JOANNE BERENTSON (BINGHAM)
ATHLETE - VOLLEYBALL
Berentson played pretty much every sport imaginable, but Clatworthy’s saw a lot of potential in his area of expertise. “He said he was going to make a volleyball player out of me,” Berentson recalls. He would deliver on that promise.
She followed that up with playing with the Canadian national team at the world championships, and later having a pro career in Europe.
“I thought maybe I could play in college, and you always knew Team Canada was out there,” Berentson said. “It opened up so much for me. I didn’t even know pro volleyball existed when I was in high school.”
Berentson, who now lives in Arizona, also wasn’t aware there was a Halton Hills Sports Museum Hall of Fame until she found out she had been nominated.
After leading Georgetown to the OFSAA championship in 1986, Berentson accepted a scholarship to Western Michigan University at a time when athletic scholarships to U.S. colleges for Canadians were not common outside of hockey.
“Some of them have disappeared, which is fine,” she said. “I’m surprised I’m even still on the board.” And while some of her marks have been surpassed, she still ranks among the top 10 career kills, service aces and points per set.
She also signed on to play professionally in Europe, first in Switzerland and then France. Berentson still considers those years a career highlight. “It was exciting getting to experience a different culture,” she said. “I got to meet people from all over the world and play against some of the people I had played against in the U.S.”
“I just loved playing volleyball,” Berentson said. “It was always the most comfortable place for me.”