Track conditions at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club were outstanding for the Winter Games cross-country skiing events. Lakeland took home both gold and bronze medals in the interval start event on Monday heading into the free technique sprint events on Tuesday. Results for Tuesday’s cross-country skiing events were not available to The Herald at press time. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp
Lakeland rides perfect conditions to gold
Conditions on the cross-country skiing track at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club have afforded Team Lakeland the opportunity to meet some personal bests, and earn some medals.
On Monday, Lakeland skier Matt Gill of Prince Albert won gold in the midget interval start classic event. Not only did Gill take home the gold in his age group, but he posted the fastest overall time of 17:46.6 as well.
Joining Gill on the podium on Monday was Lakeland skier Ryan Potts of Shellbrook, who took home the bronze in the event’s juvenile division.
Lakeland cross-country skiing coach Bill Jeffery said the team could not have asked for better weather and course conditions, maximizing the team’s performance.
“The weather is fantastic, it’s like springtime,” Jeffery said. “It really helps when it’s warmer, the snow is a lot faster and there’s hardly any wind so it’s ideal.”
Jeffery explained that older snow allows for a faster course and with no snowfall in Prince Albert on Monday and Tuesday, the course at the Golf and Curling club is at peak conditions.
“It’s really fast,” he said of the course where the temperature was at around -2 on Tuesday. “The snow has worked up, it had a couple days to settle, we’re in paradise here.”
Even with ideal course and weather conditions, Jeffery reminds his team of the sport’s unpredictability, instilling within them a never quit attitude.
“I’m telling the kids never give up because it’s all based on time,” he said. “Sometimes there might be a kid in the lead and they might lose their concentration and all of sudden they’re down and you go from third to first.”
Lakeland continued to take advantage of the warm weather and ideal track conditions on Tuesday as free technique spring event’s wrapped up. Results for Tuesday’s free technique events were not available to The Herald at press time.
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Pikes gain valuable experience in first formal competition
Competing in their first formal competition, the Prince Albert Pikes Synchronized Swimming Club, who form team Lakeland in the Winter Games, hung with the best of them on Tuesday in the team co-ed preliminaries.
Four swimmers represented Lakeland in the figures event on Monday, with Prince Albert’s Jamie Fremont finishing a team best 60th with a score of 45.22.
Chlose Lysitza, Adriena Bates and Nicole Penner finished in 63rd, 64th and 65th respectively.
Lakeland assistant coach Connie Lam said participation in the Games is not about results.
“It’s more about the experience,” Lam said. “This is their first actual competition, the other ones we just did pre-swimming, just getting the experience of competition, regardless if we’re going for marks or not.”
Heading into the finals on Wednesday, Lakeland placed sixth on Tuesday, finishing with a score of 43.7 behind South West who posted a score of 48.9.
Lakeland head coach Jennifer Gerrond said she was impressed with the team’s transition from pre-swims to formal competition in the Winter Games.
“They have really improved,” Gerrond said. “We were proud of how on time they were on Tuesday.”
Lam added that the other teams in the field were impressed with Lakeland’s transition as well.
“All the other competitors and their coaches were all really supportive,” Lam said. “They all said we looked pretty good, so we’re going to take their word for it.”
Team finals take place on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Marion Aquatics Centre.
With files from Matt Gardner
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As of Tuesday morning, no other Lakeland team in the Winter Games have mined more medals than the district’s crop of judo athletes.
Lakeland collected eight medals in a series of judo events on Monday at Carlton Comprehensive High School, including Miranda Bellisle who struck gold in the +55kg individual competition.
Bellisle triumphed 3-0 in the event’s final over teammate Megan Neuman, who took home silver.
Lakeland female judo coach Deborah McKay said the team’s ability to overcome adversity led to their success.
“Some of them had some very tough fights and those are the fights you learn the most from,” McKay explained. “They had some losses, but they learned from them and came back to win their following matches.”
In the male category, Prince Albert native Josh Guthrie took home the gold in the +60kg individual competition while five other Lakeland fighters took home the bronze in four different categories.
On Tuesday, the Lakeland males won bronze in the team event as they look forward to the skills competition on Wednesday.
“It’s their chance to demonstrate their skills and show their throws and technique,” McKay explained of Wednesday’s event. “They all have a chance to win medals, they are advanced in their technique.”
Medals aside, McKay added that the Games have been a tremendous experience for the entire team as they head into several other competitions throughout the country in the coming months.
“It’s a great learning opportunity for all of them,” she said. “It’s hard to go through a loss especially at this age, they all want to win, but they have to learn to take it with stride and learn to take a loss as a personal win for themselves.”
McKay expects the medals to keep rolling in on Wednesday as the team’s hard work and dedication to the sport continue to pay off.
“I don’t expect anything less,” McKay said of the teams medal aspirations on Wednesday. “Their dedication has shown, they work hard and I expect them to do very well.”
The judo skills competition kicks off at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at Carlton Comprehensive High School.
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2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games schedule for Wednesday, Feb. 19
Air Pistol at Alfred Jenkins Field House
8:00 Men’s Team – Section 1
9:45 Women’s Team – Section 1
11:30 Men’s Team – Section 2
13:00 Women’s Team – Section 2
15:00 Medal presentations and Closing Ceremonies
Alpine Skiing at Wapiti Valley
9:00 Female/Male Duel Slalom - 1st Run
11:15 Female/Male Due; Slalom - 2nd Run
13:00 Medal Presentations/Closing Ceremonies
Bowling at Minto Recreation Centre
9:00 All Teams Stepladder Final - 4th vs 3rd
10:00 All Teams Stepladder Final - Winner vs 2nd
11:00 All Teams Stepladder Final - Winner vs 1st
13:15 Medal Ceremonies
13:30 Closing Ceremonies
Cross-Country Skiing at Prince Albert Golf and Country Club
11:00 Race: 3-person Relay--Free Technique
13:30 Awards at Venue
Curling at Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club
19:30 Opening ceremonies
Figure Skating at Dave G. Steuart Arena
10:30am Class 1 Pattern Dance
10:45am Class 2 Pattern Dance
11:25am Class 3 Pattern Dance
11:40am Medal Ceremonies – Pattern Dance
Female Hockey at Dave G. Stueuart and Kinsmen Arenas
16:45 Opening ceremonies -- Dave G. Steuart
17:00 Game #1 Saskatoon (6) vs Prairie Central (5) Dave G. Steuart
19:30 Game #2 Southeast (1) vs Lakeland (8) Dave G. Steuart
Male Hockey at Art Hauser Centre and Kinsmen Arena
9:00 Game # 17 A4 vs B4 D final 7th/8th Kinsmen Arena
9:00 Game # 18 A2 vs B2 Bronze/4th Art Hauser Centre
11:30 Game # 19 A3 vs B3 5th/6th Kinsmen Arena
11:30 Game # 20 A1 vs B1 Gold/Silver Art Hauser Centre
14:00 Medal Presentations Art Hauser Centre
Judo at Carlton Comprehensive High School
8:00 Skills Competition
11:00 Medal Presentations/Closing Ceremonies
Synchronized Swimming at Marion Aquatic Center
10:30 Team FINALS
11:15 Awards Ceremony – Duet Flight A and B, Team