Laoyam Eagles win again in Vancouver 

Junior dragon boat team defends title for 15th year

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Pemberton kept its incredible dragon boat streak alive last weekend, with the youth Laoyam Eagles team defending the junior title at the RioTintoAlcan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver for a record 16th year.

The Eagles started their first heat with a win, finishing the 500 metre course in 2:16.14 — 10 seconds ahead of the next boat in the category.

In their second heat the team went even faster, finishing the race in 2:06.25 with a 14 second gap over the next team.

That moved the team into the semi-finals where they won in 2:14.68, three seconds ahead of the Lowell Cardinal Crewzers. They faced Lowell again in the Urban Impact A Championships, this time posting their fastest time of the event — 2:00.07, while Lowell placed second in 2:06.23.

To put the Eagles' streak into perspective, a decade ago there were maybe a dozen teams competing; this year the junior division had 35 teams.

Meanwhile the Laoyam Falcons, a development team for the Eagles, had a solid race as well. The team won its first race by just over a tenth of a second, versus longtime Pemberton rivals Eric Hamber. Their second race didn't go as well, with the Falcons finishing third overall.

The Falcons rallied with their semi-final heat, just 0.07 seconds ahead of the second-place crew. That put them in the finals with the Eagles, where they placed fifth overall.

The Laoyam Osprey, the junior junior team, was relegated to the B Championship, where they placed fifth.

The Pemberton Bald Eagles, the community's women's team, raced in the mixed and women's division. In their first mixed heat they won by just three seconds, and in their opening women's race they crossed the line a full 12.5 seconds ahead of the next team.

They slipped to third in their second heat in a very close race, less than 1.5 seconds back of first and just .08 seconds back of second.

In the women's division semi-finals, the Bald Eagles placed second overall to move into the finals. They also placed third in the mixed division semi-finals, and moved to the finals in both categories.

They ended their day third in the Shangri-La Hotel Competitive A Division on the women's side, while the mixed team placed ninth.

In the long distance "Guts and Glory" race, the women's team placed second out of 10 teams, moving onto the 18-boat final where they placed 10th.

The Eagles were Aleea Dahinden, Lauren Phare, Dayna Goochey, Jessica deHaan, Tachona Jones, Jenna Wilkens, Pala Kovacs, Liam Miller, Jenna Spencer, Lane Gobert, Sean McGuire, Jesse Miller, Jonas Horvath, Kalio Sittlinger, Will Bradner, Alex McKay, Cavan Oulette, Braden McGuire, Dalton Pehota, Mark Couglin and Pascha Protter, with Annie Norman steerings and Krista Simpson and Rachel Leverton on drums.

The Falcons were Shelby Goochey, Brook Phare, Isabel Peters, Nicole Pidperyhora, Keeley Oulette, Emily Knight, Lyra Tuck, Brooklyn Koning, Oliver Esseltine, Ethan Hess, Nathaniel Dolan-Miller, Riel Tetrault, Benjamin Leis, Spence Barker, Jonathan Rabung, Adrian Thomson, Adam Shippit, Sara McLeod, Declan Mares and Taylor Atwater, with Bailey Thomson steering and Krista Simpson and Rachel Leverton on drums.

The Ospreys were Scott Couglin, Madison Graces, Jack Fawcett, Amanda McIvor, Jessie Bull, Madeline Boys, Erica VanLoon, Amhani Jones, Tansy Powell, Abby Inglis, Laura Brousseau, Anne Linklater, Molly Rothwell, Maddy Beaudry, Victoria Martinsen, Rhianna Vinnedge, Kira-Lee Brandt, Megan Pidperhyhora, Ashley LeBlanc, Summer Woodcock, Sophia Tondelli and Kevin Linklater, with Riva Fisher steering and Emma Beattie on the drum.

The dragon boat teams are coached by Dr. Hugh Fisher, a former Olympic gold medallist in the sport of canoe.

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