the arena was amazing. My family, friends and I bought court-side seats and had cut-out faces of my sister. It was a great time,” she said. “The excitement in our section was crazy. Now this event is a full-circle moment for me; I will be a part of the team and not in the crowd. I’m so excited about this game and can’t wait to see everyone there.”

Heyes, a first-year Kinesiology student, echoed Keltos’ sentiment, acknowledging the thrill of playing such a significant game in front of a Meridian Centre crowd.

“Playing a big game in front of a big crowd as a hometown kid is a unique opportunity — one that’s very special to me,” Heyes said. “I’m excited and can’t wait to see my friends, family and fellow students cheering us on out there.”

The women’s game will tip off at 6 p.m. with the men following at 8 p.m. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.ca.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University dhunt2@brocku.ca or 905-941-6209

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