Penticton athletes Maria Iannone and Reece Haberstock experienced mixed emotions at Nanaimo’s B.C. Summer Games, July 17-20.
Iannone and her teammates cried with excitement after capturing gold in girls soccer with a 2-0 victory over Vancouver-Squamish.
“It was really cool. It was really emotional for all of us,” said Iannone, 11. “It was breathtaking because we only played together for four weeks.”
In that time the group connected well. Heading into the gold medal game, Iannone said they were prepared to face a hungry Vancouver-Squamish side, who had lost to the Thompson-Okanagan team 1-0 earlier in the summer games.
“We thought they would come out really hard, and they did,” said Iannone, who played for the Pinnacles FC under-12 district team this season. “We played hard against them.”
Along with coming out with an aggressive push, Vancouver-Squamish used speed and strength against the Thompson-Okanagan side. Iannone said she felt their team did well in adjusting and applied pressure when they didn’t have the ball. Supporting the ball also helped them have success.
“It was very fun and a great experience,” said Iannone, who enjoyed being with her teammates and winning gold.
On the water, Haberstock, an outrigger paddler, experienced a couple of surprises. With team work and strong communication, plus instruction from his canoe teammates, he earned two gold medals in the boys C-2 500-metre Learn to Train event and the C-2 2,000-m open canoe events.
“It was really exciting,” he said, adding that he has only paddled in a canoe for less than a year.
Haberstock also picked up gold in the OC6 500-m and 2,000-m open outrigger events.
Haberstock said paddlers from the other zones were really good, especially the Fraser Valley, which motivated him to push harder.
“I thought we did really good. In the outrigger races we won by quite a bit, almost two minutes in the 2,000-m race,” he said.
Below, Reece Haberstock shows off his four gold medals.
What Haberstock enjoyed most about his experience was the unexpected gold medal wins.
“It was super fun,” he said of being at the summer games. “Winning four gold is going to be a nice memory. We all helped each other. We taught the other kids how to do outrigger and they taught us how to use the other boats.”
In field lacrosse, Beau Chetner, Colin Duffield, Travis Fehr, Graedon Freeman, Jayce Pidskalney, Trenton Henson and Kaleden’s Kale Lawrence earned a bronze medal.
In swimming, Summerland’s Myah Nackoney teamed up with Acacia Benn and Annalise Spence to earn bronze in the 4×50-m medley relay. Spence took silver in the 100-m backstroke, while Benn placed fourth in the 200-m backstroke and sixth in the 800-m freestyle. Tyler Wall and Daniel Everton were seventh in the 50-m freestyle and 200-m backstroke, respectively. Everton also placed ninth in the 800-m freestyle. Nackoney was sixth in the 100-m backstroke.
In para swimming, Hector Greig earned two bronze medals in the 50-m freestyle and 50-m butterfly. He also finished fourth in the 100-m freestyle, 100-m backstroke and 50-m backstroke. In Special Olympics swimming, Amanda Schleppe won gold in the 100-m breast stroke, earned silver in the 100-m individual medley and bronze in the 50-m breaststroke and 100-m backstroke.
She also had fourth-place finishes in the 50-m freestyle, 50-m backstroke, 100-m freestyle and 50-m butterfly.
In girls softball, the zone 2 squad finished fourth with Tianna Apps, Katherine Huston, Courtney Olexa, Keremeos’ Sydney Crow, Alana Leask, Taylor Thompson and Cawston’s Kisa Minshull, Bailey Vesper and Cory Vesper.
In boys beach volleyball, Kyle Kohlhauser teamed up with Kelowna’s Tanner Thiessen to take silver.
In boys volleyball, Nicholas Everton help the Thompson-Okanagan team earn bronze.
In girls volleyball, Chloe Brydon helped her team finish fourth.
In box lacrosse, Tavis Hamilton and Michael MacLean helped their team to a fourth-place finish.
In rugby, the boys squad finished sixth with Jared Lowenstein, Max Smelter and Benjamin Barnett.
The boys basketball team finished fifth with Osoyoos’ Justin Davis.
In athletics, Zoe Simourd finished 14th in the 200-metre hurdles and 15th in the triple jump. Summerland’s Hunter Dufty took silver in the discus and bronze in shot-put.
In baseball, South Okanagan Minor Baseball Association Tiger Brayden Jones helped the team to a fourth-place finish.
The B.C. Games Society introduced 3-on-3 basketball. The Thompson-Okanagan sent 14 players, including Kalli Doell and Olivia Devito of Penticton. The team finished out of medal contention. Games are fast paced and teams play six minute halves with a 12-second shot clock. Scores go up to 21.
“3-on-3 demands athletes have a good basketball skill set, be able to think on their feet and compete hard,” said coach Kim Whelpton in a team statement. “This was a great addition to the BC Games and will help develop more versatile players in the future.”
The Fraser Valley zone led the games with 207 medal wins, including 79 gold. The Vancouver Island-Central Coast was second with 183 medals, Vancouver-Squamish third with 125. Thompson-Okanagan was fifth with 79 medals, including 22 gold.