Four Williams Lake athletes and one coach were tops in the province in their respective sports last week at the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford.
Boys softball players Matthew Samson, Jarryd Brucks and Lane Paddison, and assistant coach Nick Surette, plus wrestler Tyleen Scaiano, all marched away with gold medals from the Games, held July 21-24.
Competing as part of the Cariboo-North East Zone — which claimed six gold medals, seven silver medals and 13 bronze medals for a total of 26 — the boys softball team went unbeaten in the tournament.
They mercy ruled North West, then edged the Thompson-Okanagan, 11-6, during the first day of competition, before wrapping up the round robin with a 9-6 win over Fraser River and an 11-0 shutout of Vancouver-Coastal.
In the semifinal they upended Vancouver-Coastal again, 11-3, before capturing the gold medal with an 9-0 shutout over Fraser River.
The team was made up of players from 100 Mile House, Lone Butte, Prince George and Williams Lake.
“Not too bad for a district where ball is supposedly dying,” Surette said. “The kids played phenomenal ball and it was awesome to see. Especially coming from towns where we don’t really have ball anymore. To see them play that well against cities that have funding for that sport is great to see.”
He also complimented the play of the lakecity players on the squad, which was head coached by Reg Hooper of 100 Mile House.
“Matthew got to pitch a couple innings and did great, they both hit really well and it was good to see local boys playing at that calibre,” he said. “Just being able to step up in there and not miss a step or a beat. The team played phenomenal defence and we had timely hitting. We just outplayed everybody on both ends of the field. It really was truly something to watch.”
PHOTO: Williams Lake’s Tyleen Scaiano cradles her opponent in the girls 47-kilogram division to win the gold medal at the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford.
On the wrestling mat, meanwhile, Scaiano was determined to stake her claim as the best in the province in her weight class.
She defeated two opponents in the 47-kilogram division to win the gold medal — one a two-time national finals runner up in 2015 and 2016.
After winning, Scaiano said she was in shock.
“[I] was like: ‘Oh my, did I just do this? I can’t believe I just won gold. All my hard work just paid off. Everybody told me if I worked hard and continued to do what I love I could go experience great things.’”
She said during her wrestling career, which began in Grade 5 at 150 Mile House Elementary School, she’s had some memorable experiences, however, the Games topped them all.
“I’m truly grateful and thankful for my coach Chris Monetta and our chaperone, Lesley Florell,” she said. “Without them being so awesome it would not have made this experience so amazing. Everything at the Games was so well organized and we had two dances that were so much fun.”
She also thanked Ian and Tovi Pare, Lake City secondary principal Gregg Gaylord, her Coast Wrestling coach, Frank Mensah and her parents, Tyler and Laura Scaiano.
In total, 28 Williams Lake and area athletes competed at the BC Summer games in sports including box lacrosse, girls rugby, sailing, girls and boys soccer, boys softball, swimming, rowing and wrestling.
In an extremely tough swimming competition, Williams Lake Blue Fins Taylor Fitzgerald, Keanna Saunders and Shaylee Stewart participated.
“The girls had some good swims but none of them made finals (top eight),” said Blue Fins head coach Chad Webb.
“Taylor, 12, had some impressive best times in most of here events and placed 11th overall in the 14-and-under division in the 200-metre backstroke and in the 200-metre backstroke was 16th, and in the 100-metre backstroke was 12th.”
Saunders, 13, was 19th in the 200-metre breaststroke, 23rd in the 400-metre individual medley and 24th in the 200-metre butterfly and 800-metre freestyle.
Stewart and Saunders were also 10th place in the 200-metre medley relay and 200-metre freestyle relay.
Onto lacrosse, Logan Penny, Benito Rigoni, Marco Rigoni and Jarod Chrona finished sixth overall.
In girls rugby Emma Feldinger, Carrie Lange, Madison Blusson, Kaitlyn Berkelaar, Ayme Desmond, Gina Davis and Brittany Zimmer were also sixth.
In sailing, Dale VanKuipers was eighth.
Taylor Wessels, Amanda Lane, Jessica Rowley and Paige Call were sixth in girls soccer, Abbey Philpot and Jenna Morey were seventh in girls softball and Logan Hutchinson and Cade Enns finished sixth in boys soccer.
The Cariboo-North East Zone finished sixth out of eight teams overall in the medal standings. Vancouver Island-Central Coast finished first with 65 gold medals, 47 silver and 58 bronze medals for a total of 170 medals.