Kaos Salvage Win For Senior

Kaos Salvage Win For Senior

The legend lives on.

With two of the patriarch’s granddaughters on the team, the Kelowna Kaos won the women’s portion of the fourth annual Andre Blanleil Sr. Memorial Fastball Tournament on the weekend at King Stadium.

Courtney Blanleil hit a single and scored twice, while her cousin, Taylor Blanleil, added a hit and one run as the Kaos completed a sweep of their three games over two days by outscoring the Kelowna U18s 6-5 on Sunday Kkwin the first womens’s championship game.

The Kaos, who downed the U18s and Vernon Tanks for the right to play in the final, took a 4-0 lead after three innings and went ahead 6-2 in the fifth. But the U18s wouldn’t go away, scoring two runs of their own in the bottom of the third, two in the fifth and another in the sixth to make it close.Twyla Whaler proved the biggest producer in the final, going 3-for-4 and driving in three runs for the Kaos in an event honouring the man who played, coached and/or managed fastball teams — both men’s and women’s — in six decades in Kelowna before he died of cancer in 2011 at age 74.

On the men’s side, Surrey prevented a Blanleil-family sweep by defeating host Andre’s 4-0 in the men’s championship game on Sunday.

Surrey scored the only run it would need in the fourth inning on a single and a run-scoring double. They put the game away with three runs in the seventh.

Andre’s, going into the final with wins over the Kelowna Brewers (3-1) and the Kelowna Rangers (1-0), threatened in the bottom of the seventh of the title matchup. They loaded the bases, but couldn’t cash in.

Five Blanleils were a part of the Andre’s team. Andre Sr.’s sons, Andre and Rene, were the first baseman and catcher respectively, while the youngest son, Maurice, was a coach. Grandsons Travis and Kyle played centre field and left field respectively.

Andre Sr.’s wife of 53 years, Eileen, was a familiar voice from her familiar perch at the foot of the stands.

Brodt’s No-hitter Accents A’s Weekend

Brodt’s No-hitter Accents A’s Weekend

Three members of the 2015 Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships to colleges in the United States.

After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates south of the border.

Three members of the Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships recently to colleges in the United States. After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates’ south of the border. The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend. Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Matt Brodt held the Langley Blaze hitless over seven innings for his first career no-hitter on Saturday in Langley.

The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend.

Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-no until the bottom of the seventh inning.

“I thought, holy, I’ve got a no-hitter going. I had to tell myself to stop thinking about it, but just keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.”

What Brodt was doing was throwing his fastball in the right location and keep the Blaze off balance  with a curveball — a combination that produced his first-ever no-hitter of his baseball career.

“I can’t even remember coming close to a no-hitter before,” said Brodt, who issued three walks in the ballgame.

“I wasn’t doing anything different than in the other games, but the guys behind me were playing steady and things just fell into place,” noted Brodt, who couldn’t recall any notable plays that saved the no-hitter.

“Most of the balls stayed in the infield. I think maybe two or three were popped up to the outfield.”

In his second season with the A’s, Brodt plans to return to the Kelowna-based team for the 2016 season. He said he hasn’t been scouting out possible scholarship opportunities, but will definitely start looking around for a college or university next season.

Three members of the Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships recently to colleges in the United States. After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates’ south of the border. The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend. Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
West Kelowna’s Trevor Lofstrom has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at El Paso Community College beginning this fall.

The A’s managed just five hits themselves in their only win. The deciding one came off the bat of Trevor Lofstrom, who earlier in the day signed a letter of intent to play with El Paso Community College in Texas next season.

With Brodt on with a single, Lofstrom put the sweet part of the bat on a rising inside fastball from Cooper Misic and powered it over the leftfield fence for his second home run and 19th run-batted-in of the season.

Langley’s only run came in the bottom of the fifth inning with the help of two Okanagan errors.

There was a downhill trend after the opener, as the A’s fell 8-3 in the second game on Saturday and dropped 7-1 and 5-3 decisions on Sunday, earning the third-place Blaze a 22-10 record — four games up on the sixth-place Athletics (18-14).

While the A’s could muster a total of only 13 hits and seven runs in the final three games, Brodt for one doesn’t believe his team is outmatched by the Blaze.

“This a good team we have — we’ve been hurt badly by injuries and we were missing guys because of graduation on the weekend, so we know we can hold our own against a team like Langley. They’re definitely beatable,” said the Grade 12 student at Pen-Hi.

Lofstrom echoed his teammate’s sentiments.

“I believe we can play with anybody in this league, especially when we’re healthy. We go into every weekend seriously believing we can win the series.”

Three members of the Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships recently to colleges in the United States. After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates’ south of the border. The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend. Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Leading the team with a .375 average, Trevor Mlait will be counted on to provide similar offence for the Eastern University Eagles next season.

