Chemainus venues provided a prominent spotlight for two B.C. Summer Games events.
Wrestling played to jam-packed crowds at Chemainus Secondary School and a portion of the box lacrosse action took place at Fuller Lake Arena in conjunction with Kerry Park Arena in Mill Bay.
Wrestling featured numerous Cowichan Valley athletes in the finals and five of them captured gold medals for Zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast): Hayley Bye-Pace, Talon Hird, Stephanie Mould, Dylan Battye and Miaya Brownridge.
“We had a lot of local kids won,” noted Nick Zuback, who turned his attention from coaching to tournament director and left the Zone 6 coaching duties in the capable hands of Eric Anderson and Maegan Kuruvita.
“Our talent led the way,” Zuback added. “I knew we had a decent squad going in. Our kids were focused.”
Zone 6 took home gold in the team events with an outstanding 153 total points. Zone 5 was second with 120 team points and Zone 3 had 112 team points for bronze.
Zone 6 won by one of the biggest margins ever with a 33-point lead. The team recorded 36 pins during some outstanding matches. The coaches put in a lot of thought and work when picking this amazing team of wrestlers that made up Zone 6.
Among the numerous wrestlers from the zone claiming silver and bronze medals was Crofton’s Rosie Klatt-LeBlanc, a Chemainus Secondary School student who received bronze in the girls’ 75-kilogram division plus a gold medal for the overall Zone 6 team effort.
Klatt-LeBlanc faced four other challengers in her division.
“There were two new ones, but I knew the other two,” she said.
Klatt-LeBlanc has worked hard in the sport, but she’s kind of a natural.
“It just kind of came,” she said of her talents since taking up wrestling.
“Rosie has overcome some disabilities and anxiety issues and wrestling has changed her life,” said mom Jill LeBlanc.
“I can’t say more about how Nick’s program has changed her life. It’s a great sport.”
Zuback’s role in the Games required a much different approach from him from coaching.
“It was really tough walking around and not yell,” he conceded. “You’ve got to oversee so many different things.
“It’s a tough job, very tiring. At the end of the day, I think we put on a great show – packed house for the finals.”
Chemainus Secondary has become a prime venue for the Cowichan Valley Wrestling Club tournaments, Island championships and now the B.C. Games.
“Chemainus Secondary has been good to us,” enthused Zuback. “It’s a great place to host.”
Chemainus’ Luther Tidder didn’t have a class to wrestle in, but still participated as a volunteer.
Zone 6 won the box lacrosse competition with a dominating display that included games at Fuller Lake Arena. Saturday afternoon was a case in point with a 16-0 whitewashing of Zone 8 leading up to the gold medal.
The team included Devyn Zunti from Ladysmith and other players from Victoria, Saanichton, Nanaimo, Parksville, Brentwood Bay and Campbell River.
“We got a couple from every group on the Island,” said coach Shane Terris of Nanaimo.
He was pleased how the team found chemistry immediately in the tournament.
“It didn’t take much, we got them to talk to each other,” noted Terris. “They really seemed to click well together.”
The team had just three practices together after selections.
“That’s all we had time for,” said Terris. “They’re all over the Island.”
The Vancouver Island-Central Coast host Zone 6 contingent won the overall competition with 125 medals, including 50 gold, 35 silver and 40 bronze.
Zone 4 Fraser River collected 119 medals, Zone 5 Vancouver-Coastal 103, Zone 3 Fraser Valley 79, Zone 2 Thompson-Okanagan 75, Zone 8 Cariboo-North East 34, Zone 1 Kootenays 15 and Zone 7 North West 12.