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Kelowna-area athletes ready to make their mark at 2018 BC Winter Games

About 65 athletes, 15 coaches, 15 officials and five adult supervisors from the Kelowna area will be among 1,768 participants at the 2018 BC Winter Games beginning on Thursday in Kamloops.

<who>Photo Credit: Jennifer Harwood </who>Representing the Kelowna Skating Club and Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) at the 2018 BC Winter Games are, from left: Malayna Lesko, Paige Edgar, Emily Sales and Ava Sanderson. The 1,229 athletes at this year's Games are from every corner of the province and have trained to earn a place to represent their zone at the Games. Competing in 19 different sports, the athletes are an average of 14 years old and for most, this will be their first experience at a multi-sport Games. Special Olympians will compete in basketball and figure skating and athletes with a disability will compete in cross country skiing and wheelchair basketball.

These athletes will be supported by 342 coaches and 197 officials who have earned their certification in order to provide the best knowledge and expertise to the athletes and the competition.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Kelowna's Gregor Graham of the Telemark Nordic Club will be joined by teammates Nikhil Filatow of Kelowna and Garrett Siever of West Kelowna at the BC Winter Games in Kamloops.“Kamloops hosted the very first BC Winter Games, so it is fitting to return to Canada’s Tournament Capital as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations,” said Kelly Mann, president and CEO of the BC Games Society. “The athletes, coaches, and officials will benefit from the extensive event hosting experience in Kamloops. These BC Winter Games and the coinciding Olympic Winter Games will inspire many of these young athletes towards future national and international level competitions.”

Volunteers in Kamloops have been preparing for the past 18 months to host the Games. There will be over 1,600 volunteers working to ensure the participants have exceptional competition and a first-rate experience with opening and closing Ceremonies, special events, and wonderful hospitality.

<who>Contributed </who>Tova Galvagno of Kelowna and the Telemark Nordic Club will compete in biathlon at the BC Winter Games. She'll be joined by Kelowna's Enzo Fershau. The head coach of the Zone 2 team is Tekarra Banser of Kelowna."We are ready! I am immensely proud of the volunteer team that has invested hundreds of hours to ensure that every athlete, coach, official, and parent has an unforgettable experience in Kamloops," said Niki Remesz, president 2018 Kamloops BC Winter Games. “The pinnacle of these Games’ can be credited to 40 years of BC Games success provincially and a labour of love, locally, from our team’s passion and expertise in leading. I'm excited that Kamloops will be the beginning of that story for so many young athletes joining us next month."

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Caitlyn Collingwood, foreground, is one of five Kelowna Speed Skating Club members representing the Thompson-Okanagan at the BC Winter Games in Kamloops. The other Kelowna skaters are MacKenzie Adams, Erik Haaheim, Jacob Rubuliak and Noah Rubulia.The BC Winter Games has been the starting point for many athletes who have gone on to higher levels of sport. Fourteen BC Games alumni have been named to Team Canada for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games including Kelowna's Kelsey Serwa (ski cross) and Summerland's Justin Kripps (bobsleigh). Kamloops’s very own Josie (Spence) Morrison who is competing in long track speed skating.

The following is a list (as compiled by the BC Winter Games) of athletes, volunteers and officials from the Central Okanagan and Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan):

Archery

Kelowna — Athletes - Sierra Kakuno, Penny Nicholas. Assistant Coach - Dianne Land. Lake Country — Athlete - Meah Clarke.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed </who>Kiera Swift of Kelowna and the Big White Racers will compete <br>for Zone 2 at the BC Winter Games. She'll be joined by <br>teammates Finley Cashin, Maxwell Gainey, Blanka Gerloczy <br>and Shayna Little.Badminton

Kelowna — Athletes - Alice Cheung, Amanda Gao, Emily Girard, Jimmy Klair, Tate Kruiper, Morgan Stouck Zeman, Poj Taweepolcharoen. Adult supervisor - Nataya Taweepolcharoen. Head coach - Tkashi Hirose. Officials - Colin Comfort, Joel Comfort. West Kelowna — Athletes - Mataeus Weilmeier.

