Morning Star Staff
North Okanagan rhythmic gymnastic girls were golden at the 28th B.C. Winter Games in Penticton.
Vernon’s Gracie Fox, Madeline Sellars, Camryn Steele and Dennica Paul of Vernon, and Sydney Hannah of Coldstream, captured the team gold medal.
The squad is coached by Vernon’s Tammy Andreotti and Kelsey Anderson.
Paul and Cox each won gold, silver and bronze medals to go with the team gold.
Paul won the individual ball competition, silver in rope and bronze in the all-around final.
Cox took gold in rope, silver in the individual all-around and bronze in the ball discipline.
Sellars added a silver medal in the individual free competition, while Hannah was fourth in the ball event.
Coldstream’s Danica Ariano won three medals, including gold, in women’s biathlon. Ariano won the junior girls individual race, and placed second in the sprint and super sprint events.
In judo, Coldstream’s Brendan Yakura won gold in the under 60 kilo class and added bronze with Vernon’s Sydney Grevatt in the team mixed event.
Grevatt won bronze in the women’s under 57 kilo class.
Vernon’s Gabriel McLachlan won gold in the men’s over 73 kilo A class.
Armstrong’s Hunter Cahoon won silver in the over 70 kilo women’s division, while Coldstream’s Thaddeus Bondt was fourth in the men’s under 42 kilo class.
Coldstream’s Stirling Peters won three silver medals in freestyle skiing at Apex Mountain.
Peters was second in the juvenile big air, combined and slope style event. He finished sixth in moguls.
Rane Smith of Vernon was fifth in the women’s giant slalom, sixth in the Slalom Run 2 and ninth in the slalom single run.
Vernon’s Ian Oliphant won gold in the cross-country skiing team relay. He finished fourth in the juvenile boy’s individual sprint and fifth in the individual start race.
The Zone 2 Thompson-Okanagan ringette squad, which included Vernon’s Abby Williamson and Georgia Lannon, and Coldstream’s Maddi Fox, won the gold medal. Fox was the team captain.
Fox was named captain of the team, which went 2-0-1 in the preliminary round, including a 6-0 win over a second Okanagan squad, which featured a handful of Vernon association players, and a 6-6 come-from-behind draw with Fraser Valley.
Williamson and Fox scored in the final six minutes to help the Okanagan rally from a 6-4 deficit.
Fox and Williamson scored in the gold-medal match, a 6-1 win over Zone 4 Fraser River, while Lannon was a rock on defence.
The second zone squad, which featured Vernon players Bryn Taylor-Hawes, Kaila Summerfelt, Grace Cornell and Hailey Quiring, placed fifth.
Taylor-Hawes was unable to compete after spraining her ankle prior to Penticton, but still enjoyed the Games’ experience.
“Just watching my team play,” she said of the Games’ highlights for her. “Watching the finals was pretty intense. That was pretty good, that was fun. I also liked the dance. I got to meet a lot of people from different ringette associations. I made a lot of new friends. I now have more friends than I would have if I didn’t play.”
Vernon’s Matt Schiman, with Ben Morin at third, Adam Raber at second and Andrew Cowell at lead, lost the boys curling gold-medal match, 6-2, to Matthew McCrady of New Westminster.
The Vernon team, coached by Dale Hofer, went 2-1 in the preliminary round to qualify for the semifinals, where they knocked off Colin Anderson of Grand Forks 6-4.
Vernon’s Jaelyn Cotter finished fourth in girls curling.
Cotter, backed by third Katelyn McGillivray of Kelowna, second Elijah Meixner of Kamloops and lead Cassidy Schwaerzle of Armtrong, and coached by her father, Jim Cotter, went 3-0 in the preliminary round.
They lost the semifinal, 7-2 to Elizabeth Bowles of Delta, then dropped the bronze medal match, 11-3, to Sarah Loken of Surrey, who scored seven in the fifth end.
Jaelyn and Jim will represent B.C. at the Canadian doubles curling championships in Saskatoon shortly after Jim returns home from a third straight – and sixth overall – appearance at the Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa.
Jaelyn said her dad’s star power is lost on her and her teammates.
“He’s just been our coach for so long,” said Jaelyn. “It’s just kind of normal for us. It doesn’t really affect us, but it’s really cool to have his experience come together with ours.”
Vernon Special Olympics basketball players Hunter Ashby, Erin Murphy and Gary Pollen were on the Zone 2 Thompson Okanagan team that finished sixth.
The North Okanagan contingent helped Zone 2 Thompson Okanagan finish third in the medal standings with 92 (25 gold, 22 silver, 45 bronze).
Zone 4 Fraser River won the overall medal count with 107 (42-44-21), two more than Zone 5 Vancouver-Coastal (35-27-43).
More than 1,700 coaches, athletes and officials took part in Penticton. The 2016 B.C. Summer Games will be in Abbotsford and the next B.C. Winter Games will be held in Kamloops in February, 2018.