The defending Paterson Memorial Trophy holders are easily the No. 1 story of 2011.
The Peninsula junior B hockey team swept a best-of-five series in three straight games against Comox in March, then made a major comeback over rival Victoria Cougars to clinch the the team’s second-straight VIJHL title.
They followed that with winning the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Fernie, B.C. The Panthers topped last season with a fourth-place finish at the Keystone Cup.
At Keystone, the Cats edged the Pilot Butte Storm in the first round-robin game of the Keystone Cup in Sherwood Park, Alta. They won 1-0 but dropped the next game 6-2 to the host Sherwood Park Knights, who would go on to win silver. Next up they lost to eventual Keystone Cup winners Blackfalds Ford Wranglers in a narrow 7-6 game. The Panthers pummelled the Arborg Ice Dawgs 8-3 to finish round-robin play in contention for the bronze medal.
The Panthers dropped their rematch with the Storm in the bronze medal game 5-3.
The headline grabbing continued into this season. Come fall, the team fell under league ownership and former owners Pete Zubersky and John Wilson paired up to take the reins.
A member of the B.C. Cycling Team, Annie Ewart was chosen by the Canadian Cycling Association for international competition.
This year, the Brentwood Bay teen was a member of the junior and senior women Canadian World Championship teams competing in Denmark (junior) and Gatineau, Que. (senior).
In Copenhagen, Denmark, she finished seventh in junior world road championships time trial in Copenhagen.
The Pacific Cycling Centre athlete came away with two golds and one silver medal at the junior nationals in Ontario in early July.
She finished second at junior national championships Criterium Challenge in Toronto, Ont.
In the Victoria Cycling Festival, she finished second in the Kona Russ Hays Time Trial and was the first junior – fifth overall – in the Bastion Square Grand Prix criterium.
Pacific Cycling Centre athlete Erinne Willock won the overall individual title of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. The four-race series included the Redlands Classic, the SRAM Tour of the Gila, the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the Cascade Classic.
Stelly’s graduate Willock – who competes for Team TIBCO/To the Top – had two second-place finishes, at the Redlands Classic and Nature Valley, and a fourth at the Cascade Classic, but she missed the Tour of the Gila because of a broken collar bone.
“Winning the title is a really nice bonus,” Willock said. “I felt great heading over to Europe … I’m happy I was able to do well at all the ones I participated in.”
In September, she finished 33rd among elite women at world championships held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Vic City rowers
Victoria City Rowing Club juniors left their mark at two prestigious international regattas in May. The Vic City Rowing Club came in second overall in a field of more than 40 clubs at the Brentwood College Regatta in Mill Bay.
Rowing clubs from around British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon and California competed at the largest junior international regatta on the West Coast. Victoria City Rowing Club won gold in the senior girls lightweight coxed four, the senior boys junior varsity double and the junior boys coxed quad and eight. Sammamish Rowing Association finished on top of the overall standings with 783.5 points. Victoria City Rowing Club (703.5) was second.
The Victoria City Rowing Club senior A boys and girls eight crews also qualified and competed in the prestigious Windermere Cup Regatta in Seattle. Both the junior A boys and girls varsity crews qualified for the event by being the fastest Canadian eight crews at the Brentwood College regatta.
The Vic City boats were the only Canadian crews in their respective junior eight races. For the boys, cox Aidan Horth led the crew of Graham Obee, Nick Lee, Theron Finley, Sean Carnduff, Zac de Vries, Nick Reimer, Curtis Ottenbreit and Braedan Drouillard to a very respectable fourth place.
The junior A girls eight coxed by Victoria McKean also led the crew of Natalie Ross, Allie DeLarge, Emily Lehre, Megan McDonald, Ravana Eagleheart, Jessica Stewart, Keira Flanagan and Shannon Huff to a hard fought fourth place finish.
Two Peninsula runners helped bring the girls relay team to Team B.C. victory at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops in August. With a healthy 30-metre lead over second-place finishers Athletics Alberta, the team of Casey Atkin, Danielle Delage (both from the Peninsula), Devan Wiebe and Katie Reid also beat the record for the 4 x 400 relay by five seconds.
For her field activities as a hammer thrower, Sidney’s Courtenay Neville-Rutherford was named the B.C. Athletics Association’s top female athlete in her age group in late November.
Parkland secondary qualified 18 student
athletes to the Lower Vancouver Island Championships held in May the University of Victoria. Also Peninsula Track and Field athletes, the st accounted for 36 qualifying performances in 32 events.