The El Paso Tejanos also believe they have a winner in Lofstrom, who received a full-ride scholarship and will report to camp in mid-August.

An athletic 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Lofstrom has all the physical tools to develop into a legitimate NCAA Div. 1 ballplayer, although his 2015 stats in BCPBL could bely the fact without close  scrutiny.

He’s hitting a so-so .272 and leads the team in strikeouts with 28, but he’s second on the team in RBI with 19 (Sam Avila leads with 27) and he’s tied with Chase Decosse for extra-base hits with nine, including his two homers and pair of triples.

“Sure I’d like to see my average go up, but I’m hitting the ball much harder and further than last year, so I feel good about that,” he noted. “Guys are playing me a lot deeper this year — mostly at the warning track — so I have to adjust to that a bit. Hopefully the ball will just start to fall in more.”

Coach Evan Bailey says he’s “honoured” to be able to send a “high-level player and quality individual” to his alma mater in El Paso.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Trevor the past six years and have enjoyed watching him develop as a baseball player and as a young man,” said Bailey. “In my six years coaching the A’s, I’ve never seen a player as dedicated to baseball as Trevor. He truly works his butt off in every aspect of the game.”

He believes Lofstrom has earned every single penny of his significant scholarship.

Three members of the Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships recently to colleges in the United States. After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates’ south of the border. The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend. Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Catcher Chase Decosse will join Okanagan A’s teammate Trevor Mlait at Eastern Utah University after signing a letter of intent recently.

“Trevor possesses a combination of athleticism, ability, strength and the highest baseball IQ I’ve seen in a high school player to this point. I look forward to following his progress.”

Meanwhile Trevor Mlait, a schoolmate of Lofstrom’s at Mt. Boucherie, has signed on with the Eastern Utah University Eagles baseball team in Price, Utah for the 2015-16 season.

Mlait, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound outfielder, leads the Athletics with a .375 average, although he’s missed almost half the season due to injury.

Bailey believes Mlait would be a great fit for any college program.

“He’s a hard-nosed kid with an aggressive mindset,” said Bailey. “Trevor truly demonstrates an all-around package with his athletic ability, academics, work ethic and desire to get better every day.

“It’s been a pleasure coaching Trevor. He’s been a great mentor for the younger players the past couple of years and no one has worked harder on and off the field.”

Mlait’s teammate, Decosse, will join Mlait at Eastern Utah.

The Penticton minor baseball product, is an A student at Kelowna Secondary School this season and he’s matched that kind of rating on the field with the baseball A’s.

Three members of the Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships recently to colleges in the United States. After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates’ south of the border. The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend. Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Okanagan A’s head coach, Evan Bailey, has high praise for three of his seniors who have earned baseball scholarships to community colleges in the United States.

Leading the team in doubles with eight, Decosse is fourth in RBI with 15 and sports a .287 average.

Just as important to coach Bailey and his future coaches in Utah, is that there appears to be a huge upside to the 5-foot-9 catcher.

“I ‘m so proud of Chase signing this scholarship,” said Bailey. “He has worked very hard over the past couple of years and has improved immensely. I know coach Madsen (Scott) is excited to be getting a player like Chase, who works very hard, listens and is eager to learn and get better each game out.”

Meanwhile, the A’s are off this weekend, and won’t be back in action until the 12th annual Baseball Blast, hosted by the Kelowna Jays June 25-28.

The Athletics will be among 12 college, senior and semi-pro teams in the tournament competing for $10,000 in prize money.

D-Backs Steal One From AAA Cubs

The Kelowna Cubs had their chances, but couldn’t score a run for a second straight game against the West Kelowna D-Backs in B.C. Midget AAA Baseball League play on Wednesday.

The Kelowna Cubs had their chances, but couldn’t score for a second straight game against the West Kelowna D-Backs in B.C. Midget AAA Baseball League play on Wednesday. Outhitting the D-Backs (8-4), the Cubs left nine runners on base and ended up dropping a 2-0 decision to the visiting West Kelowna team at Lombardy Park. West Kelowna, improving to 19-12 on the season, scored the only runs they’d need in the second inning to record their third straight regular-season win over the newly formed across-the-bridge rivals. Starting pitcher, Carter Martens survived the eight-hit Kelowna attack over the first five innings to secure the win on the mound. He struck out five Cubs batters and issued one walk. Jamie Pavia mopped up with two hitless innings that saw him strike out four.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Gavin Barrett of the Kelowna Cubs allowed only three hits, but he and his team dropped a 2-0 decision to the West Kelowna D-Backs on Wednesday at Lombardy Park.

Outhitting the D-Backs (8-4), the Cubs left nine runners on base and ended up dropping a 2-0 decision to the visiting West Kelowna team at Lombardy Park.

West Kelowna, improving to 19-12 on the season, scored the only runs they’d need in the second inning to record their third consecutive regular-season win over the newly formed across-the-bridge rivals.

