Kelowna’s Team B.C. members are (from left) coach Trent Schmuland, Nathan Beaucheminm Noah Gross, Liam Atwood, Jack Nyrose, Bronte Gallo, Tariq Brown, Caeleb Schlacter, Aiden Vint, coach Kendall Gross and coach Don Richmond. -Image: Contributed

Eight local players are in Edmonton with the provincial squad at the U16 Western Challenge.

Eight football players from Kelowna boarded a plane to Edmonton this week, hopeful that they will bring the U16 Western Challenge trophy home to B.C.

The young men, all between the ages of 13 and 15, are representing the B.C. Provincial Football Association’s U16 Team BC. Athletes from across the province tried out for the team this spring for 40 positions on the final roster.

The successful Kelowna players are: Liam Atwood, receiver/kicker Rutland Voodoos; Nathan Beauchemin, defensive back Kelowna Owls; Tariq Brown, defensive back, Kelowna Owls; Bronte Gallo, defensive line, Mount Boucherie Bears; Noah Gross, defensive back, Kelowna Owls; Jack Nyrose, defensive back, KMFA Mission Lions; Caeleb Schlacter, receiver, Kelowna Owls; and Aidan Vint, receiver, Kelowna Owls.

“This is a very strong showing from our region,” said BCPFA U16 head coach Trent Schmuland, a coach with the Kelowna Minor Football Association (KMFA) and the KSS Owls. “Kelowna is really grooming some excellent talent. These guys are great athletes with the right attitude. I’m really excited about the team we’ve put together this year.”

In addition to Schmuland, the U16 Team BC coaching staff also features Don Richmond, well-known coach of the Okanagan Sun—Kendall Gross, head coach of the KSS Owls JV team, and Guy Lemieux, offensive coach for KMPF’s JB Mission Lions.

The U16 Western Challenge, hosted by Alberta Football this year, is an annual event which sees the best of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba square off in a bid for the Western Canadian title.

Team B.C. hits the gridiron at Foote Field on the University of Alberta campus for its first game against Team Alberta on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. Fans can view the action via Football Canada Livestream.

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