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Looking Back: 2011 highlights in local sports

Today’s edition of The News continues our 2011 year in review in sports
Kevin Biro

April 1

• They came up one goal short of gold, but Oceanside’s U13 boys soccer team had a blast.

In action on the new all-weather turf field in Ladysmith for the Nanaimo and District U13 Boys year-end playdown, the Dynamite, who finished fourth in the seven-team league’s regular season, won its game and captured silver.




April 8

• The forecast is for baseball with a slight chance of homers.

Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals were back home and ready to dig in for their B.C. Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) regular season home opener on Saturday after a strong showing in the Best of the West tournament in Kamloops.




April 19

• The world of figure skating took centre stage in a big way at Oceanside Place over the weekend as over 500 skaters aged 4-18 from some 40 Island and coastal clubs turned out for the first of six Pond to Podium figure skating competitions slated for B.C.




April 29

• Ballenas Secondary School’s senior girls soccer team opened their 2011 playoffs on home field. The blue and white were missing two starters — standout striker Emma Greig and starting keeper Rebecca Bonnell — and though in tough against a physical side of 49ers from Ladysmith in game one of the district playdowns, the Whalers looked to have everything under control.




May 1

• It has been a passage of spring in these parts for years, and over 250 kids aged 4-18 along with 28 coaches representing all six divisions filed out onto the field at Springwood Old for Oceanside Minor Baseball’s opening day ceremonies.




May 10

• It was all Eagles  as the Shady Rest Soccer Club clinched its fifth straight Manly Cup with a decisive 3-1 win over the Oak Bay Old Boys.

“It was a terrific day — best day weather-wise we’ve had in a long time, so it made it perfect,” Shadies’ manager/coach Jim Cameron said after the latest installment of the long-running two-game set between the two Island sides.




May 20

• Ballenas Secondary School’s senior girls soccer team was the toast of the town after securing the school’s first-ever Island title.

The Whalers girls, the core group of which have been together for four years under head coach Larry Stefanek, clinched the Vancouver Island AA championship Tuesday on the pitches of Brentwood College with a convincing 3-0 win over the host team in the final. BSS would go on to finish second at the provincial finals.




May 27

• The BC Bronze Gloves boxing tournament takes over Oceanside Place May 28 and 29, and for one local female fighter, the opportunity to climb through the ropes and compete in front of family and friends takes on a special feeling, as there was a time not that long ago when it looked like a rare disorder was going to TKO her career.

Talk to Madison Hicks, 15, and it becomes evident early her road to the ring has not been easy, and that she, perhaps more than any other fighter there this weekend, truly appreciates the chance.

“Oh yeah. For sure,” she chuckled easily from the backyard of the family home in Parksville during a one on one with The News.




June 14

• The beach courts down at Parksville Community Park were packed on the weekend as Volleyball BC hosted the first stop of its Sand Series for youth aged 13-18, and the annual King and Queen of the beach competition for the older set.




June 17

• He’s already punched his ticket to Turkey, but Racquetman brought his A game and was rewarded with two more titles.

Decorated local masters tennis player Gordon Verge is back home from the B.C. Provincial Tennis Championships, played out at the scenic Jericho Tennis Club in Point Grey, having won both the Doubles and Singles events in his age group.




June 24

• “Hmmmm,” Parksville acting mayor Chris Burger quipped during his warm-up swing moments before teeing off for Wednesday’s Oceanside Mayor’s Charity Golf Classic.

“I should have requested this be held in-camera.”

Burger and his team Parksville, which included Gary Child, Keith Morrison and Peter Morrison, may have come up short on the scorecard

against their counterparts from Qualicum Beach, but the spirit of the day was clearly more about having fun and raising money for a good cause.




July 5

• Terrek Bryant and Dustin Rodriguez boarded a bus with their Team BC teammates, bound for Alberta and the 2011 Football Canada Cup.

This is the first time in the history of the Ballenas Secondary School football program a player or players have been selected to compete in the Canada Cup.




July 12

• Going pro did the rodeo in, but a return to its amateur roots may be coming down the chute.

In the meantime though, the Coombs Rodeo, which was cancelled last year after 32 years because of cost overruns, will not be back this summer.




July 19

• Oceanside’s Ravensong Aquatic Centre Breakers swim club set a high water mark down Island as they teamed up to take three gold medals, six silver and 11 bronze.  One of the smallest teams in the mix, the Breakers sent 12 swimmers to Saanich Commonwealth Pool July 7-10 for the BC Long Course Championships, aka the AAAs.




July 22

• Parksville’s Quality Foods Royals made team history when they took to the field up at Springwood Park as hosts of a first round best-of-three baseball playoff series against the Langley Blaze.

Win or lose, this year’s squad went into the series having set a high water mark for the team, having gone where no other Royals team has gone before — including winning the BC’s Best Baseball Classic for the first time in the club’s 17-year history.