Ty Loeppky led off the second with a walk and Nick Ostromfollowed with a single, while the two of them advanced a base on a passed ball. Cam Rasmussenscored Loeppky with a groundout to shortstop, while Ostrom crossed on a Jacob Hollandgroundout to first base.

Starting pitcher, Carter Martenssurvived the eight-hit Kelowna attack over the first five innings to secure the win on the mound. He struck out five Cubs batters and issued one walk. Jamie Pavia mopped up with two hitless innings that saw him strike out four.

Meanwhile, Gavin Barrett came through with a stellar performance for the Cubs (9-19), limiting the D-Backs to just three hits over the seven innings. He had one strikeout and walked two.

Along with teammate Taylor deGruchy, Barrett also contributed two hits.

The D-Backs were coming off a weekend in which they dropped a pair of games (8-7 and 8-2) to first-place Ridge Meadows (22-3) and split a pair (lost 2-1 and won 3-1) with host Tri City Indians.

In their only win, West Kelowna overcame a 1-0 first-inning deficit with a run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh. Pavia led the D-Backs with a pair of hits, while Chase Gaudette went the distance off the rubber. He limited Tri City to five hits and struck out six in a complete-game seven-inning effort.

The Cubs split their four games on the road on the weekend. They swept Tri City 2-1 and 4-0, while dropping 11-1 and 13-3 decisions to Ridge Meadows.

deGruchy connected for two hits and drove in two runs to lead the Cubs in the 4-0 win over Tri City, while Brandon Ludwig picked up the win by holding the Indians to three hits over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out six. Dante Dennisheld the hosts hitless the rest of the way.

In the 2-1 victory, the Cubs scored the deciding run in the top of the seventh inning to make a winner of Barrett, who went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs and struck out seven. Dennis again came in relief, allowing one hit.

The Cubs are back on the road this weekend when they travel to Chilliwack for a pair of games on Saturday. On Sunday, they’re in Aldergrove for a twinbill.

Meanwhile, the D-Backs are at home on Saturday, playing host to the Vernon Canadians at noon and 3:30 p.m. at Boucherie Park. They travel to Vernon on Sunday for a return doubleheader.

Taya Hanson On Guard For Canada

Kelowna’s Taya Hanson has an opportunity to take on the world.

The Grade 9 Dr. Knox Middle School student was among 12 players officially announced today in Toronto as members of the Canadian U16 cadette basketball team that will compete next week at the FIBA Americas championship in Puebla, Mexico. A top-three finish there would qualify Canada for the world U17 championship tournament in 2016.

Kelowna’s Taya Hanson will get the opportunity to take on the world. The Dr. Knox Middle School student was among 12 players announced today in Toronto as members of the Canadian U16 cadette basketball team that will compete next week at the FIBA Americas championship in Puebla, Mexico. A top-three finish there would qualify Canada for the world U17 championship tournament in 2016. Hanson, 14, was identified as a candidate for the team while playing for Team BC at the Canadian national U15 championships last summer. She was invited to a national age-group assessment camp in Toronto in December.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Taya Hanson, a guard with the Kelowna Owls’ junior team last school season, will wear the Canadian uniform in Mexico next week.

Hanson, who turned 15 on Sunday, was identified as a candidate for the team while playing for Team BC at the Basketball Canada national U15 championships last summer. She was invited to a national age-group assessment camp in Toronto in December.

Twenty-four of the 30 players were invited back to the U16 trials in March, while 17 of those, including Hanson, received the invitation to try out at a two-week camp earlier this month for the 12 spots on the national team.

Co-head coach, Carly Clarke of Ryerson University in Toronto, said Hanson, a product of the Kelowna Minor Basketball Association, stood out most because of her fitness.

“Taya worked incredibly hard to come into camps fit and it really showed in her fitness testing results,’ said Clark, a Halifax native. “We put the girls through an intensive two-week program and Taya’s fitness and defence were a big part of her success.”

Clarke added that Hanson, a guard who played with the Kelowna Secondary School junior team last school season, will be relied upon to be one of the key ballhandlers on the national team.

“We’re looking to her to be a floor general out there, and that’s one of the areas where we’ve seen the biggest improvement in her game since we first saw her in December,” noted Clarke. “Her shooting has also come along nicely. She’s much more consistent, especially from three-point range.”

Kelowna’s Taya Hanson will get the opportunity to take on the world. The Dr. Knox Middle School student was among 12 players announced today in Toronto as members of the Canadian U16 cadette basketball team that will compete next week at the FIBA Americas championship in Puebla, Mexico. A top-three finish there would qualify Canada for the world U17 championship tournament in 2016. Hanson, 14, was identified as a candidate for the team while playing for Team BC at the Canadian national U15 championships last summer. She was invited to a national age-group assessment camp in Toronto in December.

