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West Kelowna Girls Capture Gold Medal at Canada Winter Games

West Kelowna was well represented in the female 3x6km relay race, winning yet another medal for Team BC.

BC had a phenomenal first week at the Canada Winter Games, capping it off with seven gold medals on Friday. The female relay racers snagged a gold medal under the blue skies on Friday, and two of the four members were from West Kelowna. Local girl Tekarra Banser was skiing and shooting on the course with Emily Dickson from Burns Lake and Claire LaPointe from Prince George, while the fourth member, Jennah Smailes from West Kelowna, cheered loud and proud from the sidelines.

The team fell behind early, but some strong skiing and shooting by LaPointe helped bring them back into medal contention. “The atmosphere is incredible with everyone behind us cheering us along,” said Banser.

The teammates have been friends for years after competing in events like the BC Winter Games together. “We are like sisters and we have been incredibly close all week so it is amazing to be able to share it all together,” said LaPointe.

Though Smailes wasn't able to ski with the rest, she was incredibly proud of the others. “It is amazing to be part of such a skilled team,” said Smailes. “It was a different feeling today watching, but I was so happy to be cheering them up the hill. They all looked fabulous out there.” Smailes was thrilled to be with her “sisters” on top of the podium to receive the gold.

Meanwhile, the men's team had a strong fourth place finish in the 3x10km relay in the afternoon.

Team BC also won both gold and silver in women's ski cross, thanks to Katie Fleckenstien of West Vancouver and Nicole Mah of Vancouver. Devin Mittertreiner and Rya Finley, who both train and compete in Fernie, won silver and bronze for Team BC in the men's ski cross. Sara Spence from Kamloops took gold in the 3000m speed skating competition, and the Team BC men's curling team took the bronze medal in a solid 11-2 win over Saskatchewan.

Team BC is currently third in the standings behind Quebec and Ontario with 41 medals: 12 gold, 16 silver, and 13 bronze.

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