Emily Dickson (Burns Lake)
(ISN) – Team BC capped off a brilliant week with another seven medals won at alpine skiing, biatlon, curling, and speed skating.
At Otway Nordic centre, another with a gold medal in the female 3x6km relay race finished a great week for the female racers.
Teammates Emily Dickson (Burns Lake), Claire LaPointe (Prince George), Tekarra Banser (West Kelowna) and Jennah Smailes (West Kelowna) were out on the course under blue skies and in front of a large hometown crowd. After falling behind early, strong skiing and shooting by LaPointe brought the team in to medal contention and then three time Canada Winter Games medalist, Dickson brought it home and crossed the line in first place to capture the gold.
“It has been an amazing feeling to be in my hometown and our home province for these Games,” said LaPointe. “The atmosphere is incredible with everyone behind us cheering us along,” said Banser.
Dickson explained their preparation for today. “Last night we were talking about the race and we were all so open and encouraging with each other. We knew we were strong coming in and we just had to execute.”
The teammates have known each other for years having competed at events like the BC Winter Games together. “We are like sisters and we have been incredibly close all week so it is amazing to be able to share it all together,” said LaPointe.
In the 3x6km relay, three members of the team are skiing and shooting on the course but, the fourth member of the team, Jennah Smailes was out cheering and supporting her teammates. “It is amazing to be part of such a skilled team. It was a different feeling today watching but, I was so happy to be cheering them up the hill. They all looked fabulous out there.” Smailes stood proudly on top of the podium along with her ‘sisters’ to receive her gold medal.
The team of Robert Kreitz (Prince George), Arthur Roots (Prince George) and Peter Algra (Abbtosford) skied in the 3x10km relay for men in the afternoon and had a strong performance with a fourth place finish.
BC alpine skiers showed their speed in ski cross today earning four medals at Tabor Mountain. Katie Fleckenstein (West Vancouver) and Nicole Mah (Vancouver) earned gold and silver in the women’s race.
The gold medal was especially sweet for Fleckenstein because it was her first time competing in the ski cross event. The 15-year-old finished in the top ten in alpine events held earlier this week and a fall in her favourite race, Slalom, took her out of medal contention.
“Yesterday I won the timed run so I had a bit of confidence going into it today,” she said. “And as I was going through my heats today I was winning so I was getting more and more into it. To win the gold was amazing, it was just so much fun.”
Another highlight of the Canada Winter Games experience for Fleckenstein was the social aspect and getting to train and compete with the rest of Canada.
“These are pretty much all the kids I will be racing as I move on through my sport and it is really cool getting to know them and to race with them.”
In the men’s ski cross, Devin Mittertreiner and Ryan Finley earned silver and bronze. Mittertreiner and Finley live in Calgary but train and compete in Fernie so qualify for Team BC.
Sara Spence (Kamloops) finished off a week that started in Prince George at the outdoor oval with a silver medal and ended in Fort St. John today with a gold in the 3000m. Her sister Tori, won the gold in the same event at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. Spence’s total medal count for the week was six – two gold (500m and 3000m), two silver (1500m and team pursuit), and two bronze (1000m and mass start).
After a tough loss in the semi final against Manitoba, the Team BC curling team rebounded to a solid 11-2 win over Saskatchewan in eight ends to win the bronze medal.
“We were focused and calm this morning and everyone was ready to go,” said skip Tyler Tardi (Surrey). Lead Tim Henderson (Victoria) added, “We had a perfect first end to get two and then kept the pressure on from there.
This team was created especially for the Canada Winter Games and included Tardi and Henderson as well as Sterling Middleton (Fort St. John) and Nicholas Umback (Coquitlam).
Proud coach Paul Tardi said, “They played terrific and I am so happy for them. A B.C. boys team has not placed in the medals at a national event at this level for many years so it was added motivation for this team to capture a medal here.”
Team BC finished off week one of competition with 41 medals including 12 gold, 16 silver, and 13 bronze.