Lakeland strikes gold while snowboarding make its debut

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Andrew Schopp
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Lakeland's Justin Bracken, of Hudson Bay, takes aim in the male sprint event on Thursday at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club. Competing in his first biathalon race, Bracken took home the silver medal in the juvenile division as the field of skiiers endured adverse weather conditions. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp

The second half of the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games kicked off on Thursday. 

Lakeland mined medals in biathlon and snowboarding as preliminary play in other events wrapped up. 

Bracken takes silver in biathlon debut

Skiing in his first biathlon race, Lakeland’s Justin Bracken of Hudson Bay took home a silver medal in the juvenile male sprint on Thursday at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.

After the event was delayed about an hour due to adverse weather conditions, a trio of skiers represented Lakeland as the three-day event kicked off. 

As he eagerly awaited the event’s results, Lakeland coach Chris Fettig said he was impressed with Bracken’s premier performance.

“He passed people who went out in front of him,” Fettig said, adding he was equally pleased with the skiing of Lakeland junior males Ryan Potts and Mitchell Jones. “Ryan was maybe the fastest skier out there, his shooting was real good and I think there was only one miss for all three guys.”

Potts, an experienced cross-country skier who took home silver and bronze medals in a pair of Games cross-country events, finished fourth overall with a time of 12:50. Jones was right behind his teammate, placing fifth with a time of 14:04.

With the temperature dropping to nearly -18 in Prince Albert on Thursday, Fettig said the frigid weather had an adverse effect on the course, slowing down the entire field.

“When it’s cold, the snow is slower so it means longer skiing,” he explained. “It just slows things down for everybody.” 

Fettig added that the cold weather also has a slight effect on the event’s shooting aspect. 

“Cold fingers can definitely make shooting a little more difficult,” Fettig said. “If you’ve got cold fingers, you don’t have that feel on the trigger.”

With Bracken’s silver-medal winning time of 13:24, Lakeland hopes to carry the momentum from Thursday’s success into the mass start event on Friday.

The biathlon event consists of two types of competitions. Thursday’s sprint had athletes shooting twice while skiing three one-km loops while the mass start on Friday will have them skiing four loops and shooting three times.

“It will be hectic,” Fettig said of the upcoming mass start event where skiers are seeded according to the sprint’s results. “Coaches will have to be on the ball.”

The mass start event kicks off on Friday with the juveniles at 10 a.m., followed by the juniors at 11 a.m. at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.

• • • 

Lakeland continues to shuffle lines as girls drop second game

After dropping their first two games in pool play, the Lakeland girl’s hockey team will look to bounce back against Saskatoon on Friday.

Following a 4-1 loss to South East on Wednesday, Lakeland fell 6-4 to Prairie Central on Thursday, but coach Jean Fauchon has seen lots of positives in the tournament so far.

“We’re a hard-working team, we have strong big defencemen,” Fauchon said. “We’ve got to get more shots on net, other than that, goaltending is strong, we just need more offence.” 

With the tournament fielding teams of girls from two different bantam age groups, co-coach Sean Fauchon said the group is building chemistry, despite limited preparation time. 

“It’s a good group of girls,” Sean said. “Usually we’re allowed four hours of practice after you pick your team, but this year there were no practices allowed so we couldn’t see who could play with who.”

As the team melds together, the pair of coaches continue to shuffle the lines.

“We’re switching the lines up and giving everybody an equal chance to showcase what they can do and play with different people.” Jean said.

The Lakeland girls are back in action on Friday, wrapping up pool play with a tilt against Saskatoon at 11:30 a.m. at the Dave G. Steuart Arena. 

With files from Tyler Clark

• • • 

McDougall strikes gold as snowboarding makes its debut

Prince Albert’s own Reece McDougall struck gold on Thursday as the Game’s inaugural snowboarding event kicked off at Little Red River Park.

“It was fun,” McDougall said of winning the U17 slope style event . “I’ve been preparing for this particular run for about a month.”

The six-member team consisting of four males and a pair of females from Prince Albert, Christopher Lake and Melfort, have been training at Little Red over the last six weeks, said Lakeland coach Adam Balon.

Snowboarding is appearing in the Saskatchewan Winter Games for the first time and Lakeland coach Adam Balon said the course at Little Red, consisting of a series of jumps and rails, is “constantly evolving.”

“We’re just starting to feel out the course and put some runs together,” said Balon who also serves as venue chairmen. “I’m super proud of our local crew and we have a very strong field of athletes. I look forward to some medals and great riding this week.”