Lorne White/Okanagan Sports Page
Her fitness and defence stood out as Taya Hanson earned one of 12 spots on the Basketball Canada U16 cadette team.

Clarke added that a focus for Hanson will be on making good decisions under pressure.

“She’ll be going to the rim up against a lot of 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 players, so she needs to be balanced and ready to make quick decisions.”

Clark said that while Hanson will likely not start most games, she and the rest of the team will get a good share of playing time.

“Taya’s fitness will go a long way in building up her minutes,” said the coach. “In an scrimmage on Wednesday, she came off the bench early and performed very well.”

The U16 team will leave for Mexico on Saturday and will play exhibition games against the United States and Brazil before meeting Cuba (June 24), Venezuela (June 25) and Brazil (June 26) in the preliminary round.

The semifinals are set for June 27 and the championship and bronze-medal games for June 28.

“We are excited to observe these young girls’ growth during this competition and to see how what they’ve learned is integrated into their training after this experience of competing against the best of their age in our Americas zone,” said Denise Dignard, director of women’s high performance for Basketball Canada.

Canada, ranked fourth in the world in FIBA women’s age-group rankings, qualified for the U17 world championship tournament in 2014 and finished sixth. The team won a bronze medal in 2012.

Career Round Leads To Jr. Golf Title

Brody Anjo of Kelowna played the round of his life on Saturday and then survived a shaky Sunday to win the Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) Junior Tour golf championship.

Carding his first-ever sub-par round (71) on opening day of the 36-hole tournament at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club, Anjo overcame three tough holes on Sunday to shoot an 78 and edge the junior season’s order of merit champion, Matthew Kreutz (74-77) of Vernon, by two strokes.

Anjo, in only his third season of competitive golf, surprised even himself on Day 1 when he walked off the 18th green and found out he had a three-stroke lead over Kreutz, a five-time winner on the Zone 2 Tour this season.His initial victory on the Junior Tour also earned the 17-year-old a berth on the four-man team representing Zone 2 at the B.C. junior men’s golf championship tournament in Osoyoos July 7-10. Other members of the team will be Kreutz, Austin Bosquet of Vernon and Brandon Whistle of West Kelowna.

“I just figured if I could shoot 71, there must have been others — especially Matthew — who could do the same or better,” admitted Anjo, a Grade 12 Kelowna Secondary School student.

Even par after nine holes in the opening round, Anjo   got off to a rocky start on the back by taking a double bogey on No. 11, but back-to-back birdies on holes 12 and 13 put him back into his unfamiliar groove. A 20-foot “bomb” for bird on the 16th green put him one-under for the day.

“It was a great round for me. I was hitting the ball really well all day, and I just got more relaxed and more confident as the round went on,” recalled Anjo, whose previous best round on the tour was a 77 on the Bear course at the Okanagan Golf Club earlier this season.

Anjo said he continued to hit the ball well on Sunday but with not quite the same results.

“On the second round it basically came down to me having three bad holes, otherwise I played okay.”

Touring the 6,434-yard layout in final foursome with Kreutz, Anjo lost the three strokes he had on the Vernon Golf and Country Club member after nine holes. The two were dead even going into the back nine at the GCGG.

But a quadruple bogey by Kreutz on the 10th hole proved his downfall and buoyed Anjo’s outlook.

Kreutz got back to within three strokes on the 12th, but a double bogey by Kreutz on the 14th gave Anjo what he was confident would to be an insurmountable lead.

“At that point I figured he (Kreutz) would have to play catch-up, while I could just play it safe and go for the pars,” said Anjo, who did give back three strokes to Kreutz on the final four holes, but was able to withstand the charge.

Encouraged by his round on Saturday, Anjo said he’ll definitely be back to play on the Zone 2 tour next year.

“I’m going to stick around Kelowna, work this year, and hopefully improve my game so I can shoot the kind of round I had on Saturday more consistently. I’d like to see how far I can take this game.”

Meanwhile Whistle, returning from the Bonnyville Pontiacs’ camp in Edmonton recently (he’ll play for the Alberta Junior Hockey League team next season), finished third in the two-day Zone 2 championship. He shot a pair of 77s to finish five strokes back of Anjo and third overall in the 2015 order of merit with 213.75 points. Kreutz finished with 407.50 and Bosquet, who placed fourth among the 56 golfers on the weekend with rounds of 79 and 76, was second overall for the season with 254 points.

A newcomer to the Okanagan from New Zealand, Wilkins will lead the Zone 2 juvenile team that will also include Cameron Welchof Kelowna, Wyatt Brook of Kamloops and Braeden Cooperof Vernon. That provincial tournament will be played at the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club in Vernon Aug. 18-20.George Wilkins of Lake Country carded a 76 on Saturday and came in with an 82 on Sunday to finish in fifth place overall and first among the juvenile aged (15-16) golfers.

