- Our Town
Locals shine at BC Games
Despite a small number of representatives at this year’s B.C. Winter Games Williams Lake athletes came up big.
Of the 1,145 athletes from throughout the province who competed at the Games just four were from Williams Lake. This year’s Games went from Feb. 23-26 in Vernon.
From Williams Lake were hockey players Victoria Byer, 14, and Chantelle Beadman-Rolph, gymnast Andrew Bettles, 14, and coach Mike Stinson, and judo competitor Rudy Klaue, 15.
Williams Lake athletes competed as part of the Cariboo-North East zone, which tallied 14 gold medals, 19 silver medals and 15 bronze medals for 48 medals in total.
In hockey Byer and Beadman-Rolph claimed one of the zone’s bronze medals.
The girls, both defenceman on Cariboo-North East team, finished their tournament with three wins and one loss, beating the host Thompson-Okanagan zone 3-1 in the bronze medal game.
“We played four games,” Byer said, who noted the Games were a great opportunity to meet and get to know other players from the province. “The team we lost to (Fraser Valley) ended up finishing first.”
The Cariboo-North East zone defeated Vancouver Island 4-0 and beat the Kootenays 4-0, before falling 5-3 to the Fraser Valley, landing them in the bronze medal game.
Beadman-Rolph, who competed in her second year at the Games, said it was extremely satisfying to medal this year.
“It was really good,” she said. “There were a lot of good quality female players there. Our team, most of the core were Prince George players, so we knew most of them, and we all fit in very well.
“We weren’t expecting a medal. Compared to last year’s team we were really good. We are just the second team from the north to get a medal ever in hockey.”
Byer plays her hockey here in Williams Lake, captaining the Williams Lake Bantam Tier 3 rep boys team, while Beadman-Rolph plays for the Prince George Midget Girls ‘AAA’ Cougars.
In men’s gymnastics Bettles said he had a great time competing. Bettles finished eighth in the final round of vault, competing against national-level and high performance gymnasts.
“It was lots of fun meeting all the other competitors and athletes,” he said. “There were about 21 other male gymnasts there.”
Bettles competed in six events — mushroom, floor, vault, parallel bars, rings and high bar.
“I was pretty happy with how I did,” he said.
Stinson, coach of the Williams Lake Gymnastics Club, travelled with the Cariboo-North East team as a coach. He said the Games were a great opportunity for Bettles to showcase his improved skills, and added an eighth-place finish against gymnasts of that calibre is impressive.
“His scores went up quite a bit this year,” Stinson said. “Last year there was a bit of a learning curve for us [at the club] with it being my first year back coaching with the boys, but I also pulled it all together for them and pointed them in a new direction.
“There were a lot of things they were doing that were new to them last year so it was tough. When you transition in our sport it’s a big transition.”
Stinson said competing at the Games was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Bettles, as male gymnasts are only allowed one year of eligibility at the event.
Klaue, a Williams Lake Judo Club Member for the past five years, tossed his way to a silver medal as part of the Cariboo-North East zone.
Klaue, who lives in 150 Mile House, also competed in the male under-18 kilogram division, finishing fourth.
Klaue echoed his peers’ comments and said the Games were a blast.
Both his singles matches were lost partly due to a bit of bad luck, he added.
“I threw [my opponents] both times but somehow they got the point,” Klaue said, noting points are scored in judo by throwing your opponents shoulders to the mat.
He said a Japanese martial arts term called a kiai — essentially a yell — signals to the referee you are attacking.
“If I had kiai’d I think I would have got it,” he said. “Both throws were sacrifice throws where we both ended up on the ground so I needed to let the referee know with a kiai.”
That said, Klaue was quite pleased with quality of his silver medal.
“It’s pretty much as shiny as my bathroom mirror,” he joked.
“It’s very cool.”