Today we continue with our look back at 2011 – a very good year in sports for local teams and athletes. The review will wrap up next week.
• Saratoga Speedway hosted yet another great doubleheader weekend, with 64 cars (one of the best car counts in years) on the track. Monster trucks California Kid and Rockstar put on an amazing show, destroying motor homes, buses and getting some big air.
• Riders from Trail Bikes Eatmore Sprouts Cycling Team and Comox Valley Cycle Club competed in Race the Ridge, a three-event stage race in Maple Ridge.
• Mark Isfeld Secondary captured the AAA North Island High School Golf Championships for the first time in school history. The golf program has twice finished second at the Island championships and as high as sixth in B.C., but the North Island title had always eluded them until this year at Crown Isle.
• Peter Stubbs had an unbelievable freestyle ski season. Along with being selected to join the BC High Performance Mogul Team for the 2011/2012 season, he competed in his first-ever Canadian Freestyle Series event and first BC Series competition. His results qualified him to represent B.C. at the Canadian Junior Nationals where he placed 22nd in Single Moguls out of a field of 45 of Canada’s best young freestyle skiers. He also won bronze at the BC Freestyle Championships.
• Comox Valley U14 Viperes defeated Gordon Head to win the Island Cup soccer final and advance to the Provincials.
• Goalie Michael Herringer was selected in the ninth round and 188th overall by the Victoria Royals in the WHL Bantam Draft.
•In April the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS) wrapped up its season with more than 400 participants in its learn to ski and snowboard program. “It was a great year on the mountain,” VISAS president Brian Culley said. “We had the most enrolment ever in this year’s Learn to Ski Festival, and the snow conditions were fabulous.”
Five alpine racers competed at the BC Para-Alpine Championships/Rotary Giant Slalom last month at Whistler/Blackcomb. Meghan Williams of Courtenay won two medals in giant slalom and one in slalom. Courtenay skier Joe Grubwieser won silver in slalom and Ron Greenhorn of Nanaimo won bronze. Chris Lane of Courtenay also competed.
• A hockey tournament in Vancouver last month proved to be just what the WCEHA 2001 Storm needed to start their season. The elite squad is an atom spring hockey team based out of the North Island, comprised of boys from Powell River, Port McNeill, Gold River, Courtenay and Campbell River.
The team played five games over the course of a weekend and ended the tournament with a 5-0 record.
•Once again they were first. But could it have been for the last time?
Moments after ringing the bell at the finish line to claim their 16th Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race championship, Westerly Hotel Brian McLean Banzai captain Bill Brett dropped a bombshell by saying the 2011 event may be the last time the Banzai will compete in the multi-sport relay race.
•Deb Goodwin skipped her team of Lonnie Schopp (third), Kim Jonsson (second) and Lori Ross (lead) to an undefeated win at a home club playdown. Representing the Comox Valley Curling Club, the team again went undefeated at the North Island Club Challenge in March, qualifying for the Pacific International Cup in Richmond. The April tourney drew 16 teams, including several from the U.S.
Goodwin and company started with wins over California, Royal City, Alaska, Beaver Valley and NWT. Losses to Washington and Kerry Park put them into a tie-breaker against Royal City. The momentum continued in the semifinals where they beat Richmond. In the gold final, the team defeated the Cowichan Rocks to become B.C. champs.
•Comox Valley Baseball alum Bryan Pawlina was invited to the B.C. U17 Select Camp, to be held July 12-15 in Langley.
Forty-five players will be put through their paces for the three days, with the top 20 players then being chosen to represent B.C. at the prestigous Canada Cup tournament, to be held Aug. 9-15 in Moncton, NB. Pawlina plays for the Parksville Royals of the Premier Baseball League.
•It was an evening of celebration on Thursday, June 2 as close to 250 student-athletes, staff coaches, community members and friends and family of athletes showed up to celebrate another successful year of athletics at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary.
•Courtenay’s Mary Wells was off to Athens for the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
•G.P. Vanier Secondary hosted the 25th Annual Athletic Banquet in the gym. The special guest speaker was Bill Village, current principal of Mark Isfeld Secondary, and the man responsible for starting the athletic banquet at Vanier 25 years ago when he was the athletic director. The 2011 inductee to the Athletic Wall of Fame was Andrea Lee (2004-2008). Lee participated on numerous teams for the school and outside of school, one of which is her sport of choice, cross country skiing.
•Avery Snider, a Grade 8 student attending Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School, was selected to the U14 Girls Basketball BC Provincial Team to represent B.C. in international tournaments in the U.S. and B.C.
