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Last updateFri, 24 May 2024 12pm

U13 Pure Venom play hard at provincials

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The Drumheller U13 Pure Venom softball team played hard at an appearance at provincials and showed a strong competitive spirit.
The U13 Pure Venom was in Leduc for the tournament on the weekend of July 28. Despite having a young team with only three senior players, the team showed resilience and played strong the entire tournament. They had one victory over Delburne.
“We did well. We were in every game, it just happened to be that we came up a little bit short,” said assistant coach Ryan Bitz. “Every game was a good game. We were pretty happy with the effort the girls put in, and it was a good experience for them.”
He adds it was a learning curve for the coaches as well, seeing how serious other teams were at this elite level.
He says he appreciates the team’s competitive spirit. “They competed in every game, they give it all they got. In this sport in one inning, it can all turn around. They are not afraid to hit the ball,” said Bitz. “Their effort was always on par, and that is all a coach can ask for.”
He said the team had to qualify for the tournament and played well to make the cut, beating Okotoks in a three-game series.
“They (Okotoks) are a little bit of an older group, but the girls stuck with it and prevailed,” said Bitz. “They deserved to go, they did a lot of hard work this year to get there.”
With less than a handful of second-year players, who will be heading to the next level, the future looks bright for Pure Venom.
“The first-year group came a long way and a big part of that is head coach Bryce Pears. He sure got the girls in tune with what ball really is, and that helped a lot to get them where they are,” said Bitz.
He also says they had great support from the community, the association and the coaches.
Along with Pears and Bitz, Vanessa Jensen also was an assistant coach. They were also supported by Brooklynn Hartman. Last season she played at Dakota College at Bottineau for the Lady Jacks. She helped the team with their pitching.


Summer games silver medal for Drumheller softball player

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A Drumheller softball player is an Alberta Games Silver Medalist.
Sophie Olsen, 14, daughter of Bryan and Crystal Olsen, has been playing softball in Drumheller for the Pure Venom. This spring she tried out for the Alberta Summer Games and was selected to play.
The Alberta Summer Games were hosted by Okotoks and Black Diamond from July 20-23. There were 14 different sports represented at the games, and over 300 medals were presented.
Olsen played for the Zone 2 Big Country team. They played through five games, and she pitched in three.
They went all the way to the finals against a strong Zone 1 Sunny South team. Big Country won silver.
She said the Summer Games experience was exceptional.
“It was really nice, you got to meet lots of new friends from different ball teams,” she said. “Just getting to stay in a place as a team for a few nights was really fun.”
Some of these same players she may connect with again as she pursues her sport.
“ I want to take ball far,” she tells the Mail, noting she would like to play at the post-secondary level, possibly at an American college.
Come next season she is planning to try out for a ball team which may take her out of the valley to pursue her sport.

Calon to represent province in volleyball

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A local volleyball player made the cut and is joining the U16 Team Alberta Volleyball team.
Andi Calon recently spent a week at the University of Alberta trying out for the U16 Team Alberta Volleyball team. She, along with 42 other girls from all over the province, were invited to try out.
Last Sunday, July 9, she received the exciting news she had made the team.
Two teams of 12 girls were chosen for the competition teams and they will travel to St. Catharines, Ontario to compete in the Canada Cup. The Volleyball Canada website states the Canada Cup will bring together Canada’s next generation of high-performance athletes to compete for their home province or territory in a national championship.
Andi plays middle blocker for the Canada West volleyball club out of Calgary during the club season and was chosen for the middle blocker position for Team Alberta, too.
She appreciates her club coaches for all their support and teaching and a special thank you to the administrators at St. Anthony’s School, Celeste Schrock, Betina Gross and Susan Currie for their help and encouragement and for allowing her to use the school gym for extra practice in the days leading up to the tryout.
The Canada Cup runs from July 20-23 and will be played at Brock University.


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