Athletes bring home medals

Published in the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper | August 7, 2002 | Circulation: 4,200

Salt Spring’s young athletes and a veteran soccer coach came away from the B.C. Summer Games last weekend with two gold medals and four bronzes.

Sarah Proctor, Gord Akerman, Garner Lea and soccer coach Sue Spencer were the four islanders competing in Nanaimo.

Sara Mackay, who moved to Brentwood Bay from Salt Spring last year, also competed in the annual games.

Sara Proctor, 14, brought home the most medals for track racing. She won bronze medals in the 400 and 800-metre girls races, and the 4×400-metre relay.

“It was so much fun,” Proctor said. “We met so many people from everywhere. We didn’t get much sleep.

“You basically knew everyone you were running against. We’re all friends, but when it’s on the start line you’re ready to go for it.”

Proctor said her most exciting race was the 400-metre test. As she neared the end, Proctor was lagging back in fifth place but suddenly decided to go for it and shot past the other runners.

“I gave it everything I had at the end,” she said. “It was right at the finish. It was really close.”

In the 800-metre event, Proctor won bronze with another sudden burst of energy at the finish line. As she came around a bend in the track, she got “boxed in” between some other runners and suddenly squeezed between the two girls in front. She was only one 400th of a second behind the silver medalist, she said.

Baseball short-stop Gord Akerman also returned from Nanaimo victorious, sharing the gold medal for boys baseball with the rest of his Vancouver Island team.

They beat the bronze Thompson-Okanagan team and went on to crush the Fraser River Delta reps in the finals on Sunday.

They walloped that team by a 9-2 score.

But the game before the final was the most intense one. In the sixth inning, the game was tied 4-4 with no clue as to who would come out on top.

In the seventh inning, Vancouver Island crammed more runners onto the bases and raced through an exhilarating double-play before jumping to a 6-4 victory.

Garner Lea, playing on the Vancouver Island boys rugby team, scored another bronze medal as the only Salt Spring Islander on the team that finished just behind Vancouver-Squamish and Fraser Valley.

Salt Spring’s Sue Spencer led the Vancouver Island girls soccer squad to gold as the team’s coach, earning five victories.

Former islander Sara Mackay, who now lives in Brentwood Bay, also competed in the B.C. Summer Games. Mackay competed in the individual girls 100-metre butterfly race in swimming.

The B.C. Summer Games, held this year in Nanaimo, brought hundreds of young athletes together from across the province. The youths slept on gym floors and told the Driftwood that socializing (and sleeplessness) were high on the agenda – after the sports, or course.

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