• Nick Zacharias

John Abbott player gets a kick at the NCAA


PHOTO BY PAUL TZIMOPOULOS

The John Abbott Islanders’ star kicker/punter Troy Lendvay, a Saint-Lazare resident, is off to Alabama A&M University on a full athletic scholarship to play for the Bulldogs, a team in the Southwestern Athletic Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Troy Lendvay, currently a resident of Saint-Lazare and student at John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Belleview, will be calling a new place ‘home’ next fall. A star kicker/punter with The Islanders football team, Lendvay has earned a full athletic scholarship for 2020 that will take him all the way down to Alabama A&M University.

“I’m really excited,” said Lendvay who had the chance to go to Huntsville, Alabama and see where he’ll be playing next season. While down there in January he got to try on the maroon and white of the Alabama A&M Bulldogs and get a first taste of what life will be like playing for the team who are in the Southwestern Athletic Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). With tens of thousands of screaming fans crowding into Louis Crews stadium for home games, it will certainly be a change for him.

The scholarship is a full ride – meaning it covers tuition, living space in the dorm, school materials and other living expenses, including (exciting for any 20-year-old athlete) “…unlimited swipes on a card for food on campus,” said Lendvay.

Though he started kicking footballs with his dad, ‘Coach’ Mike Lendvay, at six years of age on a field by his grandmother’s house, it was not always apparent that he would develop so far as to earn a football scholarship.

PHOTO COURTESY MIKE LENDVAY

Saint-Lazare resident Troy Lendvay is trading in the blue and white football uniform of the John Abbott Islanders and is heading down south to play for the Alabama A&M Bulldogs on a full athletic scholarship.

“I played for the Saint-Lazare Stallions from 2010 to 2017 but when I started I was really never a star,” said Lendvay. It may have had to do with the fact that, because of where his birthday falls, he spent a lot of time competing against players who were two years older. “I was playing against big guys with beards when I was 14.”

But with the helpful guidance of coaches like Benoît Drouin and Pierdomenico St-vil, Lendvay began to come into his potential. The Stallions brought in Gerry McGrath, former head coach of the Concordia Stingers, who really helped him come into his own. Said Lendvay, “He’s the best kicking coach in eastern Canada, if not the whole country, and he helped me get to the next level. By then I had a big leg, but it was a wild cannon; he toned it down and got it under control.”

During his years at John Abbott College, Lendvay was happy to have the support of his coach Pat Gregory. “He believed in me. Nothing was given easily and I had to work for it, but he gave me opportunities. By my third year he had the confidence to give me a chance.” In his last year at Abbott, Lendvay was ranked highly in the league and got the exposure he needed to attract the eyes of U.S. college scouts, and will be heading south in the fall.

Of course, this means the work is just beginning for Lendvay. He’ll have to perform both academically and athletically to hold onto his ticket.

“I have to maintain a 2.8 grade point average, and I have to stay healthy,” says Lendvay, but he has confidence he can do it. He’s even looking ahead to the possibility of playing professionally down the road, saying, “Hopefully, in four more years, we can have another talk.”

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