Regardless whether they won their event, the Island’s B.C. Summer Games athletes all returned as winners.
The Island zone team won the Games medal count after four days of competition last month in Abbotsford.
Of the 56 athletes from Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Lantzville and Nanoose Bay who participated, 40 returned with medals.
Winning gold with an exclamation point was the Island’s field lacrosse team, which won all its games by blowout scores, even the gold-medal final.
Karson Gregory, who is from Ladysmith but is part of the Nanaimo District Secondary School field lacrosse academy, said it was a really good feeling to be able to win, celebrate and take pictures with teammates. He called the B.C. Summer Games the “biggest experience” he’s had.
“It was great, with all the opening ceremonies and stuff, how the team was, it was really good,” he said.
Meanwhile, the gold-medal match on the volleyball court was a much closer affair. The Island girls won all their matches in pool play except one, and had a chance to avenge that loss to Fraser River in the gold-medal final. In the rematch, the Island team passed better, upped its offensive game and won in straight sets.
“Coming back as the underdogs, everyone’s cheering for the Fraser River, not very many people cheering for us, we come back and win it, it was just so exciting…” said Jayden Saywell, a player from Nanaimo. “Everyone was just so happy.”
She said the Games were a great experience.
“It was an honour to participate for my region at the B.C. Summer Games,” she said. “It was so much fun.”
The Games were more than just a four-day whirlwind. Bianca Parcher of Gabriola Island swam with three of her Nanaimo teammates and four girls from Victoria, and travelled and trained for two months leading up to the event.
She said the competition brought some pressure.
“It’s always stressful, because you don’t quite know what’s happening above water or what the rest of your teammates are doing, but I think it was definitely the best run-through we’ve done,” Parcher said.
She said there were a lot of spectators and great support for the Island team, and winning gold meant a lot.
“We’ve put in so much effort and so many years of training has built up to something so amazing,” she said. “It was just a really great experience.”
Local medal winners include:
Baseball – Ben Munger, silver, Aaron Marsh, silver, Mackinnon Homeniuk, silver, Max Kolopenuk, silver, Colby Neff, silver.Beach volleyball – Maddie McDonald, silver.Canoe/kayak – Jackson Ali, gold, K-1 200m, silver, K-2 500m, bronze, C-2 500m, silver, K-4 500m mixed; Thomas Duff, gold, K-1 2,000m open, gold, OC-6 2,000m; Jackson Fraser, silver, K-2 500m, gold, OC-6 2,000m; Graham Hein, bronze, K-2 500m, bronze, C-2 500m; Alena Stenning-Lint, bronze, K-2 500m, silver, K-4 500m mixed, gold, OC-6 2,000m; Rielle Hein, bronze, K-4 500m.Equestrian – Adriana Coronica, bronze, team competition; Mairi Rathy, bronze, team competition, silver, dressage, silver, dressage; Michelle Hawthornthwaite, bronze, team competition, bronze, dressage.Field lacrosse – Parker Davie, gold.Golf – Kassie Muanyam, bronze, team competition.Rowing – Cohen Inglis, silver, 1,000m time trial; gold, 1,500m; Benett Layton, gold, 1,000m time trial, gold, 1,500m; Meg Montgomery, gold, skills, bronze, 1,000m time trial, bronze, 1,500m.Soccer – Jada Nykwist, silver; Briana Smith, silver, Nicole Wilson, silver, Jazmine Wilkinson, silver.Swimming – Roman Fedyukov, bronze, 4x50m medley relay.Synchronized swimming – Kaia Fuchs, gold; McKenzie Laing, gold; Bianca Parcher, gold.Track and field – Keaton Heisterman, silver, 4x400m relay; Ethan Katzberg, bronze, hammer throw; Shane Stewart, bronze, 100m hurdles, bronze, 4x100m relay; Ben Toth, bronze, 4x100m relay, silver, javelin.Volleyball – Jared Chwelos, silver; Ben Harder, silver; Jayden Saywell, gold; Kassandra Richarson, gold; Kaitlyn Vanderkooi, gold; Nnya Mbaoma, gold.Wrestling – Ian Tuck, bronze, 66kg, gold, team competition; Steven Guo, silver, 45kg, gold, team competition.