Team Yukon athletes shattered personal bests this week at the Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ont.
Mara Roldan ended her Games on a high with a fifth place finish in the 12km road race on Aug. 18.
This is the best result for the Yukon so far at Niagara 2022.
The 18-year-old athlete was chosen as Team Yukon’s flag bearer after winning gold in the junior criterium at road nationals earlier in the summer.
She said week one was “quite challenging” for her.
“I was coming into the mountain bike week with some goals and bad luck got in the way of me attaining them.”
Roldan faced muddy and wet racing conditions in her first event, cross country mountain biking, on Aug. 8. She crashed and was unable to finish.
Then, on Aug. 12, her bike chain broke at the start of the race in the mountain bike sprints.
“It was quite frustrating to not be able to really perform at all,” she said. “However, things turned around this week on the road bike.”
Roldan is proud of her final 69-km road race at the Games. Even after crashing in the third lap, she managed to finish fifth out of 31 racers.
“It was challenging to race against older riders, but super fun and exciting. It’s for sure an experience that will stick with me.”
After crashing, Roldan said she doubted she’d be able to catch up to the peloton.
“But I got back up quickly and with the help of drafting team cars, I was able to put in a big effort and caught back on. After that, I focused on recovering and positioning myself for the final sprint which landed me in fifth,” she said.
Roldan’s most challenging obstacle to overcome at these Games was her crash in last Monday’s race. She fell hard and into a tree. Her left leg was injured, which made it hard for her to compete at her best.
“Thankfully, I did recover pretty quickly,” she said, “and was able to be back on form for this week’s events.”
Now that her Games are finished, Roldan is flying directly to Les Gets, France to compete in the 2022 World Junior Championships, which are happening next week.
After that, she’ll stick around in Europe for some stage racing with the national team in the Netherlands.
“It’ll be a pretty exciting month,” Roldan said.
“These games were for sure a mix of ups and downs, but one thing for sure is that I gained a lot of experience racing here in Niagara. I was challenged both mentally and physically and overcame those challenges as best as I could.”
The athletics team began their Canada Summer Games on Aug. 16 with the 100-, 400- and 1500-metre qualifier heats.
All 100-metre sprinters – Eban Basnett, Andres Insley, Amelie Guilbeault and Sylvie Sandiford – achieved personal bests, according to a press release.
Insley finished his race with a time of 12:72 and Basnett ran it in 13.10. Guilbeault’s time was 13.86 and Sandiford’s was 14.09.
On Aug. 17, the track and field athletes had to contend with a humid Ontario day.
Glade Roberts threw a personal best in javelin and the 4×400 female relay team finished ninth place overall, edging out P.E.I. and Newfoundland.
Team Yukon’s canoe and kayak athletes had strong showings at the Welland International Flatwater Centre, qualifying for seven finals.
All paddlers earned personal bests on both Tuesday and Wednesday while competing against much older athletes.
On Aug. 16, Kaleb Parry cut eight seconds off his time in the men’s C-1 500m.
Bruce Porter and Rogan Parry cut four seconds off their personal best in the K-2 1000m. Brothers Mason and Kaleb Parry raced C-2 1000m and sliced off 11 seconds.
On Aug. 17, everyone improved their times from the heats to the B finals.
Kaleb Parry smashed his previous personal best in the men’s C-1 1000m race by 30 seconds with a time of 5:15.781. He and his brother, Mason Parry, achieved personal bests in each race for the C-2 500m.
Joel Girouard, Rogan Parry, Bruce Porter and Tycho Roy-Gelinas raced in the men’s K-4 500m and finished seventh.
Juliane Girouard had the best result of the day on Aug. 18, finishing sixth in the K-1 200m.
She also raced in back to back mixed races with Kaleb Parry in the C-2 500m and her brother, Joel Girouard, in the K-2 500m.
Both the men’s and women’s teams lost their first games to N.W.T. and Nunavut respectively.
Team Yukon’s male volleyball team achieved a four-set win against P.E.I in their second match of the Games on Aug. 17.
This is the second time a team from the Yukon has defeated a province at the Canada Summer Games. The first was in 2013, also against P.E.I.
The men’s team picked up another win on Aug. 18, defeated Nunavut 3-0.
The women’s team lost their second match to Newfoundland and their third to Nunavut.
At the Legends on the Niagara golf course, Drake Cooper and Jase Johnstone both shot an 83 during their first round.
They bettered their scores in the second round. Johnstone shot 80, while Cooper shot 81.
Round Three is scheduled for Aug. 19 and the final round will be on Aug. 20.
Team Yukon’s women’s soccer team lost to Ontario, the country’s largest province, in their first match of the Games.
Their second match against P.E.I was tied at half-time but ended with a 5-1 loss.
Contact Magan Carty at email@example.com
Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that the women’s road cycling race was 12 kilometres. It has been corrected to 69 km.