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Bow Valley athletes to cheer for at Alberta Winter Games

The Bow Valley will be represented by 49 young athletes at the 2024 Alberta Winter Games in Grande Prairie this weekend (Feb. 16 to 19).

BOW VALLEY – The Bow Valley will be represented by 49 young athletes at the 2024 Alberta Winter Games in Grande Prairie this weekend (Feb. 16 to 19).

The Games that showcase the talents of Alberta athletes, ages 11-17, in 18 different sports. The Bow Valley Athletes will be competing in seven sports, cross-country, biathlon, alpine skiing, figure skating, speed skating, gymnastics and volleyball.

Leading up to the games, the Outlook asked the local athletes, in Zone 2, to share their goals and mindset going into the weekend.

Here are some of the athletes' answers.

Figure Skating

Name: Hazel Schmaltz, Canmore Skating Club, first AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport: 10 years.
What do you do best in the sport: I think that what I do best in figure skating is keeping it fun and expressing myself through my programs.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: it means a lot for me to be going. It's been my goal all season to qualify and compete at the AWG.
Biggest goal at AWG: My goal is to skate a clean program to achieve my personal best score, as well as express my music well. And to have fun.

Gymnastics

Name: Kanako Okuma, Canmore Illusions Gymnastics Club, first AWG
Age: 15                              
Years in the sport: 12 years.
What do you do best in the sport: Bars and floor.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It's an exciting experience for me and I get to see the other athletes performances during competitions. Making friends during the competition is the fun part because when you are going to compete against your rival, you get motivation to train and practice more to beat your rival.
Biggest goal at AWG: Have fun and make friends.

Name: Iris Porter, Canmore Illusions Gymnastics Club, first AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport: Nine years.
What do you do best in the sport: My best event is bars.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: it’s an exciting opportunity.
Biggest goal at AWG: Make friends.

Speed Skating

Name: Madison Fox, Banff/Canmore Speed Skating, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: Two years.
What do you do best in the sport: I think the best thing I do in speed skating is learning and improving. I really like trying to look back at my races to see what I did wrong so I can improve it at the next race.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: I'm excited. I have worked really hard in the last year to improve my skill in order to go to AWG.
Biggest goal at AWG: To improve my 400m and 800m time, and to experience it and have fun.  And I'm really excited to be able to go with my friends.

Name: Owen Kay, Banff/Canmore Speed Skating, second AWG
Age: 15
Years in the sport: Five years.
What do you do best in the sport: Mid distance races, such as 1000m.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It was a great experience in 2020, and it is a great way to connect all of Alberta into one competition. It's a great accomplishment to qualify for a provincial level of competition, all the while having a good time.
Biggest goal at AWG: My goal is to get time standards for the higher-level races, such as the Western Elite Circuit series, hosted in Calgary and Richmond.

Name: Poppy Wheelhouse, Banff/Canmore Speed Skating, first AWG, previous 2023 Alberta Summer Games athlete
Age: 12
Years in the sport: Seven years.
What do you do best in the sport: Longer distance events.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: I’m excited to compete with other skaters from around Alberta.
Biggest goal at AWG: Improve my 400m personal best.
Name: Lily Fochuk, Banff/Canmore Speed Skating, first AWG
Age: 15
Years in the sport: Six years.
What do you do best in the sport: 500m, 1000m and 1500m.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: Speed skating is my passion, and I am excited to be there.
Biggest goat at AWG: To get some personal bests and meet lots of new people.

Name: Gavin Zoffmann, Banff/Canmore Speed Skating, first AWG
Age: 15
Years in the sport: Seven years.
What do you do best in the sport: Inside passing.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: I am grateful for the opportunity. It means a lot to compete with the fastest kids in Alberta.
Biggest goal at AWG: Overall, my goal is to have fun. Coming away with a medal would be pretty nice too.

Alpine Skiing

Name: Madeline Wickins, Banff Alpine Racers, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in Sport: Eight years.
What do you do best in the sport: I do best in giant slalom. And it’s also my favourite discipline.
What does it mean to compete in AWG: For me it means a lot to compete in AWG because I have a really big passion for skiing and in really happy I got this opportunity.
Biggest goal in AWG: Is to get a top three in any discipline. The one I think is more possible is GS. So, I’m super excited for that.

Name: Matthew Ellis, Lake Louise Ski Club, First AWG
Age: 12
Years in the sport: Nine years.
What do you do best in the sport: Slalom is my best event. We train for almost every event, but I prefer slalom the most.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It’s an honour to be one of the few alpine athletes to get the chance to compete. I am excited to give all I’ve got out there.
Biggest goal at AWG: Aiming for a top ten in both events, GS and slalom.

Name: Tyler McKay, proud member of the AB Metis Nation, Lake Louise Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport: Eight years.
What do you do best in the sport: GS is my best in his sport.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG:  I feel very grateful to be in the winter games. I’m looking forward to everything from the 7 hour bus ride, to the opening ceremonies to competing with all the other athletes.  
Biggest goal at AWG: To win.

Cross-Country

Name: Jasper Backman Sorochan, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: Four years.
What do you do best in the sport: Sprinting.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: The Alberta Winter Games is a really big event, and it can open up more opportunities to compete in other events like Nationals.
Biggest goal at AWG: Have fun.

Name: Olin Baergen, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport:  12 years.
What do you do best in the sport:  I feel I am well rounded.  I race well at sprints and longer distances. I enjoy both classic and freestyle events.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG:  It is great to be part of a team.  Nordic skiing is often thought of as an individual sport but going to the Alberta Winter Games, every race we do we will be competing for points for Zone 2.
Biggest goal at AWG: To have fun with my friends.

