Yukon sports year in review

It was another big year for sports in the Yukon, with three athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games, dozens of medals pouring in from athletes and teams at the Arctic Winter Games and two local swimmers signing with NCAA.

It was another big year for sports in the Yukon, with three athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games, dozens of medals pouring in from athletes and teams at the Arctic Winter Games and two local swimmers signing with NCAA schools in the US on full scholarships.

January

Fresh snow and mild temperatures greeted skiers at the Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships where Janelle Greer and Knute Johnsgaard were awarded the Gordon Taylor trophy for being the fastest female and male. The Schiffkorn Trophy, given for fastest midget-age skiers, went to Calen McLean and Kassi Wright.

At the Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships, Yukon’s Team Scoffin finished ninth with a 5-7 record in the men’s division, improving from a 3-9 record last year. In the women’s division Team Koltun finished 12th, ahead of NWT with a 3-9 record.

And Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell, who would go on to have a spectacular year, began 2010 with two gold medals at a World Cup event in Beijing, China. He was also named Sport Yukon’s International Male Athlete of the Year at the annual awards night for the third straight year.

Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty, 15, competed in her second race, a five-kilometre classic at the World Junior Cross Country Ski Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany, finishing 25th in the junior women’s division. Beatty, the youngest skier in the 82-skier junior women division, started in 12th place before dropping 13 spots.

Canadian teammate and fellow Yukoner Emily Nishikawa competed in a five-kilometre classic for the under-23 women’s division finishing 31st. To start the competition, Nishikawa came 23rd in a sprint race and 36th in the 15-kilometre pursuit.

Finally, Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmer Bronwyn Pasloski announced she would attend the University of Indiana on a full sports scholarship. As a Glacier Bear, Pasloski holds 43 club records and four BC provincial age group records.

February

Whitehorse’s Graham Nishikawa won two gold medals at the Eastern Canadian Cross Country Championships in Cantley, Quebec. Competing in the same event, Whitehorse’s David Greer took bronze and silver. Greer’s sister, Janelle Greer, also reached the podium, winning gold in the junior female 15-kilometre classic.

Whitehorse Glacier Bears’ Edouard Bourcier won his first medals at the BC Winter AA Swimming Championships in Penticton, BC. Making his first medal haul a particularly golden one, Bourcier finished first in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke and the 200-metre individual medley.

Going undefeated with a 4-0-1 record, Whitehorse’s FSC Bantam Mustangs won their first gold medal, competing in the Knights of Columbus Bantam Tier 2 Hockey Tournament in Fort St. John.

Training at a Calgary club prior to the competition seemed to do the trick for some Polarettes. Nine members of Whitehorse’s Polarettes Gymnastics Club competed at the Exelta Cup in Red Deer, Alberta, bringing home seven ribbons for top-eight placements in events. The best finish came from Kelcie Henney in the Level 3 category. She took first on the bars for third overall.

Hans Gatt became the second musher in the Yukon Quest’s 27-year history to become a four-time winner of the 1,600-kilometre race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, tying Alaska’s Lance Mackey, who won his fourth straight Quest in 2008.

Danielle Marcotte, Pelly Crossing’s Deadeye Dick, won gold at the 2010 International Grand Prix air-gun competition in the women’s International Juniors division. Marcotte logged the high score among all juniors competing in the two-day event.

Glacier Bear Bronwyn Pasloski, swimming in the open class at the Western Canadian Championships in Saskatoon, won three medals and set her 43rd Glacier Bears club record.

March

After losing to the FH Collins Warriors in the Super Hoops final, the Porter Creek Rams avenged the loss with an 82-74 win over the Warriors in the senior girls’ Yukon Basketball Championship final. After starting the senior boys’ championships with a loss to the Porter Creek Rams, the Vanier Crusaders bounced back for a 70-60 win over their cross-town rivals in the finals.

