Three young local athletes have qualified for the BC Winter Games February 20–23 in Mission, where they will join more than 1,300 athletes from across B.C. They are skier Kiley Waterfield, 12; and hockey players Hailey Herridge, 14, and Reese McRory, 14.
Waterfield will be competing in the slalom and giant slalom at Hemlock Valley Resort near Mission. She earned her spot by finishing in the top seven at a qualifying event in Fernie, where her brother Garrett narrowly missed qualifying as a result of a fall on the final of six runs.
Waterfield has been skiing since she was three-years-old, first with the Summit Lake Racers of the Nancy Greene league and more recently with a U-14 team out of Whitewater Resort near Nelson. She has always lived in Nakusp, and is also active in snowboarding, ice skating, running and biking. Her favourite place to ski is Whitewater, but she also likes Revelstoke.
Waterfield hopes to earn a medal when she goes up against competitors from all over the province. She says it feels great to represent Nakusp but she has mixed emotions about the trip.
“I feel nervous, but pretty excited because it’s going to be really fun,” she said. “It’s like a big party. There’s dances and a whole bunch of events going on around it.”
As for the hockey players, Hailey Herridge lives in Nakusp and Reese McRory lives in Hills. However, both play for the West Kootenay Wildcats Bantam all-girls team out of Castlegar.
Previously, they both played for the Nakusp Falcons from a very young age. They qualified at a tryout event in Nakusp in January, and they will play on the Kootenay U-16 team. Herridge normally plays defense, but will be a forward at the Games. McRory plays right wing for the Wildcats and will also at the Games.
“I think this will be a really good year for us,” said McRory. “We have a pretty good team.”
Asked how she felt about representing Nakusp at the games, Herridge said, “I’m excited.”
There will be a practice for their BC Winter Games team in Cranbrook, and then the team will fly to Mission for the competition. They are guaranteed three games, and then further games will depend upon the results.
According to the event’s website, the Games will include participants from across the province in 18 sports. Athletes will range in age from 9- to 40-years-old. This is the first time Mission has hosted the BC Winter Games.