McDougall and the rest of the Lakeland team will look to add to their medal collection on Friday as the slope style event trudges on before the big air competition commences on Saturday.

Snowboarding action on Friday kicks off with preliminary runs at 10:30 a.m. at Little Red River Park.

With files from Tyler Clark

• • • 

Though eliminated from gold medal contention on Thursday, the Lakeland badminton team still has the bronze squarely in their sights.

After going 1-1 in pool play on Thursday, beating North 6-3 but falling to Saskatoon 5-4, Lakeland must now win their final two pool matches against South East and Rivers West to make it to the bronze medal match on Saturday.

Lakeland coach Mark Arcand said his team, who train with some of the members of Sasktoon, are simply having fun playing in Carlton Comprehensive High School’s brand new gym.

“The kids love it,” Arcand said adding the sentiment of nearly all other coaches at the Games, that the 2014 edition has been a massive success. “Everything is well run and going smooth, hats off to the host and the Saskatchewan Badminton Association.”

Although dropping a game on Thursday, Arcand said competition was tight as the team looks forward to wrapping up pool play on Friday and entering finals.

“We’ve got a strong contingent of girls,” he said. “As long as we win both matches on Friday we can go onto the bronze medal game on Saturday. It’s close, good competition for the kids.”

Lakeland resume pool play on Friday, taking on South East at 9 a.m. before they meet Rivers West at 12 a.m. in Carlton Comprehensive High School’s new gym.

• • • 

2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games schedule for Friday, Feb. 21

Badminton at Carlton Comprehensive High School

9:00 South West vs. Prairie Central

9:00 Lakeland vs. South East

9:00 Regina vs. Parkland

12:00 Saskatoon vs. North

12:00 Lakeland vs. Rivers West

17:00 4th Pool A vs. 4th Pool B

17:00 3rd Pool A vs. 3rd Pool B

Biathlon at Prince Albert Golf and Country Club

9:00 Zeroing

10:00 Mass Start Juvenile Girls

10:30 Mass Start Juvenile Boys

11:00 Mass Start Junior Girls

11:30 Mass Start Junior Boys

12:30 Medal Presentations

Gymnastics at Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club

T&T, RG INDIVIDUAL ALL AROUND

10:30 Rhythmic Individual All Around Competition

10:30 Tramp & Tumbling Individual All Around Competition

13:30 All Around Awards - RG & TTG

MAG, WAG INDIVIDUAL ALL AROUND

15:00 Men's Individual All Around Competition

15:00 Women's Individual All Around Competition

18:00 All Around Awards - MAG & WAG

Female hockey at Dave G. Steuart and Kinsmen Arenas

11:30 Game #9 Lakeland (8) vs Saskatoon (6) Dave G. Steuart

17:00 Game #10 South West (3) vs Parkland Valley (4) Kinsmen Arena

17:00 Game # 11 Prairie Central (5) vs Southeast (1) Dave G. Steuart

19:30 Game #12 Regina (2) vs Rivers West (7) Kinsmen Arena

Snowboarding at Little Red River Park

Slopestyle

10:30 Preliminary Runs - All Competitors

14:00 11-13 Boys&Girls Finals

15:00 14-16 Boys&Girls Finals

15:30 Medals Presentation

Speed Skating at the Art Hauser Centre

9:45 200 meter heats – Male

10:00 200 meter heats – Female

10:30 200 meter finals – Male

10:45 200 meter finals – Female

13:00 3000 meter super finals –Male

13:30 3000 meter super finals– Female

14:15 2000 meter relay heats - Male

Table Tennis at Alfred Jenkins Field House

8:30 Final Round - Cadet Boy & Girl Teams

13:00 Final Round - Junior Boy & Junior Girl Teams

18:00 Cadet Boy & Cadet Girl Singles

Wrestling at Carlton Comprehensive High School

8:30 (1) Pool A1 vs Pool B2

8:30 (2) Pool A2 vs Pool B1

10:00 (3) Pool A3 vs Pool B4

10:00 (4) Pool A4 vs Pool B3

11:30 (5th/6th Place) Winner 3 vs Winner 4

11:30 (7th/8th Place) Loser 3 vs Loser 4

13:00 If A5 Team has never wrestled 8th place Team they can challenge for 8th Place

13:00 (Bronze) Loser 1 vs Loser 2

14:30 (Gold) Winner 1 vs Winner 2 

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