At the Haywood Para-Nordic Cross Country Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alberta, Whitehorse’s Ramesh Ferris became the first athlete to represent the territory at a national Para-Nordic event.

Competing at the 2010 Canadian National Biathlon Championship in Canmore, Alberta, a handful of Yukoners went up against athletes fresh from the Vancouver Olympics. In two days of competition, Erin Oliver-Beebe had the best results, coming fifth in the individual event, missing only three of 20 targets.

The Yukon saw a lot of medals flow in during the Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta, during the month.

Yukon’s female hockey team ended their stay in Grande Prairie with a close 2-0 loss to Team Alberta North, for the silver.

Playing Team Yamal-Nenets of Russia, Yukon’s juvenile male soccer team won silver at the Games, losing 4-1 in the final.

Yukon’s junior male volleyball team also took silver at the Games, losing 25-21, 25-22 to Team Alberta North in the finals.

Proportionally, Yukon snowboarders were one of the top performing teams at the Games. With 338 athletes representing the territory, six snowboarders won 10 of Yukon’s 101 medals at the games, including a pair of prestigious overall winner medals.

Junior female rink, Team Koltun, headed by skip Sarah Koltun, won gold while the junior male rink, Team Scoffin, led by Thomas Scoffin, took home silver.

For the second Games in a row, Musher Rachel Kinvig swept the juvenile female competition, winning gold in all three races and all three in Yellowknife, NWT, in 2008. With those six golds she’s the most decorated female musher in Arctic Games history. Kinvig’s teammate and brother, Ben Kinvig, was also a force to be reckoned with, winning two golds and a silver in the junior male division.

At the Games, figure skater Bryn Hoffman won golds for her short and long programs, together earning her a third gold for best overall in the Ladies 3 division.

Immediately following the Arctic Games, Whitehorse hosted the Haywood Nationals cross-country skiing championships with Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club taking third as a team. Although still eligible for the juvenile girls division, Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty raced in the junior category and was the overall champion with a gold, silver and two bronzes.

April

With four Arctic Winter Games medals already under her belt, Yukon Freestyle Ski Team member Anna Smith won a silver medal in the slopestyle and bronze in the big air event at the BC Freestyle Championship in Vernon, BC.

Team Koltun demonstrated the power of positive thinking at the Optimist International Under 18 Curling Championships winning gold.

In his last year as a junior, Whitehorse’s Ryan Bachli dominated the Yukon Table Tennis Championship winning the junior title and doubles titles with partner and coach Kevin Murphy. He also won the men’s open singles and the team event, with Ehsan Idrees.

The AON Flames took a 3-2 overtime win against Yukon Inn to capture the Whitehorse Oldtimers Hockey League title.

It was a short competitive season for the Whitehorse Wolverines, but a profitable one. In their only tournament of the season, the Tke’mlups Junior All Native Little NHL Hockey Tournament, the local First Nations atom development team went undefeated on their way to gold in Kamloops, BC.

After winning all the titles he possibly could last year, Watson Lake’s Jason Carlson brought home a couple more medals at the 2010 Yukon Badminton Championships, winning the newly added men’s open singles title and taking silver in the open men’s doubles title with partner Sandeep Sharma from Whitehorse.

May

A local swimmer entered the national record book. Marsh Lake’s Mary Anne Myers won three gold medals, setting a national record in each for the 55-59 age group, at the BC Provincial Masters Swim Meet held in Vancouver. Weeks later, Myers set three more national records and won three more golds at the 2010 Canadian Masters Long Course Swimming Championships in BC.

Competing at the Western Canadian Gymnastic Championship the in Regina, Saskatchewan, Whitehorse’s Anna Rivard won a gold medal in the vault for the second straight year.

Pelly Crossing’s Danielle Marcotte returned from competing at the Maple Leaf Open Air Gun Championships in Leduc, Alberta, with a gold in the women’s junior division.

