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ALBERTA SITS FOURTH IN MEDAL STANDINGS AS WEEK 1 OF CANADA SUMMER GAMES ENDS
Women’s Beach takes gold, Basketball silver, Baseball bronze; Athletics and Rowing add to tally
(Winnipeg, MB) What a day for Alberta athletes competing in Winnipeg, MB at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Alberta added 17 medals to its tally, thanks to a 10-medal day in Athletics and a 4-medal performance in Rowing.
The last day of week 1 competition also featured medal matches for most team sports. The women’s beach volleyball team earned the gold medal by defeating Ontario, while the men’s basketball team won silver. The baseball team ended their tournament with a powerful offense to take home the bronze medal.
After a week full of great accomplishments, Team Alberta currently sits in fourth place in the medal standings with 35 medals (6 gold, 13 silver, 16 bronze).
In the first of two competition weeks, Alberta won medals in diving, rowing, athletics, cycling, volleyball, baseball, and basketball.
BIG DAY FOR ATHLETICS: ALBERTA TAKES HOME 10 MEDALS, INCLUDING 3 GOLD
The final day of competition featured lots of events in athletics at the University of Manitoba Stadium. Alberta came out with a strong showing of 10 medals on this last day of the athletics meet: three gold, four silver, and three bronze medals.
In the 800m, Edmonton’s Marco Arop took the gold in a photo-finish, posting a time of 1:49.23. Alexander Eiswerth of Saskatchewan came in second place, at 1:49.92.
Sandy Latrace of Duchess, AB won gold in the Women’s Long Jump event with a jump of 6.19 meters, setting a new Canada Games record. Latrace, 20, also won the event at the 2016 Canadian Junior National Championships.
Brian Hnatiw of Sherwood Park, AB, took the gold medal in the men’s para shot, throwing at 15.44 meters. The 29-year-old athlete is competing in his first year in Athletics.
Celebrating his birthday, Russell Pennock of Calgary, AB, won the silver in the men’s 5000m with a time of 14:27.42. He is a returning athlete from the 2013 Canada Games, where he had won silver and bronze in triathlon.
Sarah Mickey, 19 of Redcliff, AB, won the silver medal in the women’s para shot put event, throwing a personal best of 6.20 meters. Mickey earned her second medal of these games, winning the bronze medal in the para discus event earlier this week.
In the women’s discus event, Gabrielle Rains of Sherwood Park, AB, took home the silver medal with a best throw of 49.27 meters. In doing so, the 18-year-old shattered the previous Canadian Junior record of 52.52 meters, which she had set prior to the Games. She represented Canada at the World Youth Championships (2015) and World Junior Championships (2016).
In the men’s 4x400m relay race, Alberta narrowly missed the gold medal, settling for silver. The four-member team posted a time of 3:13:31, while British Columbia took the gold stopping the clock at 3:13.18.
Austin Ost, 21, of Calgary, AB, jumped 7.07 meters to win the bronze medal in the men’s long jump event. The current EMT hopes to become a firefighter and join Calgary fire department within the next few years.
Hailey Hitchings of Edmonton, AB, posted her career best time of 13.77 seconds in the women’s 100m hurdles, taking home the bronze medal.
Kira Kopec of Brooks, AB, finished third in the grueling Heptathlon, earning the bronze medal for Alberta. The 21-year-old tallied a score of 4950 points throughout seven various events contested over two days.
Athletics was the biggest contributor to Alberta’s medal count in this first week of competition, totaling 18 medals including four gold.
BEACH LADIES DOMINANT IN WINNING GOLD MEDAL, BEACH BOYS TAKES FOURTH
The Beach Volleyball ladies secured the gold medal for Alberta in dominant fashion, beating the squad from Ontario. In front of a capacity crowd at Sargent Park Beach Volleyball Center, Kate Pexman and Olivia Furlan came out to the sand and showed no mercy to their opponents from Ontario, winning in straight sets 22-20 and 21-14.
The strong team dominated their semifinals yesterday against British Columbia and continued their momentum in today’s final match.
In the first set, Alberta started out of the blocks roaring, but Ontario rallied to come back and evened the score at 10. After a consistent exchange of leads, Alberta won the set. Alberta fans, including both athlete’s sets of parents, cheered hard to support the ladies, and the energy paid off. Alberta easily took the second set to win the gold medal.
“We are so excited. There is a little bit of relief as we had a lot of expectations coming into the week. It’s pretty awesome that it all came together,” said a happy Pexman.
Furlan added: “That first set is so critical. It’s not like you’re going to throw in the towel if you lose the first set and stop battling, but it does bring a breath of fresh air to have that monkey off your back.”
The ladies had shown dominance since the tightly contested third set of the last pool game against British Columbia. “Both of us really thrive in front of intensity and pressure,” said Furlan. “The crowd gives us more energy than added pressure. We are used to playing in front of big crowds with our varsity teams in indoor volleyball. When we come to the beach, it’s exciting as we are so much more a part of the game with just the two of us.”
