Local athletes and volunteers were recognized earlier this month at Sport Kelowna’s 2011 Community Sport Hero awards.
Last week the Capital News presented the award winners in the volunteer category. This week we present the athletic excellence award winners.
A nine-year veteran with the Kelowna Speed Skating Club, Rosborough began his season by qualifying for the 2010 Zone 2 Team at the B.C. Winter Games, where he went on to win five gold medals. He would only take home four of those medals though as he personally awarded one of them to a fellow competitor who suffered a serious injury during the competition. In his age group he is currently ranked among the top five male skaters in Canada for both long track and short track speed skating.
Makinli Handley has skyrocketed to success in the world of gymnastics. At the 2010 Canadian Western Championships in Regina, Makinli claimed four gold medals and was awarded the title of high performance Canadian Athlete in her Junior category.
A 6’2’ setter out of Vernon Preston Tucker has been a member of the Team B.C. volleyball program for the past four years and is captain of the UBC Okanagan Men’s Volleyball team. He has won three consecutive provincial all-star awards, one national championship team all-star, and an all-Canadian award. He is currently sixth in the league for serving aces across all players and recently won BCCAA athlete of the week for his outstanding play.
A highly respected sailor with the Central Okanagan Sailing Association, Hardy had podium finishes in a number of competitions including the Kelowna Yacht Club’s dingy event, the SOSA Invitational Regatta, the Osoyoos Regional Championship and most notably a second place finish at the B.C. provincial sailing championships. On top of racing, Thomas put in over 300 hours of volunteer coaching with the sailing club this year earning him the Spirit of COSA award.
A late starter in his sport Jeff Kerkovius has come into his own this season, placing fifth in the Canadian Championships and was invited to be a member of the B.C. Cross Country Ski team. At the Under 23 World Juniors in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Jeff placed in the top 20 in 3 different categories.
As a member of the Okanagan Gymnastics Club Trevor Stirling has won several provincial titles in the area of trampoline and tumbling. This season he had second place finishes at the B.C. provincial championships in New Westminster and the 2010 Canada Cup in Missisauga, and a seventh place finish at the Indo Pacific Championships in Japan.Recently, he won gold at the 2010 Pan American Championships in his 15-16 year old category.
A member of the Big White Racers Ski Club, Silken Rauhala is in her first season on the National FIS circuit and has already caught the attention of the Canadian national alpine ski team. Among all first year circuit participants’ results, Silken placed second and third in her events was selected for the B.C. alpine ski team competing in the upcoming 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
Jenna Kantz is in her 5th and final year of competition for the UBC Okanagan women’s basketball team. Over the course of her career, Jenna has been recognized as her teams’ captain and Most Valuable Player, a provincial all-star, BCCAA Athlete of Week, and a league wide top ten player in scoring, rebounding, and assists. Kantz is on track to claim the university’s all time leading scorer title with her outstanding performance this season.
A 13-year-old Okanagan Mission student, Jayda Jurome skated to a national title at the 2010 Skate Canada Challenge becoming the first skater out of Kelowna in her age group to win a national championship, a testament to her work ethic, determination, and dedication.
Connor McCormack claimed the Canadian national BMX championship for the third straight year in 2010, juggling BMX while playing university basketball at UBCO. McCormack is currently training for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, competing in several qualifying events, including the Canadian Development and ID camp held in Arizona this month.
Joe Byram has been involved with competitive swimming for just over four years with the Vernon Kokanees, establishing himself as one of the top 16-year-old backstrokers in Canada. Last season, he won four individual medals at the Western Canadian Championships, as well as four medal at the North American Challenge Cup as part of Team Canada’s Under-18 swim team.