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Western Reserve Academy hockey player wins Gold Medal

Published: March 24, 2014 12:54 PM
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Staff report

Western Reserve Academy senior Robbie Markwell capped off a record-breaking season in ice hockey by earning a Gold Medal at the winter Athletic Awards Ceremony.

Markwell becomes the sixth ice hockey player to earn the award -- the school's highest athletic honor. He finished the season with a school-record 58 goals and 80 points and closed out his WRA career as the school's leader in goals with 143 and points with 191.

He helped lead the Pioneers to a 20-win season and the team's first Baron Cup title in 12 years and was named to the first team for both the All-White Division and All-Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League teams.

While his career numbers are remarkable, Markwell's team-first approach is just as memorable.

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"I didn't see [the award] coming," Markwell said. "I was a bit surprised when I didn't win the Most Valuable Player award, but I thought it was great that Christian [Ciraco] and Sam [LaFontaine] won the award and I was happy for them. I was just satisfied that we had won the Baron Cup this year.

"I'd like to thank the coaches for honoring me with the award, my parents for supporting me through years and years of sports and my teammates for such an awesome season."

In presenting the award, longtime ice hockey coach Brand Closen credited Markwell for his leadership skills.

"Robbie has great hands and a great shot," Closen said. "But he did more than just lead on the ice. He helped our younger players along, showing them what he saw and what they should try to do to be better.

"He is not a big talker. He is quiet in the locker room and pretty quiet on the bench. But Robbie leads by doing and shows by example. Robbie will be missed. He has been a good captain for me for two years and has been a great player for all three years that he has been here."

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Markwell, who started playing ice hockey at age 5, saw his game mature during his three years at WRA, especially this season as the improved talent on the team allowed him to focus on being more of an all-around player.

"When I came here for my sophomore year, there were a lot of eyes on me to score goals and help the team offensively," he said. "I embraced that pressure and I have always given my all during the games.

"This year was different, though, because we have a better team. For example, Sam [who scored 41 goals] allowed me to put more focus on getting the puck and playing defense, rather than just what was happening on the offensive end."

Even with the awards and Baron Cup win, Markwell said the best part of playing ice hockey at WRA is the relationships that develop on the team.

"This is not like a public school where everyone goes their separate ways each day," he said. "At WRA, we live together, eat lunch together and spend time together, which helps you form relationships with not only your teammates, but also your coaches."

In addition to ice hockey, Markwell is a talented lacrosse player and co-captain of the WRA boys team. He will continue his lacrosse career in college after signing a national letter of intent with Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky.

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