Northwest athletes came home with 24 medals from the largest BC Special Olympic Winter Games in Vernon last month.
From Feb. 21-23, Vernon had more than 600 athletes with intellectual disabilities come from throughout the province compete in this year’s Winter Games.
Region 7 spans 500 kilometres from the coastal cities of Prince Rupert and Kitimat in the west, to Burns Lake in the Lakes District in the east. The team competed in alpine skiing, bowling, curling, and snowshoeing, with 24 representatives from Kitimat, Terrace, and Smithers.
The Terrace Thunder Bowling team came in second in division four of the five-pin bowling championships, coming in 322 points over their 704 pins-over-average score.
This was the first time that the Terrace Special Olympic bowling team has qualified to compete in provincials, beating out Smithers in the regional qualifier last year, says Coach Gerald Caouette.
Three Terrace athletes also brought home individual gold medals for earning the highest scores.
Keegan Haines received the highest men’s pins-over-average in one game, bowling 71 pins over his 123 average. Janis Sharyk earned the highest female pins-over-average score over six games, beating her 147 average by a whopping 215 points, and Trevor Oliver finished with the highest men’s single score for any one game with 228 points.
“To get three individual gold medals in a competition such as that is a really tremendous achievement,” says Caouette, who has been a Special Olympic BC coach for the last 30 years.
“It shows they have worked hard in their training, and when they got to the competition, they really stepped up and bowled very strongly.”
Alongside the winning bowling team, there were other Region 7 athletes representing the Northwest that came back as medal-winners.
The Kitimat Kingfishers won the four gold medals in the purple division for Curling, beating out the Campbell River Rocks and Kelowna Misfits.
Luke Smith from Smithers placed second in the Men’s Advanced Alpine Skiing and third in the Men’s Giant Slalom Skiing.
Smither’s snowshoers earned 11 total medals, with Kayle Richter’s silver placements in the first division of the female 100-metre snowshoe with 25.20 seconds, and women’s 200-metre shoeshoe at 1 minute, 9.46 seconds.
Torben Shuffert placed second in the men’s 100-metre snowshoe at 20.21 seconds.