Normally, I would use this space to rant and rave about the going’s on in the world of sports.
Or I would take my word allotment and use it to give thanks to the numerous volunteers who help me get local sports results out to the masses.
But what I’d like to do this week is use my column to highlight the achievements of the young men and women who did Central Alberta proud at the recent Canada Winter Games.
The games, held every four years, wrapped up this past weekend in Halifax with Alberta finishing the event fourth overall in the medal count.
Alberta sent 337 athletes, coaches, managers, artists and mission staff to Nova Scotia, with those athletes picking up 75 medals, including 20 gold, 25 silver, and 30 bronze.
One of those gold medals came from Alberta’s Under-18 female hockey team, which finished in first at the games for the first time since 1991, beating Team Ontario 3-2 in a thrilling final.
The U18 squad featured two Central Albertans, those being Innisfail native Taryn Baumgardt and Hannah Mousek, from Olds, who both play for the Sutter Fund Chiefs of the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League.
Red Deer’s Jocelyn Peterman grabbed one of Alberta’s silver medals, finishing in second place in Women’s Curling.
Brittany Tran, also from Red Deer, and Becca Konschuh of Sundre were also part of the Peterman rink, as was coach Nancy McInerny of Red Deer.
Alberta’s ringette squad, which included Lacombe natives Jamie Bell and Lindsay Brown as well as Brea Beck of Red Deer, took home a silver medal, after a tough 8-7 loss to Team Ontario in the final.
Synchronized swimmer Lisa Dahlke, from Red Deer, helped Team Alberta win silver, while Red Deer’s Kira Mercereau won two medals in archery, taking silver in the team event and bronze in the individual compound competition.
Kendyll McIlroy, from Red Deer, competed in target shooting, winning bronze in the Team Air Pistol event, while finishing in 13th in the individual air pistol contest.
Emily Caine and Sarah Caine also taking part in target shooting, with Sarah finishing in sixth in the individual air pistol and Emily coming in 10th in the same event.
Both Red Deer natives also carded a sixth place finish in the Team air pistol competition.
Alberta’s Under-16 boys hockey team, coached by Red Deer’s Trevor Keeper, also had a good showing, winning bronze by beating Team Quebec in the third place game.
Justin Fesyk, from Sylvan, also served as Director of Operations for the U16’s, while Red Deer’s Mike Kraichy was tasked with managerial duties.
And while those were the Central Albertans who brought home medals from Nova Scotia, several other athletes just missed out on the podium.
Red Deer’s Garrett Northey, who competes with the Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club, finished in fourth in Aerials, seventh in the Halfpipe, 10th in Moguls, and 11th in the Dual Moguls.
In short track speed skating, Brooke Pearman and Maddison Pearman, both from Red Deer, finished in fourth in the 3,000 m team relay event.
Individually, Brooke finished in 20th in the 500 m event and 24th in the 1,500 m, while Maddison came in 16th in the 1,000 m, 19th in the Super 1,500 m, 31st in the 1,500 m and 32nd in the 500 m.
In judo, Red Deer’s Mark Antonio ended up fifth in the 81-90 kg men’s event, while Jaquina Simao, who also hails from Red Deer, also finished in fifth in the 57-63 kg women’s contest.
Lacombe boxer Nicholas Grocock carded a 5th place finish in 69-75 kg men’s match, while Bryce Chudak, from Rocky Mountain House, finished in 5th in the pre-novice men’s figure skating.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention other coaches and staff who headed East, those being Red Deer’s Mike Klass and Danielle Black-Fortin, who went as mission staff.
Red Deer’s Lisa Henderson managed Alberta’s squash team, Sylvan’s Amo Baron coached the target shooters, and Bob Carswell, of Red Deer, took care of the boxers.
As you can see, Central Albertans had quite the impact on how Alberta did at the games, and I just wanted to make sure their contributions were recognized.