Cochrane athletes had a tremendous showing at the 2018 Alberta Winter Games in Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19.
Nearly 80 local athletes competed in a variety of sports varying from wrestling to hockey for zones one, three and four with the majority suiting up for Zone 2.
Cochrane athletes had four first places finishes, with Evan Devost, Ethan Neutens and Hunter Sawka bringing home the gold in the male hockey tournament. Jaida Lewis finished in first during the Under-16 female moguls event, Sophia Preece won gold in the female 46kg-wrestling tournament. Patrice Guay, Sarah Wozniewicz and Darcy Wasylik all won gold in female hockey.
Wasylik, who was the manager for the Zone 2 girls team, said the weekend was a busy one, and an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
“It was a jammed packed weekend for us. All we did was eat, sleep and play hockey … we had five games in three days. We drove up to Fort McMurray on Friday, had two games on Saturday, two games on Sunday and played in the gold medal match on Monday,” Wasylik said.
“Fort Mac was a wonderful host. Facilities were top notch, hospitality, food, transportation and the people, everything and everyone was so good to us throughout the course of the weekend. I’m just speaking in terms of the female hockey, but it was a great weekend.”
Wasylik, who has had her children compete in prior Alberta Winter Games, believes it’s huge for the Town of Cochrane to be so well represented at the Games.
“It’s a really special time for the kids to experience, and not a lot of people have the opportunity to go represent their area zone at an event like the (Alberta) Winter Games,” Wasylik said.
“It’s an awesome experience for an entire family … we had tons of people up there, Fort Mac was full. There was so much family support and they were as much a part of the experience as the kids were.”
“As a parent, it’s surreal to see your son or daughter get that type of experience.”
Along with the three first place finishes, Cochrane had seven second place finishes and five athletes or teams finishing in third place.
Lewis added to her first place finish by taking home silver in the Under-16 female slope-style skiing event, while her brother, Tyson, finished second in both the U-14 male boarder cross and U-14 slope-style snowboarding events.
Autumn Shopa was named runner up in the female 65kg female wrestling tournament and Marcus Skarsgard won silver in the biathlon boy’s sprint as well as the boy’s individual competition. Heidi Moores round out the group by finishing second with a score of 816 in the age 11 and 12 female speed skating relay.
Twelve members of the Cochrane Cowboys Wrestling Club were part of the Zone 2 wrestling squad that brought home a team bronze medal after defeating Zone 1 for the medal. Sophia Preece, Autumn Shopa, Jonathan Vance, Nicholas Hooper Keath Dostaler, Brendan Maguire, Cathrine Swedlo and Eli Fines were the Cochranites who helped the team to the podium while Swedlo and Fines won bronze medals of their own in individual competition.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Bergen, Claudia Collins, Hailey Davidson, Oceane Rosenberg, Sarah Bentz and Cassidy Rothwell also won the bronze for Zone 2 in the female ringette tournament.
Cochrane also had 16 athletes finish in the top 10 for various sports, including four fourth place finishes and three fifth place finishes.