•The 15th annual Comox Cup Road Hockey Tournament featured 21 teams from all over Vancouver Island competing in three divisions. The tournament has traditionally been held in the parking lot of the Comox Community Centre, but this year several downtown Comox streets were closed off in order to create caged rinks along Comox Avenue. Sales Grinders won the A division, 97.3 Eagles won the B and Courtenay Knights won the C. The MVP Goalie award went to Liam Higgins of the Little River Sales Grinders.
•The 2011 Investors Group Yew Bat tournament wrapped up at Bill Moore Park. Within the six-team 35+ division, the Brian McLean Yankees beat defending champ Victoria.
•Two steady rounds of golf powered Stephen Watson to his third North Island Men’s Open championship at the Comox Golf Club. Doug Petrie (Sunnydale) finished two shots back at 140 (69-71). Seven-time winner Greg Koster (Crown Isle) finished four shots back at 142 (74-68) while Tyler Van Anrooy (Sunnydale) was fourth at 142 (71-71) and Jeff Edwards (Glacier Greens) was fifth at 143 (72-71).
•The Simon Fraser University Clan track and field team announced Ryley Carr of Comox would be joining them for the upcoming 2011-12 season. A Highland Secondary student-athlete and member of the Comox Valley Cougars, Carr joins SFU as a very strong competitor in the hammer throw.
•The Bill Moore Park lights were shing bright for the Comox Valley Mens Baseball League as their season officially began.
•The Atmosphere Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) launched its 12th season with its inaugural race on Burnaby Mountain. Sarah Seads of Courtenay took first place in the solo female category, coming in at 5:27:00. Courtenay’s Lynn Swift and Kathy Campbell placed first in the team of two, female, with a time of 6:33:48.
Comox’s Chris Winkelaar and Courtenay’s Brad Crowe placed second in the team of two, male category, and 7th overall, with an impressive time of 4:55:35. Andy Quinn of Courtenay placed 13th in the solo male category, crossing the finish line at 5:45:43.
Courtenay’s Trevor Espenant and Don Grossman were the overall winners for the 30 km Sport Course, coming in at 3:20:23.
•Riley Wheeldon from Comox secured his Canadian Tour card on Friday at the spring qualifying school at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville.The 20-year-old Wheeldon started the four-round event with a sparkling 6-under 66 but then scores of 74 and 78 had him in a battle for one of the five cards. He shot a 1-over 73 Friday to finish tied for fourth spot.
•Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals captured lightning in the bat on the May long weekend and made team history by becoming the first local squad to win the BC’s Best Baseball Classic in the tourney’s 17-year history. The local Premier Baseball League team lost 7-1 to the Okanagan A’s in their tournament opener Friday, but answered with five straight wins, with Comox Valley players Marcus Drewry, Ashton Martin and Bryan Pawlina all factoring heavily in the victories.
•Some of the hiccups Sunday at Lewis Park were coming from the field, not just the refreshment garden. That’s because there were a few upsets as the Comox Valley Mixed Slo-Pitch League playoffs wrapped up another busy season.
•Other than an early season hip flexor injury, 16-year-old Amanda Wakeling has had a strong 2011 season racing on her cross-country mountain bike. Competing at a national level for her bigger races this season, Wakeling competed in three Canada Cups as well as Canadian National XC MTB Championships.
•They were going at it hot and heavy in the hexagon Saturday night at the Comox Valley Sports Centre when the Comox Valley Boxing Club presented Full Throttle Fight Night 3-Redemption. Young amateur mixed martial artists from all over the Island and other parts of B.C. were in town for the event.
•Thrills and spills were the order of the day at the annual Mt. Washington Downhill Longboard Race. With racers hitting speeds in excess of 100 km/h, sometimes even hay bales were not enough to prevent mishaps.
•Seven hard working Comox Valley basketball girls from Isfeld Secondary combined with two ‘dual-citizens’ from the USA and a guest friend from Qualicum Beach to form a highly competitive squad of 10 girls at the annual Western Washington University girls summer basketball camp in Bellingham, Wash., July 10-14.
•It was a one-two finish for Vancouver Island riders in the Elite Men division of the 2011 Canadian Mountain Bike Championships in Canmore, Alta. on Saturday. But not the one Geoff Kabush had been hoping for. Tofino native Max Plaxton of Victoria created the biggest upset of the two-day championships by winning the Elite Men’s title and stopping Courtenay native Kabush of Victoria on his quest to make history. The 34-year-old Kabush had a chance to accomplish something no other Canadian mountain biker has ever done — win a record eighth national title.
•It was an awesome day in Parksville for the team from Surf-SUP at the third race of the Surf-SUP Island Series. A low tide made time for an awesome pre-race clinic led by Stuart Robinson from Surf-SUP lending his knowledge on quick turns and how to ride the ripples.
