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Last updateFri, 12 Jul 2024 11pm

U17 Smash earn bronze at provincials

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The U17 Smash Blue Club Volleyball team ended their season on a high note with a bronze medal at Provincials.
The Smash went to provincials in Calgary on the weekend of April 20.
The team played well at the tournament, but in a close match was shut out of the championship match in the semifinals by Dawson Creek. They went to the bronze medal match and beat the Wetaskiwin Sabres in three sets.
“They worked super hard,” said Coach Stacey Hainstock. “This weekend, they peaked with a phenomenal display of skill and fortitude.”
Hainstock has coached this team for the last couple of years and Koren McDougald has coached this group of girls since U13. Both are retiring, so this was a high note to end their careers on.
The team has a busy season and worked to improve their play. They appeared in three premiere tournaments and attended the Sylvan Lake Wave Invitational Tournament on February 20. The Smash also hosted a home tournament at the new Morrin School Gym on March 9 where they earned a silver medal.
“We started off the season sort of slow. We had a hard time melding as a team. We did a lot of mental fortitude-building and a lot of sports psychology and it paid off. The team we saw at provincials was a different team than what we saw all year, they just came together,” said Coach Hainstock.
This team has athletes from Three Hills, Morrin and Drumheller on their roster. Coach Hainstock says they improved skills through the season and despite coming from different schools and communities built a solid team spirit.
“I think these kids have built lifelong friendships,” she said.


Local swimmers compete at provincials

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A couple local swimmers were having a great season in the water, and qualified for winter provincials.
Eddie Boyd and Grady McGougan trained and competed this season with the Stettler Tsunamis Swim Club. They had a great year, and both qualified for the winter provincials.
Eddie had been swimming with the team for two years and qualified for provincials. They were held at the 2024 Winter Festival in Sherwood Park at the end of January.
"He did very well,” said coach Jarek Bursik. “He had personal best in all, he just excelled in that meet.”
Eddie qualified in the backstroke and freestyle.
He explains, to qualify for the provincial competition the swimmer must meet time standards.
Grady also qualified for provincials in his first year with the club. These were in Edmonton in March. He qualified in all the breaststroke distances.
“He did very well. He actually made it to the finals in the provincials. He elevated his personal best even more than he expected himself,” said Coach Bursik.
The swim season continues for Grady as he works his way back to qualify in the provincials coming in June.
Unfortunately, Eddie’s season was cut short due to injury.
Coach Bursik says he enjoys seeing his swimmers compete, improve and have fun.
“We can talk sports and performances, but for me the most meaningful thing is when we are leaving practice or swim meets, they have a smile on their face,” he said.

Special Olympics Alpine Skiers wrap up season

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This season involved the team’s competition athletes participating in a regular low-key season focussing on dryland and on-snow training on an off-competition year.
Three Drumheller athletes, Mitchell Pennington, Brian James and Jay Dekeyser, participated in dryland training weekly at the Badlands Community Facility (BCF) from November 2023 to March 2024, prior to and during our on-snow training. The skiers completed two on-snow training days at the Nakiska Ski Resort on Saturday, February 3 and Saturday, March 9.
On the March 9 training at Nakiska, the day was cut short due to a major power outage that shut down chairlifts, and the main Lodge facilities which forced the team to cut short its training and head home early.
“Nakiska was kind enough to credit our day’s lift cost for a day next season. Kudos to them for their understanding of that event. We were fortunate to have positive weather and great snow conditions at the resort this year. We were scheduled for an original first on-snow development day in January but were delayed due to extreme cold temperatures,” said coach Martin McSween.
Competitive skier, Brian Tabor, from Olds completed on-snow training with the team this year at Nakiska Ski Resort with support from volunteer coach Murray Elliott. Coaches saw marked improvement in all the athletes’ skill development in preparation for next year’s ski season with a potential Qualifier for Special Olympics Alberta Winter Provincials in 2027.
Competition athletes are Brian Tabor-Olds, Mitchell Pennington, Jay Dekeyser and newcomer Brian James-Drumheller. Brian James has been a developing athlete now ready for competition.
The team met for a last dryland training on Thursday, March 14 at the BCF and met for a season wind-up supper at Bernie and the Boys restaurant in Drumheller.
The team received great community support, including from Doug Lubinski and staff of Western GM Drumheller who sponsored a vehicle for transportation to Nakiska from Drumheller, Karen Mengersen of Special Olympics Olds and Special Olympics Alberta Staff for behind-the-scenes support and encouragement, Nakiska Ski Resort and Molly Faulkner of group sales and the rental services staff,staff at the BCF for their kind support, Murray Elliott for on-snow coaching, lodge support, and transporting our Olds athlete, and of course the athlete’s families and residential support staff.


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