Basketball (Special Olympics)

Kelowna — Athletes - Braeden Powley, Robert Varcoe, Maria Schmitke, Ethan Sun. Adult supervisor - Patrick Wilson. Officials - Jesse Lafontaine.

Biathlon

Kelowna — Athletes - Enzo Fershau, Tova Galvagno. Kelowna — Head coach - Tekarra Banser. Assistant coach - Carson MacKenzie.

Curling (Male)

Kelowna — Head coach - Brian Lyall.

Diving

Kelowna — Athletes - Hannah Cramer, Valentina Davydova, Jayden Flerbach. West Kelowna — Athlete - Carter Hansen.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Georgia Macdonald of the Kelowna Ringette Association U16 team will be joined at the BC Winter Games by Central Okanagan teammates Brooke Driscoll, Allison Koebel, Skylar Ray, Shae Taylor and Nigella Russell.Figure Skating

Kelowna — Athletes - Malayna Lesko, Emily Sales, Ava Sanderson, Paige Edgar. Adult supervisor - Natalie Marleau. Head coach - Lolita Hinton. Officials - Melody Collo. Kelowna — Officials - Melina Statopulos.

Gymnastics

KelownaAysnwy Ortynski, Brent Rambold, Rylen Thompson. Assistant coach - Kelly Atamanchuk. Mentor/apprentice coach - Hallie Soetaert. Officials - Kim Dennis, Shane Hiscock, Brooke Murray.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed </who>Chris Taneda of West Kelowna is back as the head coach of the Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan) karate team.Judo

West Kelowna — Assistant coach - Marko Sajdak. Lake Country — Athlete - Wyatt Auch.

Karate

Kelowna — Athletes - Mikayla Krogstad, Lily Leggott, Austin Milot, Braeden Pett, Lauren Reid. West Kelowna — Athletes -Thaddeus Enns, Kaiya Lee, Timur McNem, Hayden Meyer, Sarah Stuij. Officials - Zachary Pedersen, Kevin Pedersen, Emily Reid, Dan Voth. Head coach - Chris Taneda. Official -Phil Taneda. Assistant coach - Michelle Cowan. Lake Country — Athlete - Alyson Welliver.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed </who>FLASHBACK: Isaac Athans of Kelowna, following in the tracks of his dad, Gary Athans, a former national alpine ski team member (1984 Olympics), raced to a pair of gold at the 2016 BC Winter Games in Penticton.Ringette

Kelowna — Athletes - Brooke Driscoll, Allison Koebel, Georgia Macdonald, Skylar Ray, Shae Taylor and Brooklyn Piche. Assistant Coach - Caitlin Pineau. Adult supervisor - Andrea Piche. West Kelowna — Athlete - Nigella Russell.

Skiing (Alpine)

KelownaFinley Cashin, Maxwell Gainey, Blanka Gerloczy, Shayna Little, Kiera Swift. Assistant coach - Trevor Haaheim.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed </who>FLASHBACK: The Okanagan Gymnastics Centre’s Brady Clegg earned a silver medal in the Level 3 boys vault event at the 2016 BC Winter Games. This year, Brent Rambold (inset) will represent the OGC at the Games in Kamloops.Skiing (Cross-country)

KelownaNikhil Filatow, Gregor Graham. Assistant coach - Deepa Filatow. West Kelowna — Athletes - Garrett Siever.

Skiing (Freestyle)

Kelowna — Athletes - Owen Brunt, Jordan MacDonald. West Kelowna — Athletes - Sharon van Schalm

Snowboarding

Kelowna — Athletes - Xander Appels, Seth Klein. West Kelowna — Athletes - Reese Tarasoff. Lake Country — Athlete - Daniel Loban. Oyama — Head coach - Austin White

Speed Skating

Kelowna — Athletes - MacKenzie Adams, Caitlyn Collingwood, Erik Haaheim, Jacob Rubuliak, Noah Rubuliak. Heat Coach - Nancy Goplen. Officials - Dave Walsh. West Kelowna — Officials - Randy Sauer.



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