In the Zone 2 girls’ tournament, also played at Gallagher’s, Emma Sabbaghof Kelowna shot rounds of 82 and 76 to finish sixth overall on the co-ed leaderboard and edged out Kelowna’s Mckenna Lesiuk (77-82) for top spot. Lauren Rutherglen (80-81) of Kelowna and Adams State University, along with Haley Hewer of Penticton (82-79) were another two strokes back at 161.

Sabbagh and Lesiuk will represent zone at the B.C. junior girls championship tournament being played at Cordova Bay Golf Course in Victoria July 7-10.

OGC Athletes Contribute To B.C. Silver

OGC Athletes Contribute To B.C. Silver

op performances by Okanagan Gymnastics Centre helped Team BC claim second place overall at the Western Canada Cup tumbling and trampoline championships in Calgary.

Jaylin Otteson and Abby McDonald teamed up to take the bronze medal in the Provincial 3 synchronized trampoline event, while Otteson won the Provincial 3 individual tramp title.

McDonald earned top spot in the Provincial 4 championship on the double mini trampoline; finished third on the individual tramp; and added a third place in the Provincial 2 tumbling event for third place all around.

As part of Team BC, Otteson and Mcdonald contributed to B.C.’s third place in trampoline, double mini and tumbling. The grand total is calculated by taking the top three scores of the four team members in each event finals. B.C. took second place all around.

Two other OGC athletes, also coached by Jamie Gardner, chose to travel to the competition as independent competitors.

Jordan Macdonald finished sixth in the Provincial 3 individual trampoline and fourth in the Provincial 2 double mini competition.

Andrew Oliver of the OGC also competed, placing fourth in the Provincial 4 trampoline and ninth in the Provincial 4 double mini.

Minor Football To Ride Flag Wave

Minor Football To Ride Flag Wave

While the host teams weren’t among the medalists at the seventh annual B.C. flag football championships, the Kelowna Minor Football Association is expected to be the big winner later this fall.

A record 116 teams and about 1,200 players competed in 505 games during a 29-hour period at the Mission Sport Fields recently. And Jeff Koltun, president of the KMFA, sees those numbers making an impact on the upcoming tackle football season.

“We plan to use the momentum and fun factor of the provincials to boost our fall tackle program,” said Koltun, who was quick to point out that registration is now open at kmfa.ca. “The provincial flag tournament was a great showcase for the game of football and showed how the flag can be a stepping stone to tackle.”

The KMFA flag season this spring included 300 players, with 27 of the 32 Kelowna teams taking part at the provincials where each team played a minimum of 10 games.

“We played 25-minute games in pool play and that allowed teams to play more games and gain more experience,” said Koltun.

Koltun said the growth in the sport is due in part to being inclusive, affordable and accessible.

“The teams are small, all kids get playing time and there’s very little cost involved. We supply all the equipment,” said Koltun. “With only five players on the field at one time, it’s easy to rotate kids in and out, so they all get a chance to play and develop their skills. It’s a very simple sport for parents to get their kids involved in.”

The under-10 provincial championship was won by the North Surrey Thunderbirds, while the North Delta Longhorns (Black) won the U-12 title. The Royal City Hyacks (Orange) finished first in the U-14 division and the North Delta Broncos took the U-16 championship. The first-ever provincial U-19 title went to the North Surrey Ravens.

The top finish among KMFA teams was turned in by the U-10 Kelowna Vipers, who placed eighth among 20 teams.

“Our teams are up against some pretty stiff competition,” noted Kolton. “While our teams are set up to spread out the talent evenly, many of the visiting teams are tiered. But our kids still enjoyed the challenge and just did the best they could.”

For more information on the Kelowna Minor Football Association go to http://www.kmfa.ca

Ogopogos Overall Winners In Merritt Meet

Ogopogos Overall Winners In Merritt Meet

A contingent of 53 Kelowna Ogopogo Swim Club athletes combined for a 250-point margin of victory in the team competiton at a summer meet in Merritt on the weekend.

While the Ogopogos reigned as the winning team, numerous individual swimmers stood out, among them Sydney Reynolds, Erik Haaheim and Myles Woodward, all of whom swam 100 per cent best times.

Flyn Huber of the Ogopogos took the aggregate silver in the Div. 2 boys’ competition, while Logan Lalonde broke the 30-second mark in the 50-metre freestyle event on the way to securing the aggregate silver medal in Division 5.The Division 4 girls led the way to the podium, with Makenna Haight and Rachel Schueler tying for the aggregate gold.

Yet another silver aggregate went to Emalie Schueler in the Div. 6 girls competition.

Bronze aggregate winners among the Ogopogos were Kylie Haight – Division 2 girls; Randi Thompson – Division 6 girls; Patrick Epman – Division 7 boys and Andrew Skilbeck – Division 6 boys, who is in his first season with the team.