Interestingly, the duo won the gold medal at their first tournament competing together. Until a few months ago, the duo trained independently, and the team was formed for these Canada Games.
The beach boys, playing for the bronze medal, dropped their matchup against Ontario in two straight sets, settling for fourth place in the tournament.
MEN’S BASKETBALL WINS SILVER MEDAL IN FRONT OF PACKED HOUSE
In men’s basketball action, all eyes were turned on the much-anticipated televised gold medal game between the powerful team from Ontario and the underdogs of Alberta.
Ontario started in force, taking a 15-point lead early in the game. However, Alberta never gave up and kept fighting. The hard work paid off as Alberta managed to keep the gap at 13 points heading into the locker room.
The second half continued to be an all-Ontario affair. Missing two of their top starters due to injury, Alberta rallied together, but the sheer power of the Ontario team proved to be too much.
Once the dust settled, Alberta came away with the silver medal, dropping the final 108-65.
Coach Clay Pottinger, a teacher at Red Deer College, is proud of the overall accomplishments of his team. “Our main objective here was to play a style of basketball that we had been working on for the last six weeks. The second objective for us was to ensure we were peaking at the right time. It was quite important to follow our periodization plan and arrive here prepared. That definitely played into our performance here.”
The team prepared much differently for this tournament than what they were used to, selecting their teams on June 24 after a single selection camp. “It was a bit of a gamble shortening up the preparation. We wanted to make sure we wouldn’t burn up the athletes,” explained the former player from the University of Alberta.
And the key to success was all about defense. “We have been defending well, and that’s something we’ve emphasized from square one. We wanted to make sure we defended well, and that’s what set us up for success here.”
“There was a lot of changes at Basketball Alberta in the last year. We’ve had lots of coaching changes, lots of kids turning around. We approached our team selection a little bit differently, and that’s what made the difference for us. We have the hardest working kids in the province right here.”
Impressively, this silver medal is a remarkable victory for Alberta’s men, who finished a disappointing 10th place, second last, at the last Canada Games in Sherbrooke. This competitive matchup for the gold medal was a success for Basketball Alberta.
ROWERS END REGATTA ADDING FOUR MEDALS TO ALBERTA’S TALLY
At the Kenora Rowing Club, the rowing competition continued with five Alberta boats in medal races.
In the women’s Lightweight Double Sculls category, Team Alberta comprised of Lucy Lu and Emily Arich secured the bronze medal.
Curtis Ames, Daniel Molyneaux, Kyle Pollock, and Alexander Sawers, all hailing from Calgary, won the bronze medal in the men’s four race.
In the women’s four event, the Alberta crew took home the silver medal. The crew is represented by Aline Belzil, Nicole Foster, Sofia McGurk, and Veronique Ulrich.
The men’s eight with coxswain also earned bronze. The crew is comprised of Calgarians Curtis Ames, Tavis Enno, Karl Hare, Erik Hohnstein, Phil Kirker, Daniel Molyneaux, Kyle Pollock, and Alexander Sawers.
Throughout the competition, Alberta rowers contributed a total of nine medals to Alberta count; three silver and six bronze.
BASEBALL EARNS BRONZE MEDAL IN FRONT OF THOUSANDS AT SHAW PARK
After a 1-hour rain delay at Shaw Park, Team Alberta faced Ontario for baseball bronze.
Ontario was the first out of the gate, scoring a single run in the first inning. Keeping their cool like they have done all week, the Alberta boys came back two innings later to score two runs. After exchanging a few scoreless innings, the team, led by Manager Dwayne Lalor, went on the offensive with a 3-run inning in the sixth to secure a four-run lead.
With two innings left for Ontario to score, Alberta’s defense kicked in and managed to protect the lead through to the end.
BASKETBALL LADIES ENDS TOURNAMENT IN FOURTH PLACE
The Alberta women’s basketball team faced off against the home team of Manitoba in the bronze medal match. In front of a large crowd, Alberta lost 76-63.
Fuelled by the passion of the home crowd, Manitoba started the game in force outscoring their opponents 20-9 in the first quarter. Alberta matched Manitoba point for point in the second quarter. Heading to the dressing room, Manitoba led 36-24. But the break didn’t help the Albertans, with Manitoba taking full control of the game and outscoring the ladies of Alberta 20-15 in the third quarter.
Ultimately ball possession and unforced errors proved to be the determining factor in the game, with Manitoba excelling in the defensive zone and relying on superstar Niyah Becker who netted 36 points on the offense.
Brynn Masikewich was Alberta’s top player scoring 22 points and 7 rebounds.
Alberta ended the women’s basketball tournament in fourth place, the same position earned at the last Canada Games in Sherbrooke, QC.
The Alberta triathletes finished fourth in the Mixed Relay race.
The sailing competitions were all canceled today due to the lack of wind, with the cumulative results as of last night will stand as the final results of the regatta. Connor Weicht, racing the singlehanded – Laser boat, was Alberta’s top finisher in fifth place in his category.
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