NIAGARA – Four Bow Valley athletes in basketball, rowing, triathlon and volleyball wore Alberta blue against the nation’s best at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games in southern Ontario from Aug. 6-21.
Alberta finished fourth in medals with 111 – 35 gold, 33 silver, 43 bronze – the most golds ever won at a Summer Games, and second highest medal count overall at a Canada Games.
Of the Wildrose province's medal winners is Canmore’s Evvia Belireau, who helped the women’s volleyball team claim silver in Niagara.
“It was an honour to get to play in a tournament with all of the best players in the country in my age group,” said the 17-year-old libero. “It was amazing to see another multi sport games able to happen again since the pandemic first started. The Niagara region were great hosts, all of the volunteers were welcoming and helpful, making it an amazing experience.”
To reach the gold medal volleyball match, Alberta easily ran through its preliminary pool, and then went on to take out Nova Scotia in the quarterfinals and Saskatchewan in the semis.
In the finals, Alberta matched up against an uber-tough Manitoba squad, which has three players on the All Rookie U Sports team. When the final ball hit the ground, Alberta was defeated three sets to one (25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 25-10).
Prior to the tourney, Belireau won Volleyball Alberta’s 2022 U18 female athlete of the year and has been receiving national attention for her work on the court.
At age 15, triathlete Kahlen Anderson was the second youngest competitor in the women’s field at the Canada Summer Games, finishing in the top 20 twice, which included a remarkable top 15.
“Seeing all the older girls who were on the podium it was cool to see like, even in four years, if I’m doing this well now, at their age hopefully I can being doing podiums at Games like that,” said Anderson.
In rainy and humid conditions, the triple sport threat from Canmore finished 17th in sprint (1:14:15), swimming 750 metres in 12:26, biked 20 kilometres in 37:32, and ran five km in 23:24. The bike portion was especially slick that day, as nearly half the men’s and women’s field crashed due to the windy and wet weather. Anderson stayed up despite the carnage in the race.
In super sprint, Anderson had her top result of 15th (27: 53) – staying close to the leaders and less than two minutes behind first place. She swam 300m in 5:43, biked eight km in 14:51 and ran 1.6 km in 6:30 to secure the personal best.
“I was glad to get a top 15 because that was my big goal going into it,” said Anderson.
“I had a really good swim, so I was just behind the lead pack. I had a good bike ride, I dropped a couple people, and the run was good, too.”
In men’s basketball, Canmore guard Corey Banks and Alberta reached the bronze medal game, but were defeated by Nova Scotia, 90-83.
The 18-year-old Canmore baller’s best scoring game was in the preliminaries, when he dropped eight points in a win over Yukon.
In women’s rowing, Banff’s Kiana Worobey, 18, and provincial teammates finished fourth in quadruple sculls (7:16.88) – five seconds off the podium – and fifth in double sculls (7:36.27).
A powerful rower, Worobey started in the sport during the COVID-19 pandemic and has emerged as one of the province's brightest young athletes.
The top province for medalling at the Canada Summer Games was Ontario, finishing with 198 (86 gold, 60 silver, 52 bronze). Quebec was second with 142 (49 gold, 51 silver, 42 bronze), and British Columbia was third with 128 (34 gold, 51 silver, 43 bronze).