The Ogopogos continue their summer schedule this weekend with a meet in Lumby.

For more information on the club go to www.ogopogoswimclub.com

High School Rugby Talent Showcased

High School Rugby Talent Showcased

The bad weather held off and the stars came out on Thursday at Parkinson Sports Fields.

About 70 players showcased their talents in the annual Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts high school all-star games.

PRC selectors, UBC Okanagan coaches and Kelowna Crows coaches were on-hand to watch the top U-18 and U-16 players compete.

A evenly matched game saw the Blues win with a late try.The afternoon began with the U-18 match under threatening storm clouds, featuring the top players from Kelowna Secondary School, Mt .Boucherie Secondary and Rutland Secondary playing against former teammates and with former opponents.

The U-16 match featured the top players from Const. Neil Bruce Middle School, Glenrosa Middle, Kelowna Secondary, Mt. Boucherie Secondary, Rutland Middle, Rutland Secondary, and Springvalley Middle schools.

The Blue jerseys appeared to have all the luck on the day, winning the U-16 match as well.

U-18 All-Stars

Mt. Boucherie Bears — Travis Bello, Cole Bertram, Jakob Brown, James Gabriel, Quinn Dartnell, Eli Hogarth, Keegan Hughes, Ben Krell, Connor MacLeod, Tyler MacLeod, Rylon Meyers, Tyler Ostrom, Brock Zeleniski and Aidan Zimmer.

Kelowna Owls — Tofer Dang, Dom Haynes, Andrew Henseleit, Robin Huculuk, Owen Marshall, Ross Mosychuk, Zach Neufeld, Brendan Struthers, Thomas Yang and Kurt Yesilcimen.

Rutland Voodoos — Tristan Allen, Riley Dickson, Osiris Dion, Lucas Gering, Kyle Hillier, Stuart Marais Tuttle, Trenton Nesdoly, Johnny Roy, Matt Walz and Mitchel Walz.

U-16 All-Stars

Rutland Voodoos — Connor Allardyce, Quinn Allardyce, Nick Ciupka, Jacob Dawson, Elias Gering, Kurtis Kilmartin, Mitchell Kilmartin and Seth Nemeth.

Kelowna Owls — Keenan Berg, Seth Campbell, Nico Dirksen, Kyle Durec, Rory Haynes, Jack Lawson, Jake Lutz, Erik Mitchell, Cole Stregger, Noah Trites and John Yu.

Constable Neil Bruce Cubs — Quinn Caldwell, Wyatt Fagan and Chris Smith.

Rutland Middle Voodoos — Jordan Crawford and Tanner Friesen.

Springvalley Stingers — Eric Ferguson and Josh Saunders.

Glenrosa Jaguars — Storm Fisher, Max Krell and Eddy San Agustin.

Immaculata Mustangs — Logan Kilpatrick, Peter King, Giovanni Sambrielaz and Brady Shaw.

Mt. Boucherie Bears — Aiden McLeod, Valentine Paul, Mackenzie Symmon and Ty Truong.

Central OK Hall Welcomes Five

Central OK Hall Welcomes Five

Two inductees who reached the pinnacle of their sport and three who helped others attain theirs, will be welcomed officially into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame Museum in November.

Announced on Tuesday as the newest inductees into the hall were the 2004 Memorial Cup champion Kelowna Rockets (team); Glen Mervyn (athlete), a silver medalist in rowing at the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome; Gillian Thomson (builder), who has earned provincial, national and international recognition for her volunteer work in sailing; and Brenda and Mike Van Tighem (builders), tireless and highly respected track and field coaches and volunteers for more than 20 years in Kelowna.

Up against the Guelph Storm, Gatineau Olympiques and Medicine Hat Tigers, the Western Hockey League champion Rockets went undefeated in round-robin play, allowing just two goals in three games behind the goaltending of Kelly Guard, who would go on to win the most valuable player award.Captained by Kelowna’s own Josh Gorges and playing on home ice, the 2004 Rockets completed the magical story by winning the Memorial Cup, emblematic of junior hockey supremacy,

Facing Gatineau in the final, Guard and his teammates again shut the door and defeated the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions 2-1 in the final on goals by Randall Gelech and Justin Keller just 3:06 apart in the third period.

“The best memories you have of winning are of the battles you go through with the guys,” said Gorges in a recent interview with Justin Fragapane of canadiens.com. “You come out of a game and look around the room and all you see are guys who are banged up – they’ve got ice-packs on their shoulders on their knees, cuts and stitches – and you know how tired they are because you know how tired you are.

“When you win together you become friends forever. Most of those guys who I won with on that team are all still my good friends today.”