July 29

• It was medals by the dozen for the kids from Oceanside Track and Field, as they turned in a great showing at the provincials.




Aug. 2

• Brain navigator Colleen Butler brought her A-game to Oceanside Place this month, and the benefits will be far reaching.

This is the first year Acres Hockey Training has implemented the Bringing Smart Play To Hockey program — a joint effort by Henry Acres and Colleen Butler, a brain injury coach operating under the name Brain Navigators based out of Nanaimo. The program is designed to educate players and parents on the complicated issue of concussions.




Aug. 5

• Local runner Melissa Ross was rewarded with her first international assignment, being named to the Canadian National Team bound for the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships in Albania.




Aug. 16

• Local fitness trainer and extreme athlete Wanetta Beal returned home from her big, fat road trip — an epic 70-day bike ride across Canada.




Aug. 19

• There were some familiar faces at the Oceanside Generals main camp last weekend, and no shortage of youngsters pushing hard to make an impression.

General manager Dave Johnston was in a great mood Monday morning, and was quick to credit new head coach Jason Dubyna for a job well done in his first time overseeing training camp.

Sept. 2

• Oceanside may have only sent four female swimmers to the recent BC Seniors Games in West Kootenay, but boy did they come up big. Big, as in 15 gold medals collectively, to go along with three silver and five bronze.




Sept. 16

• The 11th annual Panters Classic old-timers hockey tournament had a distinctively French Canadian feel to it as three new teams from Quebec made the trip to Parksville.

Played out last week at Oceanside Place (and surrounding area), the Classic featured four age divisions for players 55 plus.




Sept. 20

Parksville’s Ballenas Whalers football teams posted bruising bookend wins on home field against the Belmont Bulldogs from Victoria.

The JVs took to the field for game one of the BC High School Football double header, and a short-benched AA Ballenas team showed a lot of moxie in a 34-6 win.




Sept. 30

A new soccer league for U14 and U15 boys and girls is being embraced by the players and parents.

Just three weeks into its inaugural campaign, the Vancouver Island Premier League, comprised of around six teams in each division, from one end of the rock to the other, has already established a solid foothold.




Oct. 11

• From Victoria  came word University of Victoria rower Kai Langerfeld of Parksville posted a record-smashing time of 5:56 in two-kilometre erg training (done on a rowing machine), the fastest time ever by a Vikes student-athlete in the 46-year history of UVic rowing team.




Oct. 18

• It was back to the drawing board for Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals, as head coach and GM Dave Johnston continues to try and find the formula for what ails his young team.


Back in action a few short days after Johnston released his head coach, assistant coach and both goalies, the Generals were thumped 7-3 on Friday in Sidney against the Peninsula Panthers, then gave up two unanswered goals in the third period at home on Saturday to go down 3-1 to the Campbell River Storm.


Oct. 28

• That the children of La Manzanilla will be able to take part in a pickup game of baseball, heck, maybe even form a league, may not sound like a big deal to most, “but it sure is to them.”

A local couple’s campaign to collect baseball equipment for the children of this small fishing village has taken off, literally, and they’re hoping more people will pitch in.

Longtime Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association (PGOSA) member Robin Pearson, 64, said he got the idea a while back, explaining that he and his wife Vicki have been “going down there for the last three years (during the winter), and I always thought I would love to bring some ball equipment because the kids don’t have anything.




Nov. 1

• Graduating Parksville Royal Kevin Biro has been hitting the books at the University of British Columbia since the start of the school year, but last week the dedicated ball player from Deep Bay got word he’d been rewarded yet again, by being named the recipient of the 2011 BC Premier Baseball League Academic/Athletic Excellence Award.




Nov. 11

• Kwalikum Secondary School’s senior boys soccer team had a great ride back from Victoria knowing they’d pulled their season out of the fire.

The local team earned their school’s third consecutive berth in the AA provincial championships.

Nov. 15

• Ballenas Secondary School’s Varsity Whalers made believers out of some people on Saturday as they came from behind to beat the Holy Cross Crusaders 34-18 in the opening round of the BC High School AA football playoffs.




Nov. 18

• Oceanside’s Peewee Lions chewed up the Barsby Dawgs 28-12 at Springwood Park and ran the table on their season with nine straight wins.




Nov. 29

• Taylor Grobowski cleared the way with a hat trick, and Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals finally beat the Glacier Kings.

Not just once, but twice.




Dec. 6

• Ballenas Secondary School’s senior girls volleyball team is done for the season having finished sixth out of 16 teams at their AAA provincial championships played out in Oceanside.




Dec. 9

• The spirit of Christmas touched down at Oceanside Place as Sandy Shores Skating Club hosted its Dessert Night and Christmas Concert.



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