The Muncton Wildcats hockey team won their second President’s Cup – the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s championship trophy – with a Yukoner on board. Whitehorse’s Ted Stephens was not only on the ice, he was on the board, registering an assist in the 7-4, Game 6 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Many of the same names were found at the top of divisions at this year’s Yukon Gymnastics Championships. Fayne O’Donovan, who won Level 2 last year, was back at the top, this year finishing first in Level 3. After winning Level 1 (“Argo”) division last year, Reena Coyne, 10, took the Level 2 title, coming first on the bars and the floor with a combined score of 45.95 in four events.

In the small, two-person Level 3 male division, Andrew Crist, 13, beat out fellow Polarette competitor Wiliam Rees, winning on the floor, the high bar and the rings.

Also winning divisions were Megan Banks, Kendra Peters, Kelcie Henney and Anna Rivard.

Whitehorse’s Julien Revel won his third straight men’s title at the Yukon Open Squash Championships by defeating former Ontario men’s B division champion Josh Ginou 15-12, 15-10, 8-15, 15-12 in the final. Instead of mixing women players into men’s divisions, this year’s tournament featured a women’s A division, won by Terri Cairns, defeating past champion Lori Muir 13-15, 15-12, 15-9, 10-15, 15-11 in the final.

Though not a national volleyball powerhouse, some local teams were turning heads at the 2010 17U/18U Canadian Open in BC. The Sub Zero Chill, Whitehorse’s U-18 men’s team, not only produced wins, they took home hardware. Pushed down to a lower tier with three straight losses on the opening day, the Chill went on to take silver in Tier 4.

Glacier Bear Alexandra Gabor took home a bronze in the 200-metre freestyle at the Mel Zajac International Swim Meet in Vancouver, going up against swimmers from Canada, US, China and Australia.

June

Whitehorse’s Colleen Latham defended her title at the 2010 Whitehorse Triathlon, coming in with the fastest overall time. Latham, led her division in all three disciplines, eventually coming in almost 18 minutes ahead of second place Olympic female competitor Maura Sullivan.

Whitehorse’s Ian Parker won the men’s division with less than a minute-and-a-half on second place’s Joel Macht, who won the triathlon the previous two years.

At the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, Whitehorse teams won four of the 240-kilometre race’s divisions.

Taking the overall top spot in the two-person women’s team was Whitehorse’s I Love Big Bottom Brackets – Nadele Flynn and Kerrie Paterson – beating out a second-place team from Douglas, Alaska. Whitehorse’s Salty Dames won third.

Team Kunde Hospital from Whitehorse was the top four-person men’s team, featuring Marcus Waterreus, Jonothan Kerr, Bill Perry and VeloNorth Cycling Club president Scott Kerby.

With 13 Whitehorse teams in the 15-team four-person women’s division, Yukon cyclists managed to occupy the top 11 spots. Topping the list were the C.A.L.L. Girls, made up from Carolyn Coombs, Angelene Young, Leslie Doran and Leslie Vandermaas.

Whitehorse also grabbed a pair of podium spots – including the top tier – in the eight-person mixed division, with the Cycotics, which include Dane Vasseur, Don Roberts, Rob Rees, Brad Avery, Kathleen Avery and Joy Vall, taking first ahead of Whitehorse’s Six Bucks Two Bitz’s.

Marksman John Simmons showed himself to be the fastest gun in the northwest. A Canadian, he beat out all gun-toting Americans competing at a speed-shooting competition in Alaska.

Five Glacier Bears, all of whom set personal best times at the meet, won a total of 12 medals at the BC AA Long Course Championships in Surrey, BC. Taking in the Bears’ only gold medals at the meet was Nadia Petriw, taking five in the 15-years-old category, winning in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre freestyle and in the 200-metre individual medley (IM) and the 200-metre backstroke. She also won silver in the 50- and 800-metre freestyle.

