© Submitted photo
NL Winter Games athletes from Nain pose with Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier, Tom Marshall.
Labrador made history during the 2014 NL Winter Games in Clarenville. Never before had the Big Land won the overall medal count, until now.
Labrador took home a total of 22 medals; eight gold, nine silver, and five bronze, squeaking by Western’s 21 total medals in the standings.
“Everyone knew this was a fantastic performance,” said Trevor Paine, Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, who played a lead role in organizing the Labrador teams.
“This is the best we’ve ever done.”
Labrador earned medals in cross-country skiing, table tennis, figure skating, and badminton. The athletes represented many corners of the Big Land, and not just the larger centres like Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
“All in all, there were just so many fantastic surprises, which I haven’t seen in my 28 years of provincial games, and I’ve been to 12 games,” said Paine.
“Goose Bay and Lab City, over the years, have dominated selection because of the numbers they have. But now we’ve got smaller communities competing and, not only competing, but providing quality elite athletes.”
Here is a breakdown of the results:
• Cross-country skiing
This is the sport that Labrador dominated in the 2014 NL Winter Games, and what contributed the most to their great medal count.
In total an astounding 12 medals were accumulated through the various cross-country skiing events.
“I knew we’d do well. I didn’t know we’d do that well, 12 medals. I figured we’d get six or seven,” said Paine.
Here is list of the medallists: Devon Ryan (two silver and a bronze) ; Robert Manstan (two silver and a bronze); Makaila Hudson (two gold and a silver); Marie Manstan (three silver); Paul Manstan (one silver); Charles Crocker (one silver); Caylie Hopkins (one silver); Alyson Thomas (one silver); and Melanie Smith (two gold – Special Olympian).
The team was coached by Allan Bock, while Elizabeth Rose served as manager.
The wrestling team from Sheshatshiu only had a month of training before heading out to the Games. Despite their inexperience, the female team came fifth overall and the males came fourth, narrowly missing a bronze medal.
Although they wouldn’t contribute to Labrador’s overall medal count, the wrestlers from Sheshatshiu earned some accolades for some individual performances.
Here is a breakdown: Shuashem Dyke (gold); John Baptiste Andrew (gold); Mishkushish Pinette (bronze); Joshua Dyke (bronze); Dana Penunsi (bronze); and Meeka Qupee (fourth place finish).
• Female hockey
Labrador’s female hockey team made it all the way to the bronze medal game against Avalon. In the first period, Labrador outshot their opponent 20-2, but ran against a hot goaltender. Avalon would go on to beat Labrador 3-0
The team included: Alicia Strang, Ariana Pitcher, Hailey Hibbs, Jessie Reccord, Katie Peddle, Kayleigh Casmey, MacKenzie Curran, Courtney Barnett, Madison Cahill, Andrea White, Anna Hutchings, Brittany Patey, Caleigh Ivany, Joann Wall, Jodi Loder, Julia Hutchings, Madison Cahill, Chloe Tinkler (Coach), Greg Peddle (coach) and Alice Peddle (Manager).
• Male basketball
The young basketball team from Mary’s Harbour gained some invaluable experience. They lost their games to Avalon, Western, and Mount Pearl. But, according to Trevor Pain, it “did not dampen their spirits and the boys never stopped working.”
The team included: Adam Chubbs, Brandon Rumbolt, Cameron Spearing, Darien Rumbolt, Frederik Rumbolt, David Campbell, Max Campbell, Noah Russell, Riley Pye, Shae Davis, Shannon Rumbolt, Tanner Yetman, Shelly Drover (coach), Murray Pye (manager).
The badminton team won their gold medal in dramatic fashion. After going undefeated in their first three matches, they beat Avalon in the best-of-five final 3-2.
The gold medal deciding game was a mixed doubles contest featuring 13-year-olds Sydney Ford and Taylor Jacque. Despite the pressure and their young age, the two played superbly, and won their final match in back-to-back sets.
The team included: Amanda Dyson, Dylan Andersen, Sydney Ford, Mandy Smith, Will Forsey, Erik O’Brien, Erin Gear, Taylor Jacque and Jeff Milley (coach).
• Table Tennis
Much like the badminton team, Labrador’s table tennis squad had to overcome some adversity on the way to a gold medal.
The team barely made it to the Games on time, due to weather delays in Nain. By the time they got to Clarenville, it was past midnight and the team had to compete at 8 a.m. the next morning.
If the team was tired, they certainly didn’t show it. The female team won gold, while Natasha Pilgrim (silver), Louisa Lampe (gold), and Sophia Jararuse (silver), won individual medals.
The team included: Gustav Barbour, James Dicker, Kirsten Dicker, Kris Lampe, Louisa Lampe, Natasha Pilgrim, Seth Dicker, Sophia Jararuse, and Eric Cranford (coach).
Both the male and female volleyball teams did not win a match during the NL Winter Games. But the two teams worked hard and the experience will help the young players in future tournaments.
The male team included: Amos Lidd, Brandon Ivany, Ches Semigak, Ethan Shiwak, Hunter Fox, Jobie Lidd, Michael Semigak, Sonny Bennett, Todd Merkeratsuk, Kaitlin Foley (coach), and Caitlin Downton (manager).
The female team included: Alice Michelin, Danielle Cole, Dasi Obed, Faith Butt, Kelly Butt, McKenzie Hutchings, Willa Neilson, Des Montague (coach), and Candice Price (manager).
• Male hockey
Labrador’s male hockey team lost all four of their games, but didn’t show any quit in their matches.
The team included: Donavan Rich, Abraham Marcoux, Jacob Roberts, Kyle Bartlett, Matthew Sharpe, Mitchell Barry, Trey Manning, Alex Delany, Brett Reid, Christian Hollett, Dalton Saunders, Keelan Cole, Kolby Coombs, Jared Martin, Keegan Whiteway, Matthew Grouchy, Matthew Penney, Darrell Martin (coach), Wade Coombs (coach), and Paul Sharpe (manager)
• Alpine skiing
Due to only four regions participating, alpine skiing wasn’t officially sanctioned for the Games. But team Labrador had some great individual performances.
Here is a breakdown: Patrick Walsh (silver); Erik Kuhne (silver); Robert Kuhne (fourth place); Elizabeth Walsh (fourth place); Hannah Elliot (fourth place); and Brittany Pieroway (fourth place).
• Figure Skating
Figure skating was an event where Labrador shone bright in the medal count, collecting three bronze, one silver, and one gold. The medalists included: Taylor Keefe (bronze); Breana Andrews and Marcus Best (bronze); Jenna Manuel (bronze); Kylie Hillier (silver); and Emily Benson (gold).