Megan Stewart of Delta (Zone 4) performs her long program in the figure skating competition at the Priest Valley Arena Saturday during the B.C. Winter Games.

Megan Stewart of Delta (Zone 4) performs her long program in the figure skating competition at the Priest Valley Arena Saturday during the B.C. Winter Games.

Kapak leads Vernon medal spree at B.C. Winter Games

Connie Kapak leads Vernon with four medals and a provincial speed skating record at the B.C. Winter Games.

Connie Kapak can’t remember what her dad cooked for dinner Sunday night. The real party came earlier that day at the Wesbild Centre.

Kapak, 13, pocketed four speed skating medals and set a provincial record in the 400-metre race at Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.

“There was not really much of a celebration,” said Kapak, a Harwood Elementary student. “I enjoyed hanging out with my friends at the closing ceremonies. I was just happy to get home cooking and I feel really good about my medals. We put them on my bulletin board at home.”

Kapak, who will compete in the provincial short track championships in Kamloops this weekend, crossed the 400-m finish line in 42.76 seconds for gold. In an earlier heat, she posted a 42.38, also breaking the previous record of 43.43 in the Under 14 age class.

“I think that (having friends cheering her on) gave me an extra boost,” said Kapak, whose No. 1 fan is her dad, Pete.

She struck silver in the 3,000-m and stumbled around one corner in the 200-m pursuit en route to bronze. She was also part of the Thompson- Okanagan Zone 2 relay bronze-medal team.

“I want to tell other athletes that if they want to try an inexpensive sport, as a hobby or a sport to compete in, try speed skating. It’s lots of fun and really challenging.  I find it very rewarding.”

A total of 1,145 athletes competed, including 45 from the North Okanagan. Vancouver-Squamish (Zone 5) topped the table with 81 medals (34 gold), one medal ahead of the Thompson-Okanagan (24 gold). The Fraser Valley Zone 3 was third (72).

Other locals who produced multiple medals include biathlete Eric Byram (two gold, one bronze), freestyle skier Jake Ondrik (gold in Big Air and silver in Combined) and Logan Meier in archery (two silver).

Freestylers Patrick Dew and Ty Schulte claimed silver medals in Big Air, while Hayley Timmerman earned silver in judo and Alyssa Skaalid of Enderby bagged bronze in speed skating.

Amy Edwards of Vernon skipped the Zone 2 curling team to a bronze medal. She was supported by third Shayna Doll of Salmon Arm and front-enders Sydney Hofer of Vernon and Kylie Tokairin of Enderby.

Vernon girls Emily Olds (goalie), Teigan Moore, Dayce Knopf and Maddie Powls helped the Thompson-Okanagan take bronze in ringette, stopping the Fraser Valley Reds 8-1 Sunday.

Zone 2, featuring Enderby’s James Huntington, also racked up a bronze in team badminton.

The Most Sportsmanlike Team award in badminton, which characterizes honour, etiquette and good behavior, was awarded to Zone 1 Kootenays. All the team members come from Invermere.

Coach Audrey Mantyka told the Games’ mediadirector: “This is the first time many of these kids have ever held a racquet.  We haven’t had any wins but they have improved immensely. The team has a great attitude.”

Vernon ski racer Gavin Donald was 15th in ski cross and was disqualified in the one-run slalom.

“It has been an amazing experience… meeting new people,” said the Silver Star Elementary student. “Having new experiences is a great thing.It is especially nice that it is here in Vernon and being able to go to this one. It was nice making friends with racers from other regions.”

Anneliese McNish of Duncan competed in biathlon at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, and had a blast in the senior girls class.

“It was definitely a good experience,” said McNish, who was fourth in the sprint and solo races. “It was the first civilian race I’ve done. I know what to expect for the B.C. cups now. I race with cadets, and next year I plan to do B.C. Cup races, so now I know what to train for. I don’t normally race three races back to back, but it was good. My favourite was the last, the super sprint. It was just a unusual and a fast one, and my shooting went pretty good.”

Vernon Morning Star