In a recent 10th anniversary tribute by Kelowna Rockets play-by-play announcer, Regan Bartel, Gelech was quoted at the time of the Rockets’ win as saying after the final buzzer:

“I think I have broken down in tears about three times”, he said after the final buzzer sounded. “I never dreamed in a million years that this would ever feel this good. Now that we’ve done it, it feels like I need to wake up. It feels like a dream,” added Gelech, who was selected the Memorial Cup all-star team that year and went on to play seven years of minor pro hockey.

Many of the Rockets on the Memorial Cup team went on to play in the National Hockey League including Gorges (San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators), Blake Comeau (New York Islanders, Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets), Kyle Cumiskey (Colorado Avalanche), Troy Bodie (Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs), D.J. King (St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals), Cam Paddock (St. Louis Blues) and Mike Card (Buffalo Sabres).

Other members of the team, many of whom went on to play professional hockey in North America and Europe, were Nolan Waker, Chris Ray, Simon Ferguson, Brent Howarth, Justin Keller, Patrik Valcak, Bichal Blanar, Kevin Reinholt, Stewart Thiessen, Darren Deschamps, Brett Palin and Derek Yeomans.

Marc Habscheid was the head coach, assisted by Jeff Truit, Larry Keating, Ryan Huska and Kim Dillabaugh.

It was announced in January that the 2004 Rockets will also be inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton on July 25.

Glen Mervyn

The stroker for the 8s rowing team that won the only Canadian medal (silver) at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Glen Mervyn will join teammate Don Arnold of Winfield in the Central Okanagan Sports Hall Of Fame Museum.

Mervyn, who died of cancer at age 63 in 2000, was also a member of the University of B.C. 8s team that won a gold medal at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Wales in 1958. He also stroked for the 8s team that rowed to silver at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago.

Mervyn enrolled at UBC in 1957.Born at Pender Harbour, B.C. in 1937, Mervyn moved to Kelowna with his family in 1945. He began rowing with the urging on Kelowna’s Ray Bostockin 1955 and with only four months of training with Bostock, Russ Ensignand Budge Winters, won a B.C. championship title.

His wife, Christina Mervyn, was in attendance at the Kelowna Museum on Tuesday and said her husband would have been “quietly thrilled” at being inducted to the hall of fame.

“He was humble guy about it (Olympic silver) because he always thought it should have been gold,” said Christina with a smile. “But as he got older, the medal did get shinier, especially when he realized it was the only medal Canada won that year.

Christina Mervyn said she will always remember Glen as the most positive and encouraging person who “never said never”.

“He always said that if you wanted something badly enough, you could do it.”

Mervyn, inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1978, was true to his word when in 1987, at the age of 50, he connected with the Kelowna-area cycling community and expressed interest in participating in road racing and time trialing.

Combining local support and guidance with his own dedication and scientific approach to training, he went on to win the silver medal in the road race at the Canadian masters cycling championships in 1989.

Continuing his pursuit of excellence, he returned to the national championships in 1990, 1991 and 1992, where he won gold each year in either the road race or the time trial.

Mervyn’s accomplishments at the Canadian national level took him to the World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, where he won the gold medal in the time trial event three consecutive years and the road race gold in 1991.

Following his three-year battle with colon and liver cancer, Mervyn made a triumphant return to the World Senior Games in 1997 where he won the gold medal in the road race and a silver in the time trial.

It was at that event he was presented with a special Courage To Come Back Award by the organizing committee.

Gerry Morrison, who nominated Mervyn as an inductee, competed with his friend at national and international cycling and cross country events.

He said he was inspired by Mervyn when he was alive and still is.

“I’ll always remember him saying: ‘Gerry, if you have anything left after a competition, you didn’t go hard enough.’

“And when he was in the hospital with cancer, he told me: ‘Look at me and remember, if you want to do something, do it before your time is up.”

 Mike and Brenda Van Tighem

Fixtures in Kelowna for almost 20 years, the Van Tighems, both school teachers, were the heart and soul of track and field in the Central Okanagan before leaving for Calgary in 2001.

Mike Van Tighem was among several Kelowna citizens who revived the Kelowna Track and Field Club in 1983 and helped organize the construction of the track at the Apple Bowl.

Among other national medalists under his tutelage were Aundrea Bertoia, Carmen Ballard, Gillian Moody, Teena Kripps, Jennifer Newton, Johanna Symes and Molly Bannerman.He was a founding member of the first Jack Brow Memorial Track and Field Meet in 1985 and went on to coach national middle-distance runners —Brenda Shackleton, Tania Jones and Malindi Elmore, the latter going on to represent Canada at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Mike Van Tighem also coached Canadian track and field and cross country teams at various international events and was a sought-after on-sight track and field announcer for national and international meets.

Brenda Van Tighem, a Level 4 NCCP coach, was also a long-standing committee member for the Jack Brow Memorial and was the first Hershey track and field co-ordinator for the B.C. Interior.

