Persistence is Key: Roburt Welch Jr. is Clarkson University

Bound on an Academic Scholarship

By Gregory L. Gamble II

This fall, Roburt Welch Jr. will be attending Clarkson University on a Full Academic Scholarship to study Electrical Engineering. Welch, a product of St. Francis High School, where he participated in track as a high, long and triple jumper and basketball as a starting small forward, will also be playing basketball at Clarkson University under Head Coach Jeff Gorski. 

Welch is the epitome of what it means to be a student-athlete. He has defied odds on and off of the court. On the court, Roburt Welch Jr. helped lead St. Francis High School to the Manhattan Cup Final for the first time since 2007, the first regular season title in the Monsignor Martin Association since 2000, and the school's first ever #1 local ranking for a period during the regular season. 

Off of the court and in the classroom, Welch looks to join an elite group. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2016 there were a total of 293 employed minority (Black/African American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino) electrical engineers in the country. Of those 293 employed electrical engineers, 7.5 percent or 22 employed electrical engineers were African American or Black. 

With all of Welch’s success, it would be natural to assume he’s just a gifted young man who’s been provided the necessary resources. Don’t be fooled. Hard work and persistence is what has gotten Welch to this point in his life along with unwavering support from his mother and father. 

After Welch’s sophomore season at St. Francis High School, he decided he wanted to take his basketball game to the next level. He began training with Odds2Beat, Inc. and Eurowe Training, two of the city’s finest basketball skill development companies, to develop his game individually. His coaching staff at St. Francis, which consists of Head Coach Brian Ferris and assistant coach Antwan Anderson, pushed Welch to accept a bigger role on the team and set their expectations high for Welch. With the elevation of his basketball game, Welch was passionately warned with urgency that his academics must match his basketball aspirations. When asked what was some of his greatest challenges as a student-athlete at St. Francis, Welch stated that some of his biggest development pieces were maturity and discipline. “I had to grow up and mature. I learned from people who came before me. I had to learn how to take criticism. I had to increase my IQ on and off of the court.” Welch stated that he struggled with Chemistry and Geometry his sophomore year and decided that he didn’t want to struggle anymore so he made changes. “I had to study everyday! Normally, I could cruise through school, but the teachers expectations at St. Francis were high and I realized that in order to be successful, studying hard needed to be a priority.” 

Welch’s advice for the student-athletes looking to follow in his footsteps, “Never give up, no matter how hard it could be. You never know where working hard could get you.” He then added specifically to basketball players, “Don’t use basketball as a way out. Use basketball as a tool.” 

What can we expect from Welch at Clarkson academically and athletically?                             “I’m going to push myself in everything that I do. Clarkson is a tough school and it wont be easy but I’ll keep developing.” 

Welch thanks his mother, Leticia Otis, and father, Robert Welch Jr., for their support and putting him through school at St. Francis. He is extremely grateful and glad to have had the opportunity to play at such a high level in high school. 

Roburt Welch Jr. has left us all astonished with his recent accomplishments. I speak on behalf of all of Western New York when I say, Roburt we are behind you! You’ve Got Odds2Beat! 

Greg Gamble

Greg Gamble

Follow Our Basketball Columnist Gregory L. Gamble II on all social media outlets at Odds2Beat or visit www.odds2beat.com for the latest updates. 

Ballin' for a Cause Set to Host it's 10th Annual Event

at Buffalo Riverworks

Ballin for a Cause (BFAC), a youth-serving nonprofit organization in Western New York, is set to host its 10th Annual Balllin For a Cause national basketball tournament and World Games, May 19-21, at Buffalo Riverworks. During it's live press conference back in March, Mayor Byron Brown presented the organization with a proclamation declaring the annual event the official "Ballin for a Cause Weekend."  

BFAC also announced that it will partner with Medaille College on its "Big 4" Initiative, making Medaille an exclusive collegiate partner for 2017, presenting three qualifying high school students with $7,500 in scholarship funds toward the 2017/2018 academic school year.

“We are proud of our history with giving back and working with our local community and truly excited about new programs that will launch in 2017,” said Lindsey Taylor, founder and CEO, Ballin for a Cause. “Medaille College will be a great partner to have and adds much value to our programs and impact on young people’s lives.”

The 10th Annual Ballin For a Cause weekend will host 800+ players from all over the World and entertain thousands of spectators throughout the weekend featuring Men's ,Women's, Youth and World Games division. The games are scheduled to tip off Friday 19th from 6pm-10pm , Saturday 20th 8am-6pmand conclude with Championship day Sunday 21st 8am-6pm. 

Confirmed World Games participating teams: United States, Canada, Puerto Rico , Dominican Republic , Philippines , Cambodia , Tonga , Liberia , Somalia,  First Nations , Jamaica and Haiti. 

Confirmed National Championship participating teams: Toronto , Boston , Seattle, Ann Arbor , Cleveland , Columbus , New York City , Pittsburgh , Erie Syracuse , Rochester , Buffalo and more. The weekend will also include the BFAC x G Cope Fitness 3k Race on Saturday May 20th at 8:00pm and BFAC Big 4 Achievement Awardsat 6:00pm which honors the Gentlemen Institute graduates, Scholarship recipients, Community members featuring guest speaker Basketball Legend Pee Wee Kirkland.

2017 Season: Ed Parson Sunday Morning Softball League Recruiting

By Renata Toney 

        Renata Toney

        Renata Toney

The Ed Parson, Sr. Sunday Morning Memorial Softball League is now recruiting teams for its 58th season that kicks off Sunday, May 22, 11 a.m. at the field named in his honor on Fillmore Avenue between East Delavan and Kensington Avenues. 

“Our league has always had a philosophy of inclusion; we welcome players of all athletic abilities, genders and experience levels,” said newly appointed Commissioner Demetrius Richards. “We would love to see more bar owners, healthcare workers, Buffalo firefighters and police officers, corrections officers, City of Buffalo and Erie County staff. Everyone is welcome.” 

Teams are required to have between 12 – 20 members and the cost is $500 per team. This is a 10-team league and already nearly eight teams have confirmed their intent to play. If you don’t have enough people to make a team you can add your name to the “individuals” list.  The only equipment required is bats. The league provides softballs and most teams have enough bats to share. Most teams get sponsors to buy shirts as well. All games have umpires which is $20 per team per game.

The City Of Buffalo recently doubled the price for people to play in softball leagues at the city parks. “We’re looking for sponsors to help offset operation fees and to present the annual end of season picnic,“ said deputy commissioner Sonya Fields. “We also welcome donations to help sustain the legacy of the league.”

Deadline for team registration is Sunday, May 7. If you’re interested in coming aboard as a team, sponsor or supporting us with a donation, please contact us at (716) 308-1899 or edparsonsoftball@yahoo.com or drich342@yahoo.com.