Young athlete and popular coach named sport heroes

An athlete and a coach with the Telemark Cross Country Ski Club were recognized earlier this month when Sport Kelowna handed out its annual Community Sport Hero Awards.

Telemark skier Abigail Ertel skate-skiing last weekend at the Western Canadian Championships at Telemark. The event saw 450 of the top skiers compete. The Canadian National Ski Team was also present with skiers finishing their preparation before heading to Norway for the World Nordic Ski Championships.

An athlete and a coach with the Telemark Cross Country Ski Club were recognized earlier this month when Sport Kelowna handed out its annual Community Sport Hero Awards.

Skier Jeff Kerkovious and coach-volunteer James Williams were both honoured with community sport hero awards at the event.

At what some might consider the late age of 13, Kerkovious was recruited into cross country skiing due to his natural talent and encouraging results in cross country running.

Early in his racing career, Kerkovious was able to keep up with the more experienced skiers due to his strong physical presence and endurance background. 

As the skier matured and progressed within his sport, he has worked extremely hard to become a more efficient and technical skier and his hard work has already paid off.

Last season, he placed 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, Ont., he placed in the top 20 in three different categories: Classic Technique 20km, Classic Sprint Technique 1.6km, and Free Technique 15km.

At the 2010 NorAM ski races in Rossland, Kerkovious placed seventh in the Open Men 10km category, qualifying him for the Western Canadian Championships held last weekend at the Telemark Ski Club. 

Kerkovious balances sports and academics as a student at UBC Okanagan and a graduate of Mt. Boucherie Secondary.

•••

When it comes to Telemark, volunteer James WIlliams seems to be busy all day, every day during ski season. That’s one of the reasons Sport Kelowna honoured him with a volunteer sport hero award,

Williams has been involved with the Telemark Cross-Country Ski Club for many years, contributing to its growth and development by giving his time as an event volunteer, a coach, and a program planner.

Back in 2003, Williams played a very important role in the development of a ski league program for children that fostered the promotion of cross-country skiing as a lifetime sport.

Once the program was established and in good hands, Williams was able to turn his attention to the competitive ski racing program that was already in place at Telemark.

With his guidance and support, the program soared to new heights as the club was able to establish a parent race team committee and hire its very first paid coaching position.

A dedicated, experienced and enthusiastic coach himself, Williams can often be found waxing skies, leading pre-race warm-ups and monitoring split times at the weekly practices. He also takes on a variety of event-related tasks whenever Telemark is hosting races.

When he’s not busy promoting cross-country skiing across the city and province, Williams is a school teacher, as well as an avid skier and cyclist. 

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