Four Williams Lake athletes were among the elite in their respective sports in Kamloops during the weekend at the BC Winter Games.
Representing the Cariboo-North East Zone, the quartet of Kai Richardson (judo), Jaeden Wilson (judo), Grace Turner (cross-country skiing) and Ty Lauren (speed skating), all competed to strong results.
Richardson nabbed one of the zone’s six gold medals in the under-73 kilogram individual judo event. Jaeden, meanwhile, picked up a silver in his individual competition.
The duo also joined 12 other competitors to make up the Cariboo-North East Zone team, which grappled to a silver medal.
“It was just a great tournament,” Richardson told the Tribune. “The competition was really stiff, especially in the team fights. The people I’d fought in the individual competitions were out for my blood after I’d beaten them.”
Richardson said the highlight, for him, was unquestionably winning the gold medal in the individual event.
“It was a really great experience. My toughest match was my second to last. He’d beaten me once in the team competition, so I got some revenge.”
North of the Tournament Capital, Turner was busy blazing up the ski trails at Stake Lake in the cross-country skiing competition.
Turner placed 12th in the classic 3.5-kilometre race and ninth in skate sprints (but took sixth in the qualifier), however, missed making the final by just a couple of seconds. Turner then went on to win third in the ‘B’ final.
Also competing on the zone team, Turner helped the squad to a seventh-place result in the relay race where Turner skied the anchor leg to the finish.
Turner echoed Richardson’s comments, and said the Games were a great experience.
“The best part was going in as a competitor and coming out with lots of new friends,” Turner said, but noted she was disappointed to narrowly miss out on the ‘A’ final.
With the Games marking the end of Turner’s racing season, she said she’s already focusing on next year and getting started on her off-season training through roller skiing and strength training in order to be prepared for next year.
On the speed skating oval, Lauren, representing the Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Club — despite some unfortunate luck — placed 10th out of 23 skaters.
In Friday’s skating, Lauren fell in his first 400-metre heat which resulted in him going into the ‘D’ final where he finished second (14th overall).
He then finished first in his 200-metre final.
Saturday, after heats, semis and finals of the second contested 400-metre event, Lauren placed sixth. His resulting points had him sitting in the 10th place, putting him in the second heat for the 2,000-metre points race, which he skated a great race to win.
As a part of the Cariboo-North East Zone under-14 relay team, Lauren and his teammates finished third in their heat, then moved on to the ‘B’ final to skate to a victory.