She too coached Canadian national teams and coached some of Kelowna’s top athletes — Laura Walberg, Karen Gubbles, Tracey Melesko, Olivia Smoody, Ardin Harrison, Kyle Guthrie, Lauren Siebel, Natasha Brisotto and Amanda Stearns.

“Both Mike and Brenda are kind and generous people with a passion for track and field,” said Don Bertoia, who spoke on the couple’s behalf at the hall of fame announcement. “They don’t have children of their own, so they adopted each of the athletes and dedicated themselves to caring for and developing their talents.

“While they played a significant role in helping athletes reach the podium at many different levels, they believed the measure of success was in the athletes being satisfied with their performance.”

Bertoia, who ran (800 metres) for Canada at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, added that the Van Tighems were and still are ‘very well respected’ throughout Canada and put Kelowna on the map when it came to track and field.

Malindi Elmore said the Van Tighems created an environment of excellence and inclusion for all their athletes.

“They were outstanding role models, always acting with integrity, encouraging others to be the best they could be through hard work, dedication and sportsmanship.

“Not only was athletics alive and thriving in Kelowna during their years here, but hundreds of lives were touched and profoundly impacted by Mike and Brenda’s involvement.”

Bertoia passed on a message from the Van Tighems, who are still in Calgary, but are expected to attend the hall of fame induction ceremony in November.

“This is a tremendous honour — an honour that has been made possible only because of a small group of people who had the foresight and initiative to form the Kelowna Track and Field Club in 1983,” they said. “The founding group was made up of people of the highest integrity who formed the club for the best possible reason — the kids. If it wasn’t for those to formed and developed the club, we would not be receiving this recognition today. Thank you.”

Gillian Thomson

Described as an organizational powerhouse at the local, provincial, national and international level of sailing, Gillian Thomson will be inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall Of Fame Museum as a builder.

Still active as a member of the Canadian Yachting Association board of directors and the International Federation for Disabled Sailing, Thompson was president of the Central Okanagan Sailing Association from 2004 to 2007 and director for Learn to Sail programs at COSA and B.C. from 1994 to 2011.

Perhaps her most significant legacy as a volunteer will be the impact Thomson has had on females in the sport.The Kelowna native played a major role in COSA being recognized as having the best sailing school in Canada in 1991 and 2000 by the Canadian Yachting Association. She was also named B.C. Sailing’s volunteer of the year in 2007.

“There is no one in Canada who has turned more females on to sailing than Gillian,” said Ron Rubadeau, a former superintendent of the School District 23 and a sailing enthusiast. “It’s not her job, it’s her passion. Gillian has worked the phones, rallied the neighbourood and tamed the waters to become both an exceptional sailor and sailswoman.”

Dan MacAfee, a past president of COSA, said the role modelling Thomson provides to girls for the sailing community is evident as the number of female sailing instructors is either equal to or exceeding those of males.

“Gillian exemplifies what Aristotle was talking about when he wrote about excellence. ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’

“Gillian’s habit is to show us an inspired future by leading through example.”

While Thompson will be inducted to the hall as a volunteer, she has been competitive at the national and international level as well.

She won a gold medal at the 1992 women’s Hobie 18 world championships, a silver medal at the 1993 worlds, and claimed a silver medal in the Hobie 16 Trapseat Sailing event at the 1998 Pan American Games.

“The establishment of the Central Okanagan sports hall of fame was exciting when it was formed a few years ago, but I didn’t expect to be standing up here with the inductees,” said Thompson on Tuesday. “It’s a really big honour and I am truely humbled.

“Sport in Kelowna has always been a big part of my life and my family’s life. It’s a big part of the culture in Kelowna. Just to be a part of that connection is thrilling.”

The new members of the Central Okanagan Sports Hall Of Fame Museum will be inducted officially on Nov. 20 at the Coast Capri Hotel.

Tickets for the breakfast gala will be on sale at the Kelowna Museums.


Founded in 2008, the first inductees to the Central Okanagan Sports Hall Of Fame Museum were the 1958 Kelowna Packers hockey team.
Past Inductees

2009 – Joanne Ritchie, Rick Folkcurling team, Jack Brow and the Athans family.

2010 – Jay Christensen, Don ArnoldTeddy Bears basketball team, Mervyn Andrews and Henry Tostenson.

2011 – Lawrence Nagy, Eric Tasker, Joan Campbell, Dan Bertoia and Aundrea Bertoia.

2012 – Ermina Russo, Alex Recsky, Barry Urness, 1998 Okanagan Sunand Glenn Ennis.

2013 – Brock Aynsley, Blair Chapman, Wayne North and the 1988 Sutton junior women’s curling team.

Nominations are forwarded from the general public and scrutinized by a nomination committee, a selection committee and the sports legacy committee.

For more information on the Central Okanagan Sports Hall Of Fame Museum here.