The 10th and final day of the Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current, Sask., on Sunday saw Team NT pick up its sixth medal of the event.
Cameron Courtoreille of Yellowknife was the final medalist for the territory as he won bronze in wrestling, defeating Tom Haight of of Manitoba by pinfall in the boys 100-kg wright class. It was the second time Courtoreille got the better of Haight in competition as the pair had fought during the team duels on Friday, which also ended in a pinfall victory for Courtoreille.
Courtoreille said he used his experience to his advantage.
“He was younger and less-experienced than I was,” he said. “I knew more about what to do in certain situations. He held his ground pretty well and was strong, though.”
Courtoreille was also the taller of the two wrestlers but he said that doesn’t give a wrestler any help at all.
“Height isn’t an advantage for a wrestler,” he said.
Quinn Critch and Kaitlyn Stewart both had a chance at medals as well with Critch fighting for bronze in the boys 63-kg wright class and Stewart in the girls 69-kg category but both ended up on the wrong end of the decision each time and finished fourth.
Don Reid, the team’s head coach, said this year’s wrestling competition showed that there’s no easy weight classes at all.
“The Western Canada Summer Games isn’t getting any easier,” he said. “You have the big provinces coming with full teams and I’m not surprised the competition was tough. You find out fast what you’ve gotten yourself into once you get out on that mat.”
Courtoreille also got some good news following the completion of the wrestling competition as he was named the flag bearer for the closing ceremony on Sunday evening.
He said he wasn’t nervous about carrying the flag but there was one worry.
“I’m always worried about falling,” he said.
Track and field produced a bronze medal on Saturday as the medley relay team of Nicolas Bennett of Yellowknife, Bryce Smith of Hay River, Zackary Horton of Hay River and Stryden Hult-Griffin of Inuvik finished third. The medley relay is different from a regular relay in that there are varying distances at each stage of the race. This medley relay started with a 400-metre dash run by Hult-Griffin, followed by two 200-metre dashes run by Horton and Smith, while Bennett ran the anchor leg of 800 metres.
Bennett said it was the first-ever medley relay he’s been a part of and it was fun but the NWT foursome caught a huge break during the race.
“Saskatchewan made a huge mistake during the race and I felt really bad for them,” he said. “We were getting crushed and their mistake meant they got disqualified.”
Indeed, rule 170.7 of the official rules of track and field states, in part, that all passes of the baton must be done within the take-over zone and according to officials, that didn’t happen during a Saskatchewan pass and that meant they were given the boot.
Bennett said the mistake was so small, it took technology to spot it.
“Apparently, it was spotted by a drone above the track,” he said. “It is what it is but it was a simple mistake and it sucks. There’s a reason why there’s rules.”
The girls volleyball team had a chance for a bronze medal as they took on Saskatchewan on Sunday morning but fell in straight sets, giving them a fourth-place finish overall.
Head coach Darren Horn said he knew his girls would be the underdogs but they held their own.
“We definitely played better than the first time we met,” he said. “We had been working on our serving since the Canada Cup (in July) and we were able to stop the long momentum swings they had rather quickly, especially in the second and third sets.”
Both sets of bronze medal games were happening at the same time as the Saskatchewan boys were up against Yukon on the other side of the floor, meaning it was a full house of home-team support.
Horn said he tried to flip the script for the girls heading into the contest.
“I told our girls the pressure was on them because of the crowd,” he said. “I don’t think they took us for granted because they saw us at the Canada Cup. Their coach told us after the game that he saw the improvements from Halifax to here.”
Even with no medal around their necks, Horn said the girls are leaving with no regrets and with having met their goal.
“Getting into the bronze medal was what we had set out to do,” he said. “There was the big three and we had our success against Nunavut and Yukon. The girls were nervous at the start against Saskatchewan but it wasn’t a huge factor. Once they got going, it was like any other game.”