July

Former Team Yukon rider Jesse Reams won two stages of the Tour de Whitehorse on his way to capturing the overall title for the expert men. Local cyclist Kelsey Kabanak, who also raced for Team Yukon at the Canada Summer Games, became the first Yukoner in three years to win the expert women’s class

Racing under the name This Is Your Idea, Whitehorse’s Kam Davies and Jason Doucet paddled to second place of the mixed tandem canoe category in the Yukon River Quest. Coming second in the men’s solo kayak category was Carmacks’ Shawn Corrigan. In another tandem canoe, Whitehorse’s Jean-Francois Latour and teammate Terry Ramin from Prince Rupert, BC, came second in the men’s division, just 18 minutes behind a team called Experimental Curry Powder from Australia. In the women’s tandem canoe race, Marsh Lake’s Wendy Morrison and Whitehorse’s Cynthia Friedrich outpaced the only other boat in the division by almost a full 10 hours to win the category. Whitehorse’s Aly Morham was the first Yukoner to reach Dawson in the women’s solo kayak category, finishing third behind a pair of Californians. Whitehorse’s Paddlers Abreast team, made up from breast cancer survivors, finished first in the three-boat women’s voyager canoe category.

A total of 23 medals – including 13 golds – were won by 14 Yukoners at the North American Orienteering Championships in Cranbrook, BC. In fact, a few Yukoners medalled in all three events.

Kendra Murray took home a pair of gold medals in the middle and long-distance events in the women’s 20A category. A five-time Team Canada member at the World Orienteering Championships, Brent Langbakk, competing in the men’s 35A division, took home golds in the sprint and middle distance events, and also grabbed silver in the long. Yukon’s very own world champion orienteerer, Nesta Leduc, continued her domination of the women’s 75A division, winning gold in all three races. In the women’s 20A division, Kerstin Burnett won silver in the sprint and long distance events and took bronze in the middle. Trevor Bray, in the men’s 16A, grabbed gold in the sprint and long, and won silver in the middle distance event. The opposite of Bray, Pia Blake, in the women’s 14A, captured silver in the sprint and long events and gold in the middle.

At the Yukon Golf Championships, Whitehorse’s Blaine Tessier almost set a new course record en route to winning the open men’s title. In the open women’s division Birgitte Hunter defended her title from last year. After finishing in second and third over the last two championships, Ricky Schmok, 16, won his first junior title.

Competing at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, the Team Yukon athletes outdid themselves, with everyone giving their best performance to date. As a result, Team Yukon took home a stunning total of 12 medals over the four sports they competed in.

August

At the Yukon River Trail Marathon, despite a large field of Outside runners, coming from Ontario, Alberta, BC, Alaska, Australia, Japan, France and Germany, most divisions were captured by Whitehorse runners.

Racing in his first-ever full marathon, Michael Richards took the overall prize, completing the course in three hours, 13 minutes and 37 seconds.

Whitehorse’s fastest woman in the marathon was Michele Beulieu, winning the open division with a time of 4:22:07.

The half-marathon open divisions ended up in the hands of Whitehorse runners Maura Sullivan for the women and Rodney Hulstein for the men.

Competing at the 2010 Canadian Rifle Silhouette Championships in Kamloops, BC, Whitehorse’s Nicholas Rittel not only won titles, he broke one national record and tied another. At the six-day competition Rittel won the national title in the small-bore hunter class plus two match trophies, two gold and six silver medals for his divisions. For the title, Rittel shot an aggregate score of 106 out of 120 over three days, breaking the previous record of 103. On the third day, he shot a 38 out of 40 to tie a Canadian record.

Watson Lake wrestler Brittanee Laverdure won gold in the 55-kilogram class of the Polish Open in Spala Poland.

Competing in her first Tour de Juneau, Whitehorse’s Trena Irving finished second in three of four stages, coming third in the time trial, for a second-place finish overall, behind Juneau’s Janice Sheufelt. Whitehorse’s Bill Curtis was another division leader in Juneau. Cycling in the men’s sport class, Curtis came third in the final 30-kilometre road race, for third overall in the division. Competing against cyclists half his age, Whitehorse’s Mike McCann, 63, is living proof age is just a number. With top-10 results in all his races, McCann came fifth overall in the expert men division.

