Content and photos courtesy of Team Alberta:
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Alberta is back on its medal-winning ways at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, AB, having won a total of seven medals today in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and trampoline.
Local athlete Kalena Soehn won the Trampoline gold medal in front of her friends and family, with Alberta athletes securing an additional three silver and three bronze for the host province.
Alberta currently remains in second place of the medal standings with 51 medals.
RED DEER STAR KALENA SOEHN TAKES GOLD; ZACH BLAKELY SILVER IN TRAMPOLINE
Local athlete Kalena Soehn, 19, of Red Deer, AB qualified first in the trampoline event in the morning qualifiers, earning a spot in the finals thanks to a performance judged at 96. 11 points. Teammate Alex Boucher of Calgary had the fifth-best qualifying score of 90.725 points, but only one athlete per province can advance to the main final. Boucher competed in the B Finals.
In the final, Soehn was the last to compete, and she didn’t disappoint. She beautifully executed her routine, scoring 51.170 points for the gold medal.
Soehn is the 2017 Canadian National Champion in the event. She has been competing on the Junior National Team since 2014.
At the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC, Soehn finished in third place winning the bronze medal. Today, she upgraded to the gold medal.
“I’m still shaking a little bit. The place was buzzing, and it was amazing. I felt very good up there. I’ve definitely grown a lot since 2015. In those four years, I have been able to get better, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to show that off here in Red Deer,” said Soehn after the competition.
In the men’s event, Zachary Blakely, 19, of Red Deer, AB qualified the main finals by posting the third-best score at 98.840 points. He posted the best free routine score of qualifiers, jumping from sixth to third in the qualifiers.
“It was the most fun experience in my life. Normally I am pretty anxious about competing. Here, I had so many people that I knew. Looking at the crowd, I couldn’t find an area in the crowd of people I didn’t know. I told myself to go for it, doing my best and have lots of fun,” Zach Blakely after the competition.
There will be more trampoline competition, with the team mix event taking place tomorrow and the men and women taking place on Thursday.
ALBERTA SECURES TWO MEDALS IN ALPINE SKIING AT NAKISKA
The 2019 Canada Games Alpine skiing events started this morning at Nakiska, host venue of the 1988 Olympic Games, and Alberta took no time to stand out, winning the silver and bronze medals in the Super G event. Makenna Lebsack, 15 of Calgary, AB raced down the course with a time of 46.43 seconds. Teammates Brett Richardson, 15 of Canmore, AB was close behind in third place stopping the clock at 46.72 seconds.
Alberta placed its four ski racers in the Top-10 of the event, finishing in second, third, fourth and tenth positions.
On the men’s side, Jesse Kertesz-Knight was Alberta’s fastest down the hill in the seventh position.
The Alpine event resumes tomorrow with the Giant Slalom events.
REED GODFREY EARNS SILVER, ISSY HENDRY BRONZE IN CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
The first snow events of the second week of the competition were held at Riverbend Golf and Country Club, and Alberta’s Reed Godfrey won the silver medal with a time of 22:57 after 10km of racing. Godfrey earned the silver by just 0.8 seconds in front of Graham Ritchie of Ontario. British Columbia’s Rémi Drolet took the top spot on the podium.
“I’m really happy we were able to race today despite the cold. I went for a run this morning, and it was pretty cold. But it warmed up by race time. The track was really fast today considering how cold it was. I’m really impressed with the course and the snow conditions. I am happy with the results. A second place is a great place at the Games. But I am not happy with the performance. I didn’t pace it very well today,” said Godfrey after the race.
In the women’s race, Issy (Isobel) Hendry, 16 of Canmore, AB was the third fastest to complete the 7.5 km distance, stopping the clock at 22:42, just two seconds behind the silver medal position.
Hendry said after the race: “It was a good day for sure, I felt good in my race. I took a lot of rest leading up to the Games. We’ve had a busy season. Today I felt rested and strong.
With regards to racing the cold temperatures, Hendry didn’t feel it affected her performance: “The cold didn’t really affect me. I’ve raced a lot in the cold this season. It was important today to have a high tempo so that your skis spend less time on the snow. Today, I focused on tempo instead of power, and I think that worked really well.”
SNOWBOARDER RORI WULFF TAKES BRONZE MEDAL IN SNOWBOARDCROSS
Rori Wulff, 17, of Canmore, AB took the bronze medal for Team Alberta in the women’s snowboardcross event.
“It’s amazing. I never thought I would get this far, but I am very happy I did,” said Wulff after the race.
Wulff became today the first snowboardcross medalist from Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.
The Snowboard competition continues tomorrow with the presentation of the Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS).
BADMINTON PLAYERS OFF TO A GREAT START IN MEN’S SINGLE
The Badminton events started today at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, with all three men -- Imran Wadia, Kevin Lee and Yunzhi Chen -- advancing to the quarterfinals with perfect records haven’t lost a set
The stage is set for quarterfinals with all three Team Alberta men still, taking place on Wednesday starting at 9:30 am.
In women’s action, Stephanie Cheung, Emily Chan and Kyleigh O'Donoghue easily advanced to the third round. Unfortunately for the trio, neither one qualified for the quarterfinals.
In the women’s doubles tournament, Alberta’s two women’s team advanced to the quarterfinals, each remaining perfect in the first and second rounds, winning each of their sets. Stephanie Cheung and Eyota Kwan are forming a team, while Takeisha Wang and Emily Chan are forming the second team. The women’s doubles quarterfinals are set to take place tomorrow throughout the morning.
