The annual Traditional Games Championships don’t get going until tomorrow evening but some athletes got themselves a good head start this past weekend.
Weledeh and St. Pat’s Gymnasiums hosted the annual Yellowknife Catholic Schools’ Regional Youth Traditional Games Tournament, which wrapped up on Saturday. It was the third year hand games was held while the traditional games was in its second year.
On the traditional games side, Weledeh had perhaps the two best athletes of the bunch for the weekend. Lindsey Woodford was the best of the bunch in the junior high division – literally. Woodford won everything there was to win in terms of the solo events: wrist hang, stick pull, one-foot high kick and triple jump.
“I’m happy with that,” she said about her sweeping the board. “I’m actually very surprised. I wasn’t thinking about winning any one event because if you think like that, it can go the other way very quickly.”
In the one-foot high kick, Woodford managed a leap of 6 ft. 8 in., but she’s gone better.
She said the pep rally at the school two days before everything started was where she showed just how high she can jump.
“In practice, I would usually kick around 6 ft. 3 in or 6 ft. 4 in.,” she said. “At the pep rally, that’s where I did 6 ft. 10 in.”
The pep rally jump was her personal best and her winning jump in the competition was a new record for her division.
On the senior side, Titan Klengenberg of Mildred Hall School was in fine form in the one-foot high kick as he managed to win with a jump of 6 ft. 11 in., a new personal best for him. He was in a tremendous battle with Aaron Refugio of St. Pat’s and Kabbamoy Paul of Weledeh in the senior category but managed to outlast them all as Paul failed at 6 ft. 5 in., while Refugio went out at 6 ft. 10 in.
Klengenberg got the chance to try and hit 7 ft. exactly but wasn’t able to do it in three tries.
“That would have been my personal best if I got it,” he said.
Klengenberg wound up with the podium sweep as in addition to his win in the one-foot, he finished second in the stick pull and was third in the triple jump.
He said he was happy with his performances.
The hand games was the event with the largest amount of participants and it produced an all-Yellowknife final between Sir John Franklin and St. Pat’s in the senior division. Sir John Franklin would eventually go on to beat their rivals while Chief Jimmy Bruneau School from Behchoko won the junior division.
Judy Whitford, the Indigenous education co-ordinator for Yellowknife Catholic Schools, said the event was another huge success this year with more growth in the amount of people taking part.
“We had 24 teams in total for the hand games with about 170 players in total and 40 competitors for the traditional games,” she said.
The amount of community involvement was something Whitford enjoyed seeing as well with teams coming in from Behchoko, Tulita and Fort Providence along with K’alemi Dene School from Ndilo.
“It’s really becoming a regular part of the sports circuit around the NWT now, especially at the schools,” she said. “There are more kids playing traditional games at schools and we’re seeing more kids want to take part and try out for their school teams.”