Strong performances at the first U16 TECK Open Series of the season Jan. 10 to 13 at Sun Peaks earned three Sun Peaks Alpine Club (SPAC) members spots on Team BC for the Canada Winter Games Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alta.
Athletes qualified for the competition by either winning an event during the January series or by points by position. All members of the Sun Peaks’ trio qualified with a first-place finish, Noa Hooton and Benjamin Jacoby earned their spots day one and Brynn Applegath on day two.
“I expected they had a pretty good shot at it. It wasn’t a surprise to me…I didn’t know if they’d go in with a win or whether they’d go in based on points,” said Sun Peaks Alpine Club U16 coach Bill Rublee. “The fact that they had good solid wins was actually quite rewarding.”
Going on to acknowledge the strength of this year’s U16 team Rublee said for him and program director Wade Rettie, performance has been more important than results. Rublee added they were impressed with how the athletes performed opening weekend.
“For us, that’s really more important than the results right now because it shows they’re building skills, they’re building platforms to move forward,” he said.
The athletes’ accomplishment of qualifying for the upcoming games highlights the strength and continued growth of the club for Rublee.
“These kids…they’re talented skiers but they’ve been working hard. They’re really focused paying attention to what they’re doing.”
Veteran members of the Sun Peaks Racers, the three have been involved in the club for “forever” according to Rublee, advancing from the Nancy Greene Ski League to second-year U16’s. Competing provincially for year’s he expects Team BC to form a tight-knit group this year with 14 athletes representing the province and former SPAC program director Montana Molyneux as a coach.
Applegath, Hooton, and Jacoby had a final competition in Kimberley Feb. 9 and 10 where they took top 10 finishes before preparing to head off to Alberta where they’ll meet their team. Rublee said his advice for the young athletes is to focus on the performance task at hand.
“Be prepared mentally and physically but it’s really about skiing the best they can and let the outcome look after itself.”
The athletes will compete in four events at Canada Winter Games; Super-G, GS, Slalom and Ski Cross.