•No longer feeling the Bern, Brett McLean rejoined the Chicago Blackhawks. During the NHL’s “Free Agent Friday” last week, the ‘Hawks inked the Comox native, who had been playing for Bern in Switzerland, to a one-year contract.
•A combination of bright sun and shining stars combined to make the inaugural Comox Taxi Team Charity Golf Tournament a success at Glacier Greens. Celebrities Cassie Campbell-Pascal and Ty Wishart were in attendance at the fundraiser.
•Former Vancouver Canuck Cliff Ronning was demonstrating his custom hockey sticks to participants at a clinic at the West Coast Elite Hockey Academy in Courtenay. Michel Petit (Canuck first-round draft pick in 1982 and 15-year NHL veteran) was provided the coaching on the synthetic ice surface at the WCEHA facility. Other former NHLers do the instructing at other locations, and Ronning notes participants benefit greatly from one-on-one time with the retired pros.
•Taylor Green got a taste of Major League Baseball when he was promoted from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to the Milwaukee Brewers for a Saturday game against the Chicago Cubs. He did not appear in the game, which the Brewers won 6-4.
•Courtenay’s running duo of Robyn Dicesare and Cathy Livsey spent the end of their summer holidays competing in an epic endurance running challenge called the Gore-Tex Trans Rockies Run in Colorado.
The six-day stage race is a 120-mile high mountain, trail running race that started in Buena Vista, Colo. and ended Friday in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Running as the Extreme Island Girlz, Dicesare and Livsey trained for months at Forbidden Plateau and Mt. Washington but had to deal with altitudes between 9,000 and 12,600 feet during the race.
•He started out at local ball diamonds before moving on to the provincial and college ranks. This season, Carter Bell has stepped up to professional-level baseball with the Yakima Bears of the Class A Short-Season Northwest League. Although the team sports more losses than wins as the regular season winds down, the third baseman said his squad is “turning it around” and getting better.
•The family that boxes together stays together – in the B.C. Amateur Boxing Association Hall of Fame. The Boyce family – dad Walter along with sons Tommy, Wayne and Gerald – were among the 2011 inductees welcomed to the sweet science shrine.
“I was overwhelmed when I heard the Boyce family was inducted. It’s quite an honour,” said Tommy, who lives in Courtenay. “I only wish my brothers and my father were alive to receive the honours. We are the first family to be inducted and although I am the only member still living, I am proud to be part of the family’s induction.”
•Sam Kreeger of the Comox Valley Kickers is in Calgary for the 2011 Rugby Canada National Championships as a member of the B.C. women’s U18 team. The talented athlete also represented B.C. at the nationals in 2009 at Markham, ON.
•Proving he is at home playing on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, Logan Yanick finished second at the CJGA Mizuno National Golf Championship in Waterloo, Ont. After helping Canada with the Euro Junior Golf Cup July 27-29 at St. Andrews, Scotland, the Courtenay golfer was at the Grey Silo golf course from Aug. 7-11 for the national championship.
Competing in the Boy’s 14 & Under division, Yanick started Thursday’s final round five shots back of leader Jonathan McDonald of Mississauga, ON.
The CJGA Team Canada member, who plays out of Crown Isle, shot a division low 72 Thursday but came up just one shot short, finishing with a +13, four-day total of 297. MacDonald led wire-to-wire to win the tourney with a +12, 296. Isaac Chen of Richmond finished third at +16, 300
•Solid contributions by Comox Valley athletes helped Team BC end the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games with the most impressive medal haul in recent history, earning medals in every sport.
Competing in Kamloops from Aug. 5-14, B.C.’s 345 athletes walked off the fields, courts, pools, course, mountains, lakes and mats with 130 gold, 68 silver and 63 bronze medals, an increase of 32 per cent over 2007. The 261 total medals betters the mark of 197 won at the 2007 Games in Strathcona County, AB.
•It’s been several seasons since Comox Blizzard baseball stormed across Vancouver Island ball diamonds. But this month three former Blizz players and Comox Valley Baseball Association Cardinals’ alumnae were representing B.C. at the Canada Cup in Moncton, N.B.
Bryan Pawlina (Courtenay), Clayton Isherwood (Van Anda) and Josh Croft (Powell River), all members of the Parksville Royals of the Premier Baseball League, helped Team BC earn a bronze medal at the high-calibre tournament.
Canadian Junior national team member Isherwood anchored the pitching staff while Bryan Pawlina joined the pitching staff after a breakthrough season with the Royals. Croft is a former Blizz shortstop who played third and pitched relief for B.C. at the Canada Cup.
To be continued.