Contributed by Marisa Babic
It was first time lucky for Special Olympic athlete Brad Hogan of Courtenay. Hogan, 29, won gold in the Special Olympics long jump event Friday in Surrey on opening day of the 2012 BC Summer Games.
“It was awesome,” an elated Hogan said after the event at Bear Creek Park. “It’s my first time in the BC Games and I got a medal.”
Hogan jumped 4.46 metres. Teammate Jake Hooper of Comox placed second with a jump of 4.05 meters, and 16-year-old Mason Keddy, also from Comox, was third with 3.61 meters. All three men are from Vancouver Island-Central Coast (Zone 6).
Hogan said he can’t wait to share the good news with his two sons, four-month-old Aidan and nine-year-old Isaih, who also participates in Special Olympics programs. Second-place Hooper, 21, was pleased with his results but admits that he was hoping to outdo his buddy Hogan.
“I was aiming to beat Brad,” Hooper said. “It’s just a fun rivalry between teammates.”
Keddy said he was thrilled to finish among the medalists. Despite the drizzle that soaked athletes and spectators on opening day, Keddy said he was just happy to be competing with other athletes at the BC Summer Games.
“I’ll always remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
•The golf team representing Zone 6 clinched gold Saturday with a total score of 408 at Surrey’s Hazelmere Golf & Tennis Club. The Island finished five shots ahead of Fraser Valley.
Vancouver Island-Central Coast is blessed with a roster of talented golfers, including Logan Yanick of Courtenay, who had something very few players in his league could match – Robert Ratcliffe, a coach with Golf Canada’s National Team – to bring out the best in him.
“Rob brings in a lot of experience and knowledge to my training,” said Yanick, who shot an individual score of 155. “I’m lucky that we have a coach of that quality here in the Comox Valley.”
Yanick says his gold reminds of him of his grandfather, a role model who worked hard but always had a smile on his face and who passed away earlier this year.
Anne Newman, Zone 6 team coach, said while winning gold is great, her primary goal was to make sure all those she coached had the best time ever.
“I keep the sport fun by getting along and keeping the sport a game the way it was meant to be,” said Newman. “Kids have no problem having fun.”
•Mychaela Roelants of Comox and Carlena Chahley from Nanaimo took the bronze medal in girls beach volleyball Sunday.
•The Zone 6 box lacrosse team beat Fraser Valley Delta 7-4 and the Cariboo-North East 15-2 to win their pool. Alec Molander of Comox scored twice in a 10-9 cross-over win over Thompson-Okanagan. Tanner Jones, also of Comox, notched one in an 8-5 loss to Fraser Valley to earn the silver medal.
•The Games drew 2,300 athletes. The average age was 14. Zone 6 finished first with the most overall points.