Penticton’s Abigail McCluskey had an awesome experience at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George last week.
McCluskey earned four top 10 finishes in her events and earned silver in women’s pursuit.
“It was a pretty cool race. We executed it perfectly,” said McCluskey. “There was a couple of falls with Alberta and Saskatchewan. They are some of our biggest competition. We all worked really well together.”
McCluskey said there were medal hopes for herself, Sara Spence, Carolina Hiller (Prince George) and Emilie Medland-Marchen (Kelowna).
“It wasn’t quite as tough as we thought it was going to be,” said McCluskey, who earned two fourth-place finishes in the 500-metre and 1,000- m long track speed skating events.
The Pen High grad, now attending the University of Calgary, missed out on a bronze medal by 1/600 of a second in the 500-m event. The skaters complete two races with the times combined. McCluskey was second after the first race.
“I was still really happy to finish in fourth,” she said.
Before the speed skating events began, weather conditions didn’t allow for the skaters to compete in Prince George. Instead, they went to Fort St. John, where they have an indoor facility. It was a move McCluskey said benefitted her. “I skate better indoor than outdoor,” she said.
McCluskey also enjoyed taking in the experience of the games off the ice. Walking around the city in her B.C. gear, people wanted to have their photo taken with her. She also loved the opening ceremonies.
“So much energy in the building,” she said. “I thought they were really well put on.”
Penticton’s Noah Spence of the B.C. freestyle mogul team placed 25th in the big air competition on Feb. 15. In slope style, Spence was 17. In moguls, the Apex Freestyle Club product finished sixth on Feb. 17, then missed the podium with a fourth-place result in dual moguls the same day. Kyle Parker, an AFC alumni with the B.C. mogul team, had his best results in single and dual moguls, placing seventh in singles and 10th in duals. Mackenzie Schwinghamer fell short of the podium when she finished fifth in moguls on Feb. 17 and placed sixth in dual moguls the next day.
Schwinghamer said her experience was great and made her a better skier.
“They were very tough. It was basically all the best skiers in Canada coming together,” said Schwinghamer, who gained confidence. “I made so many new friends.”
Spence was happy with his result in dual moguls as he didn’t expect to get that far. Overall, Spence said he did fairly good.
“Better than I thought I was going to do,” he said.
Team B.C. wrapped up the games with a 4-0 loss to Manitoba on Feb. 20 to give them two wins, three losses and an overtime loss in six games. The Okanagan Hockey Academy contingent was led by Cambpell River’s Olivia Knowles, who finished with three assists in six games, Micah Hart had one goal, goalie Morgan Skinner lost her only game and played 153 minutes, 45 seconds allowing 13 goals on 86 shots, while Penticton’s Alley Rempe and Alyssa MacMillan played in all the games. Emma Keenan played for Team Alberta, which went 4-1-1. She collected a goal and three points helping her team win a bronze medal with a 5-3 win over Saskatchewan.
Oliver’s Riley Martin and Team B.C. went 2-2 in four games. They opened the games with a 61-29. Martin collected four points. In their second game, B.C. lost to Prince Edward Island 60-54, Martin had two points. And on Tuesday, B.C. lost to Saskatchewan 76-37, Martin collected four points. B.C. lost to Ontario 62-24 on Wednesday. They finished seventh after losing to New Brunswick 66-65. Martin had four points to finish with 12 points and eight assists.