The 2016 B.C. Summer Games kick off a four-day run in Abbotsford today, and a sizable delegation of Parksville Qualicum Beach-area athletes will be among those representing Vancouver Island.
In all, 15 local competitors and four coaches will take part across a broad spectrum of sport.
The largest group will compete in track and field. Libby Elliot of Coombs, Elise Elston of Errington, Kate Morrison and Shane Stewart of Nanoose Bay and Rhiannon Terpstra of Parksville are all members of the Oceanside Track & Field Club. Jenn Erickson and Taylor Chestnut, former OTFC club competitors now attending post-secondary school in Victoria, have both been named coaches for the Vancouver Island-Central Coast Zone 6 athletics squad.
Four more local athletes will compete in the pool, including Shayne Blandin of Qualicum Beach and Amanda Stewart of Parksville in the Special Olympics swimming competition, Kaia Fuchs of Nanoose Bay in synchronized swimming, and Ethan Douglas Stannard in swimming.
There are two lacrosse players — Zach Wheldon of Parksville in box lacrosse and Arthur Miller of Parksville in field lacrosse —and one each in soccer (Yehia El Karsh of Parksville), girls softball (Meriana Spicer of Parksville) and towed water sports (Syvanna McNichol of Parksville).
In addition, Kayli Melissa of Parksville, who took up the sport less than a year ago, will compete in golf while Jeff Dinn of Parksville will serve as head coach for the Zone 6 golf team.
Another coach, Keith Radix of Nanoose Bay, will serve as an assistant with the zone baseball team.
In all, 18 sports will be contested, with up to 2754 athletes, 535 coaches and 378 officials expected.
Check for results and get other info throughout the games at www.bcgames.org.