Jan Polivka defended his men’s singles title with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback win over Kyle Marchuk at the 2010 Yukon Territorial Championships. Whitehorse’s Laurie Drummond went undefeated over the weekend to win the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles.

Juniors, as well as adults, with the Yukon Orienteering Association had unprecedented success at the Canadian Orienteering Championships in Ottawa. The Yukon crew took in a total of 27 medals, 10 more than last year and 15 more than in 2008.

Not only did Trevor Bray, competing in the men’s 15-16 at his first national competition, take in silvers in the sprint and long events, he won gold in the middle event – one of nine first places by Yukoners. Kendra Murray, who won one of each medal at last year’s nationals, matched Bray’s results, with her gold coming in the long event of the women’s 17-20. Pia Blake was consistent across the board, winning silver in all three events, two of which came while she competed up an age group in the women’s 15-16.

Pelly Crossing’s Danielle Marcotte was the only shooter at the first-ever Youth Games from Canada and the only Yukon athlete on the national team in Singapore. The then 17-year-old air pistol shooter finished fourth overall in the junior women’s event, further securing her position as one of the best in the world.

Whitehorse’s Colleen Latham cracked the nation’s top-10 at the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon, Canada’s national championship, in Kelowna, BC. Competing in the women’s elite division, Latham finished 15th overall and 10th out of Canadians.

Watson Lake’s Zach Bell ended the month establishing himself as Canada’s best track cyclist. The 28-year-old elite rider hammered home that point by winning four gold and one silver at the 2010 Track Cycling Canadian Championships.

September

At the 2010 Canada 55 plus Games in Brockville, 105 Yukoners surpassed territory’s previous record of 40 medals from two years ago in Dieppe, New Brunswick, coming home with 60 medals, including 23 gold.

Fresh off a tournament win in Poland, Watson Lake’s Brittanee Laverdure won the women’s wrestling 55-kilogram final at the SportAccord World Combat Games in Beijing, China.

More than two decades after shooting a massive mountain caribou in the Pelly Mountains east of Ross River, Whitehorse hunter Paul T. Deuling’s was awarded the Sagamore Hill Award, the Boone and Crockett Club’s highest honour. The prestigious award is the result of the club’s acceptance of Deuling’s 1988 kill into its record books for the largest mountain caribou ever bagged. Scoring a 459-3/8, Deuling’s antlers were seven inches larger than the previous record holder.

At the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Whitehorse’s Scarecrow team became the first Yukon – and first Canadian – team to win the open division at the relay since Whitehorse’s Pepsi Roadrunners won it in 1993. Winning legs for Scarecrow were Stephen Waterreus, Ray Sabo, Shane Carlos, Brent Langbakk and Karl Blattmann from Teslin. Included on Scarecrow were Luke Carlos, Andrew Brown, a newcomer to the territory, and Haines Junction’s Willy Palahicky, a last minute addition.

Before she represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games, Whitehorse’s Emily Quarton finished 20th in the 58-kilogram class at the World Weightlifting Championships in Antalya, Turkey. At the Commonwealth Games in October, Quarton lifted a combined 185 kilograms for a fifth-place finish.

October

Cyclist Zach Bell was back at it at the Commonewealth Games in India, winning a bronze medal in the scratch race on October 8.

Early mornings, long commutes and even a touch of illness were not enough to keep Whitehorse swimmer Mackenzie Downing from top-10 results at the Commonwealth Games. Competing in three butterfly events and reaching two finals, the Whitehorse native finished eighth in the 50-metre, ninth in the 100-metre and sixth in the 200-metre.

At the BC Coast Regional Championship in Mission, BC, Arctic Edge skater Kelcy Armstrong won bronze in the introductory ladies interpretive event. Also representing the local club in Mission was Rachel Pettitt, placing 11th in her short program and 14th in the freeskate. Arctic Edge was also represented by Teneil Caron who took 14th in the short program and 12th in the long, for 13th overall.