Name: Elliott Chan, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: Eight years.
What do you do best in the sport: Doing my best.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: I am proud and looking forward to being with my friends.
Biggest goal at AWG: To have fun.

Name: Adelaide Dowling, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 11
Years in the sport: Nine years.
What do you do best in the sport: I do best at classic skiing and encouraging others.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It's going to be fun to compete with my team.
Biggest goal at AWG: My goal is to try my best, cheer on my friends, have fun and have a positive attitude.

Name:  Emma Dowman, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 11
Years in the sport: Three years.
What do you do best in the sport: Classic form.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It means I have a chance to still be an athlete when I’m older.
Biggest goal at AWG: My biggest goal in AWG is to finish the course and have fun.

Name: Kaden Driedzic, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: 11 years
What do you do best in the sport: Sprints.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: I am looking forward to a fun new experience and to meeting other zone skiers.
Biggest goal at AWG: To have fun.

Name: Larix Hallett, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, second AWG
Age: 15
Years in the sport: 11 years.
What do you do best in the sport: Skate ski long distance races.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It gives me a sense of excitement and accomplishment to race for Canmore.
Biggest goal at AWG: A top five result in the skate ski race.

Name: Ebba Lemyre, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: 12 years.
What do you do best in the sport: Classic mass start.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: Both of my siblings went a few years ago, so being the youngest I wanted to make sure we could all go.
Biggest goal at AWG: I want to win a medal.

Name: Isla Lynch, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport: 12 years.
What do you do best in the sport: I think I am best at skate skiing and especially when it comes to longer distances.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It's a great opportunity to race somewhere else in Alberta that I’ve never been to, and to represent my zone.
Biggest goal at AWG: I would love to come in the top five in one of the races.

Name: Brynn Wadsworth, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: 11 years.
What do you do best in the sport: Skate sprints, distance classic.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: I'm so pumped to be competing in AWG, I've heard stories about how fun it is and it's such a good opportunity to race and hang out with other athletes.
Biggest goal at AWG: Try my best, and hopefully podium or beat my rival.

Name: Lincoln Meekins, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, second AWG
Age: 15
Years in the sport: 13 years.
What do you do best in the sport: Skate technique for long distances.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It means a great chance to practice racing and have fun with the friends I've made throughout Alberta.
Biggest goal at AWG: I want to podium in all three races.

Name: Logan Rostoker, XC Bragg Creek ski club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: Two years.
What do you do best in the sport: Free technique and endurance.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: This is an opportunity to compete at a higher level means a lot to me.
Biggest goal at AWG: To have a wonderful experience, do well, and meet new people.

Name: Evelyn Peperkorn, XC Bragg Creek Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 12
Years in the sport: 7 years.
What do you do best in the sport: Classic racing.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It is a really cool chance to do something I only recently found out about, and be able to compete with so many other skilled athletes from all over Alberta.
Biggest goal at AWG: Have fun.

Biathlon

Name: Rhea Verhulst, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport: Five years.
What do you do best in the sport: Skiing.
What does it mean to you to compete at AWG: It's cool to compete at a more provincial level.
Biggest goal at AWG: To have fun and hit targets.

Name: Caden Wallis, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in the sport: Nine years.
What do you do best in the sport: Long distance classic races normally, the more uphill the better.
What does it mean for you to be competing at AWG: It was my goal to get in to AWG this year and it will be very fun to race with all of my friends and knowing that we're some of the best in Alberta.
Biggest goal at AWG: To podium on either race.

Name: Sonija Rapcewicz, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, second AWG
Age: 14
Years in sport: Three years.
What do you do best in the sport: One skate (V1 skate technique).
What does it mean for you to be competing at the AWG: It is a good opportunity for me to try my best and to meet new people.
Biggest Goal for AWG: I'd like to shoot clean.

Name: Tighe Preece, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 11
Years in sport: Three years.
What do you do best in the sport: I do the skiing part best because of my endurance and stamina. My shooting is good when I slow down and take my time with each shot I take.
What does it mean for you to be competing at the AWG: Competing at the Alberta Winter Games shows that I have been working hard in training and trying my best at the races. I am proud of myself for my dedication and hard work. 
Biggest Goal for AWG: My goal is to get into the top 15.  

Name: Yvaine Preece, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 13
Years in sport: Five years.
What do you do best in the sport: In my opinion I do the best at shooting because I am dedicated to practice, and I ask my coaches how I can improve. 
What does it mean for you to be competing at the AWG:  I am really happy to have qualified because it is going to be a really fun experience and I am going to get to have new experiences, meet new friends and compete against the best in my sport. 
Biggest Goal for AWG: I like to set small goals that I can reach each day in each race. My overall goal is to achieve the small goals I set each day.  

Name: Elizabeth Kaine, Canmore Nordic Ski Club, first AWG
Age: 12
Years in sport: Three years.
What do you do best in the sport: Shoot.
What does it mean for you to be competing at the AWG: It’s a great experience to bond with other people and improve in the sport.
Biggest Goal for AWG: Try my best, and have fun. 

Volleyball

Name: Makyra Hielema, Rocky Mountain Volleyball Club, First AWG
Age: 14
Years in the sport: One and a half years.
What do you do best in the sport: I feel like I’m a good blocker and server.
What does it mean for you to be competing in AWG: It means a lot because it gives me an opportunity I haven’t experienced and give my home team some exposure.
Biggest goal at AWG: Helping my team place top 10 in the tournament.

To keep up with the results visit, https://www.2024awg.com/.


About the Author: Matthew Thompson

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