Mount Douglas secondary student Sam Willet won gold in the discus

Island zone tops at B.C. Summer Games

Thousands of B.C.'s best young athletes gathered on Sunday afternoon for the closing ceremonies of the B.C. Summer Games

Victoria-area athletes helped the Vancouver Island-Central Coast (Zone 6) team to the top of the B.C. Summer Games standings with 101 medals, 38 of which were gold.

Thousands of the province’s best young athletes gathered for the closing ceremonies of the B.C. Summer Games in Surrey on Sunday. More than 2,300 athletes competed in over 20 team and individual sports, with 375 medals doled out.

“These Games saw a number of records fall as B.C.’s best came together,” said B.C. Games Society president and CEO Kelly Mann of Victoria. “We are seeing an escalation in skills in several sports, and many of the young people who competed here are well on their way to becoming provincial-level athletes.”

“I believe many of the stars produced by these Summer Games will one day compete for our country,” Mann said.

On the water

Zone 6 rowers, many from Victoria, dominated with each of the 11 athletes getting in on the team’s nine medals.

Individually, Saanich swimmer Justin Howe, 14, pulled in gold in the 400-metre individual medley, and silvers in the 200-m freestyle and 200-m backstroke. His performance bodes well for the upcoming age-group nationals.

Volleyball

Zone 6 won gold in boys volleyball, defeating Fraser Valley two games to one in the final. The team, which is heavily made up of Victoria players, defeated a big rival during the ongoing club season, Fraser Valley. Coach Rick Wutzke of Lansdowne middle school said it’s the first time his team won against Fraser Valley, making the importance of this title is even greater.

“The biggest joy is beating (Fraser Valley) after coming second to them in both club provincial and club nationals,” Wutzke said.

“We persevered, winning the last set 16-14, and the full gym of spectators went wild.”

Victoria volleyball player Alan Lau didn’t hide his excitement and happiness, and on the podium, expressed his appreciation for the experience of the Games.

“We had great fun, we had new players in the team, we also made great friends with other players and teams.

“Volleyball is our passion and that’s what helped us reach this victory.”

-with files from Esmir Milavic

Swimmin’, bikin’ and runnin’

Island Swimming athletes Holly Henry and Farisha Arensen kept up Victoria’s rep as a triathlon mecca. Henry is the gold medal winner in the girls triathlon, and also competed in the aquathlon (swim and run) and duathlon (bike and run), but did not make the podium in the latter events.

Arensen, however, won both the aquathlon and duathlon, key elements to a strong future career in triathlon.

Second to none

For all 38 gold medals Zone 6 won, the team came close to winning a few more.

The Zone 6 girls softball team lost in the gold medal final, 7-0, to Fraser Valley.

Also falling in the final was the boys rugby team in a nail-biter at South Surrey Athletic Park between against Fraser Valley. Zone 6 scored first and took a 5-0 lead but Fraser Valley rallied back and ended up winning gold 12-5.

“We’ve played Fraser Valley so many times (in different tournament formats),” said Brandon Schellenberger, who played hooker for Vancouver Island and also plays soccer in Victoria. “We’ve won one against them in Burnaby, and in Victoria they beat us in the finals, so taking silver twice is good (for us).”

The B.C. Games cauldron will be lit again in 2014 in Mission for the Winter Games and in Nanaimo for the Summer Games.

• Watch a slideshow of images from the Games online, and click here for more stories from around B.C.

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