At the Hong Kong Triathlon, Whitehorse’s Colleen Latham took eighth in the female elite open category.

November

Whitehorse runner Denise McHale, 37, travelled to Gibraltar with three goals in mind. Not only did she accomplish each, she set a Canadian running record in the process. Competing at the 100 Kilometre I.A.U. World Championships, McHale finished eighth – setting a new 100-kilometre women’s Canadian record of seven hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds.

Competing at the World University Championships the weekend before last in Turin, Italy, Watson Lake’s Brittanee Laverdure won gold in the 55-kilogram class.

Whitehorse’s Ryan Leef suffered his second professional mixed martial arts (MMA) loss at Armageddon Fighting Championship 4 (AFC 4) in Victoria.

While often overshadowed by Olympic gold medalists Team Martin in Alberta – and at last year’s cash spiel for that matter – it was Edmonton’s Team Koe taking the top-spot at the 2010 Skookum World Curling Tour Cash Spiel in Whitehorse.

With close to two-dozen BC/Yukon records and a handful of national ones as a Glacier Bear Alexandra Gabor signed a letter of intent to attend Stanford University in California on a full swimming scholarship.

Yukon’s Northern Avalanche female midget hockey team, which will represent the territory at the Canada Winter Games, competed at the first annual Wickenheiser Hockey Festival tournament in Burnaby, BC, out-scoring the competition 23-1 over five games to win gold in their first tournament of the season.

At the Yukon Volleyball Championships the Porter Creek Rams won the senior boys’ title with a 25-18, 20-25, 16-14 win over the Vanier Crusaders. In the senior girls’ final, the Crusaders defeated the Rams 12-25, 25-22,15-13.

Days after receiving Sport Yukon’s International Female Athlete of the Year award, Whitehorse native Mackenzie Downing was already back in the pool adding to her list of accomplishments. Competing at the Canada Cup short course competition in Etobicoke, Ontario, Downing won silvers in the 100- and 200-metre butterfly events.

Wheelchair athlete Laurie Sokolowski, who moved to Dawson from Ontario in 2007, won her second national level gold medal in table tennis in as many years. Competing at the 2010 Para National Championships last week in Ottawa, Sokolowski took first in the team event with Ontario’s Bobby Clouthier and Barry Butler, a longtime friend who first encouraged Sokolowski to take up the sport in 2000.

Just months after suffering a broken leg during practice, Arctic Edge’s the Bryn Hoffman, was back in action, winning a gold and silver, setting two personal best scores at the Jingle Blades Competition in White Rock, BC.

December

Although still 2010, the 2011 season is looking like another great one for Cyclist Zach Bell. The Watson Lake native opened the Track Cycling World Cup season with a silver in Melbourne, Australia, at the start of the month. He then won bronze at another World Cup race in Cali, Columbia last week. The 28-year-old is currently ranked second in the world for track cycling.

Whitehorse’s peewee Mustangs rep hockey team has really turned things around.

After going winless in their first tournament of the season, the team went undefeated mid-month to win gold at the Winfield Bruins Peewee Rep Hockey Tournament in Winfield, BC.

In their first competition of the season, two Yukon biathletes took in three medals and almost a fourth at the first Biathlon NorAm Cup of the season in Canmore, Alberta. Against athletes from across Canada, Whitehorse’s Erin Oliver-Beebe won a gold and a silver while teammate Jennifer Curtis won a silver and also took fourth.

Five medals, and an aggregate win were taken by the Yukon Ski Team at the first NorAm races of the season at the Sovereign Lakes Nordic Club in Vernon, BC. Graham Nishikawa, skiing in the open men’s won bronze in a classic sprint event and silver in a 15-kilometre skate. Yukon teammate Katie Peters was the aggregate winner in the in the junior girls’ division.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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