Local athletes secure 20 medals at B.C. Winter Games 

Whistler and Pemberton youngsters excel in a variety of events

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KAPTURE PHOTOGRAPHY/COURTESY OF THE B.C. WINTER GAMES - GS GIANT Kaila Lafreniere took home three medals at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops from Feb. 23 to 25.
  • Photo by Kapture Photography/courtesy of the B.C. Winter Games
  • GS GIANT Kaila Lafreniere took home three medals at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops from Feb. 23 to 25.

Whistler and Pemberton athletes played a huge role in Vancouver-Coastal's success at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops this weekend.

Local competitors pitched in to help collect 20 of the region's 128 medals as it topped the table.

As for alpine skiing, Kaila Lafreniere had a banner weekend, taking gold in the two-run giant slalom, silver in the two-run slalom and silver in the one-run giant slalom.

Sara Stiel also took home three medals, winning the one-run giant slalom, taking second in the two-run giant slalom and third in the two-run slalom. As well, Sascha Gilbert won silver in the men's single-run giant slalom and Sam Fuller also secured a silver in the men's two-run giant slalom.

Lafreniere explained she's been focused intently on the GS this season as she trains four times a week. It's paid off.

"I was pretty excited to do the GS. I was pretty calm at the top of the course. I just went for it and I did well," she said. "My specialty, before I would probably say (it was) slalom, but now I'm doing pretty well with GS."

Lafreniere, no stranger to the Games' choice of resort, was thrilled to race on a course she loved.

"Honestly, the snow was amazing. Sun Peaks is one of my favourite hills to ski on," she said.

While Lafreniere didn't get a chance to see any other events due to the busy alpine schedule, she was thrilled to take part in festivities like the opening and closing ceremonies.

"It felt like we were at the Olympics, I'm not even joking," she said, noting she enjoyed the music and camaraderie.

Whistler biathletes Simon Long took gold in the men's team relay while Taylor Fulton and Mallory Mellor did the same on the women's side. Long and Fulton then teamed up with Garibaldi Highlands' Sofie Hill and Vancouver's Sean Benson to take bronze in the mixed relay. Fulton also took a bronze medal in the girls' mass start race.

Fulton and Long initially thought they had also won gold in the mixed relay, but they had penalty time added after one of the team members' guns broke after shots had been taken. Long disagreed with the ruling, but was still glad to have topped one podium on the weekend.

"I'm just still happy I was able to be here and get gold yesterday," Long said via text message.

The team members had prepared for the race by looking at individual times of their competitors and after some arithmetic, figured they had a strong chance of challenging some of the top biathletes in the province.

Meanwhile, in snowboarding, Juliette Pelchat edged fellow Whistlerite Maggie Crompton in the snowboard-cross final. However, they switched in the slopestyle competition as Crompton took gold to Pelchat's silver. On the men's side, Truth Smith snagged slopestyle silver.

Freestyle skier Daniel Gannon took gold in the U14 men's moguls event while cross-country skier took silver in the individual sprint juvenile girls 500-metre race.

As well, gymnast Mali Forest made Pemberton proud as she helped the JO 7 and JO 8 women's team to silver.

Full results are available online at bcgames.org.

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