In the men’s doubles tournament, Alberta also has two teams competing with Austin Bauer/Kevin Lee and Yunzhi Chen/Desmond Wang playing. Both teams benefited from a bye in the opening round and easily won their respective matches in the second round to advance to quarterfinals, scheduled for tomorrow morning.
BETHANY CHURCHILL TO PLAY FOR BRONZE IN WOMEN’S SQUASH
In squash, Bethany Churchill faced off against Lucia Bicknell of British Columbia in the women’s singles semi-finals in the squash morning round at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Churchill faced off against a strong opponent and dropped her match 3-1, relegated to the bronze medal match to take place on Friday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m.
In the week-long team tournament, Alberta faced off against the Northwest Territories in the afternoon round. The women’s team comprised of Bethany Churchill, Jana Dweek, Taylor Mackay and Nicole Temple took the 4-0 victory. Alberta is now showing a 1-1 record.
The men’s team Mohamed Kamal, Ben Boulanger, Seif Elfiky and Antonio Mendes won their match against 4-0 Northwest Territories to show a 1-1 record after two matches.
ALBERTA WOMEN’S CURLING TEAM REMAIN UNDEFEATED AFTER THREE GAMES
In the morning draw, Alberta’s rink both won their matches against Northwest Territories at the Pidherney Curling Centre.
The women’s team skipped by Julia Bakos won 13-4 after seven ends, their second consecutive win of the tournament. Alberta scored a deuce in the opening end, but the Northwest Territories blanked the second end and scored three points in the third end to take the 3-2 lead. Bakos bounced back in the fourth end, scoring an impressive four points, followed by a steal of two in the fifth end. They conceded a single point I the sixth end and answered with a five-point end that led to the handshake.
Nathan Molberg, skipping Team Alberta’s men’s team, also took the victory against his opponent 6-2 in seven ends to remain undefeated after two matches. Moberg conceded the first point of the match and answered with four points in the next three ends, stealing points in the third and fourth ends. Up 4-1 at the halfway mark, Team Alberta conceded a single and scored singles in the sixth and seventh end to force the early end of the game.
In the evening draw, Alberta faced off against Newfoundland in both men and women’s tournaments.
The women of Alberta with Bakos at the helm went on to win 6-3 their evening matchup. Bakos scored a deuce in the opening end and went on to steal a single point in the third end after a blank from Newfoundland in the second. Newfoundland opened the scoring in the fourth end, scoring a deuce to reduce the Alberta lead to one point. Alberta seized the opportunity on the next end and added two more points. After exchanging single points in the sixth and seventh end. The team from Newfoundland finally conceded the victory to Team Alberta.
Team Bakos, representing Alberta, remains undefeated after three matches at the Canada Games tournament.
On the men’s side, Milberg faced off against the undefeated Newfoundland team skipped by Nathan Young.
Molberg won the hammer to start the game and scored a single in the first end. Young blanked the second and scored two points in the third end to take the lead. Molberg equalized in the fourth at the halfway mark, but the young skipper from Newfoundland pounced in the fifth end by scoring a huge three-point end to take a commanding lead. Molberg added a single in the following end, but the Newfoundland stayed on the offensive to take another triple, sealing the game at 8-3. Facing a five-point deficit in the last end, Molberg shook end.
The men’s team now shows a 2-1 record in the Canada Games tournament.
WOMEN’S HOCKEY COMES FROM BEHIND WITH SHOOTOUT WIN
The women’s hockey from Alberta was back on the ice tonight at the Centrium arena, facing Nova Scotia. Televised on TSN as part of the Canada Games coverage, the women bounced back from a disappointing loss yesterday to British Columbia.
Nova Scotia opened the score in the third minute of the first period. Team Alberta’s picked up their game took control of the game, scoring halfway into the opening period, a goal courtesy of Aliya Jomha. Alberta remained aggressive for the remainder of the game, missing various interesting scoring opportunities.
Coming back from the locker rooms for the second period, Alberta continued their offensive pressures. But Nova Scotia took advantage of a defensive mistake deep in Alberta’s end and netted a goal on a big rebound from a quick shot, regaining their one-goal lead.
In the third period, Alberta tied the game at two after Sarah Wozniewicz scored in the fourth minute of play. Nova Scotia took advantage of a powerplay with nine minutes to go and once more took the lead. But just a minute later, Danielle Serdachny found the back of the net from the powerplay, equalizing the mark at three goals apiece. With two minutes to go in the third period, Alberta had a golden opportunity to get the game-winning goal on a powerplay, but couldn’t materialize, sending the game to overtime.
In sudden death overtime, no winners could be declared, sending the game to shootouts.
In the shootout, after two missed attempts by each team, Stephanie Markowski found the back of the net for Alberta on a quick snapshot, but team Nova Scotia answered with a goal of their own. It took six round of shooters to determine a winner when Alberta’s Stephanie Markowski found the back of the net through the five-hole as the puck trickled down for a partial save from the Nova Scotia keeper.
Alberta earns 2 points for the overtime win and currently sits in third place of Pool B, showing a record of 0-1-1.
Alberta faced a strong goalie in the Nova Scotia netminder, dominating the shot on goals with 44 against 23 shots.
ABOUT THE ALBERTA SPORT CONNECTION
Alberta Sport Connection (ASC) coordinates Team Alberta’s involvement in the Games. It is a provincial crown corporation dedicated to the development of sport in Alberta.
ASC’s vision is for Alberta to be the premier sport delivery system in Canada. It helps Alberta’s high-performance athletes train and pursue excellence. For more information on the Alberta Sport Connection visit www.albertasport.ca or follow @AlbertaSport on Twitter
The next game for Alberta will be tomorrow night against Ontario (1-1-0) at 7:30 pm.
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