It is a privilege to be reporting to you as the PA president as we have wrapped up the 2017-18 Season. It was another successful season with fantastic achievements and lessons learned by our athletes. I want to remind you we have the next AGM on October 28th at Repsol at 1 pm.
I will start by sharing the stories of our incredible athletes. The 2017 Season competitions started with the Canadian delegation consisting of 8 members attending the Pan American Youth championship in Merida Mexico from August 30 to September 3, 2017. The Alberta team members; Abigail Edison, Victoria LaSalle, Gavin Pigott and Sydney Lutz had great learning experience at this, their first international competition. Special mention to Sydney for her performance which earned her a Bronze medal in the NORCECA division. The athletes were supported by Pentathlon Alberta Coach Darragh O’Malley who proudly reported their wonderful sportsmanship and representation of Canada.
Abby Edison entered the international circuit to try to qualify for the Youth Olympics. She attended three competitions, with two in Europe. The Youth A World Championship in Portugal where she was supported by Josh Riker- Fox as her Pentathlon Alberta coach. She had an outstanding performance finishing 14th in the final. Abby also attended the Pan American YOG Qualifier supported by national team coach Jane Rusconi and Darragh O’Malley. Abby did not qualify for a spot but happily reports appreciation for the experience having learned much an noting gratitude to her coaches Josh and Darragh. PA is proud to have been able to support Abby through her qualification as well as funding to support her coaches attending. I want to also share that Abby believes her parents Stephen and Jill have been outstanding in encouraging her in all her endeavours, including her sport. Stephen attended her 2 competition events in Europe. Abby has started her first year of university at UBC living in residence and adjusting to university life. This coming season she plans to continue training with the local UBC clubs and when ‘home’ with her local club ARES.
Other athletes entering the international circuit included masters athlete Connie Olsen who competed at her first international event at the UIPM World Master Pentathlon Championship in Halle, Germany, July 12-14, with 2 other Canadian master athletes. Connie earned bronze medal in the Women’s 50+ Tetrathlon event.
This year PA had 12 athletes that attended the National Pentathlon Championship in Orangeville, Ontario the August long weekend. Many were supported by PA with funding and coaching support by Darragh O’Malley. ARES athletes were supported by club coach Josh Riker-Fox. The athletes who attending were Abby, Nadine, Aryian, Victoria, Sydney, Anna Wang, Gavin, ….Josh Rosario representing Chile. NOVA, supported by club coach Denis Fournier, had two Senior athletes in Shauna Biddulph and Claire Samulak. Shauna is returning competing after the birth of her daughter Abigail, now 18 months. Welcome back Shauna. The PA delegation achieved many great performances at the competition. Congratulations to all of you!
Congratulations to Shauna Biddulph, Claire Samulak and Joel Riker-Fox, the three Alberta Senior athletes have been selected to represent the Canadian delegation at the upcoming Pan American Championship in Lima, Peru end of November. This is an important competition to earn vital Canadian places at the 2019 Pan American Games. This will be first international competition for both Claire and Joel, while Shauna has competed internationally in the past.
At home in Alberta we have had another fantastic season consisting of three competition events. We also hosted a laser run clinic at Repsol in October, and participants reported enjoying the many tips they received from the seasoned swim coach Mike Morrow and laser-run coach Andrew Chisholm supported by Kali Sayers. The December event held at Repsol was the first competition of the season and was well attended.
The Western Winter Nationals was again hosted at the University of Calgary with equestrian at the High River Agricultural Society Arena, supported by Mary Lynn Fraser. Despite the cold temperatures the horses and riders endured. The event included a riding clinic for athletes not yet ready ride the competition course. Following the riding event was the swim at the University of Calgary with Darwin Pigott outlining the rules and starting the swimmers of wide ranging ages and talent to many cheers from athletes and supporters on deck. A fun and fast evening swim, as well as a mid-morning fencing start the next day, allowed the athletes to sleep in which was appreciated by all. We had a scrumptious lunch and anther fun laser-run event on the track, seeing fast times and great perseverance by many athletes. Exceptional awards and prizes were handed out. Thanks to many volunteers who were setting up, timing, and taking down before and after athletes competed. What a team!
Special mention to Gavin Pigott who achieved his provincial standard at this event. Many athletes had personal bests and great performances. We saw many swan dives and funny riding manoeuvres, all making for a fun competition. 40 athletes competed, including Kelly Fitzsimmons from Ontario and our Alberta attendees from Cold Lake, Red Deer, Cochrane and Calgary, with hands on supports by ARES club volunteers staffing most volunteer position making it another successful winter national competition.
Our last competition of the season was the Alberta Provincial Championship on June 9 and 10th. This year we held the equestrian competition at the Lay D Luck Stables in Delacour where we again had both a riding clinic and competition. It was a rather hot day requiring attention to both the horses and athletes. The following day started with fencing and swimming at Repsol and concluded with the laser run event at the Glenmore Track. Athletes again enjoyed great performances. One of the memorable moments was seeing Emily Hills receive huge cheers from her many friends and with this boost we saw Emily finish sprinting across the finish line wearing a huge smile. This moment truly captures the community we have become, one of support and camaraderie! We ended the season with the annual BBQ hosted by Chris Adams and Kelly Lutz. Amy and Paul Hills again managed the score keeping and awards with prizes handed out accordingly.
The Board continues to work on expanding pentathlon in Alberta. PA initiated the Access Project managed by Ellen Behm, PA Treasurer, and Josh Riker-Fox. Through this work we saw the creation of two new clubs; Beaupre, in Cochrane, and the Calgary Winter Club, Pentathlon clubs. PA plans to continue this work. As a board there has been continued attention and work on governance to support our athletes and the ongoing commitment to growing our sport in Alberta. I want to thank all the board members for their many contributions this past year. Michelle Ostrikoff, representing Central Alberta Pentathlon (CAP), has consistently increased her support in the fields of policy writing, website and registration processes. Michelle is also an accomplished masters athlete. Chris Adams from ARES joined the board and assumed the Secretary position. Her timely reports and minutes were a great help to stay on tasks. Chris, pentathlete parent and a masters athlete, has informed us she will not renew her term as she has returned to the workforce full time and taken on an acreage with horses. Denis Fournier served on the board for most of the season. Kelly Lutz, Vice President, served another term with a steady presence, dedication and support to our organization in many domains. Ellen Behm has been with the organization for three terms the past two years serving as Treasurer. Ellen is the ‘gem’ one would call a workhorse. She is steady and beyond dedicated. Ellen has decided to step down leaving a huge void. As such there are places to be filled and opportunity for new members to fill the vacancies. PA has been successful in achieving strategically planned growth. As we are an organization of volunteers we depend on community members to support the work to sustain the activity an future of a growing organization. Therefore, going forward, community members will receive regular updates and requests to support our various projects to ensure continued success. PA will require more volunteers to support the increasingly complex organization we have become. More support will ensure we are able to offer regular programs, as well as the governance required to meet our obligations
In conclusion I want to once again thank you all. To the many athletes, while most not mentioned by name; your ongoing dedication and hard work is admirable. To those who are returning to another season in your club; welcome back and continued success. To our newer athletes; I look forward to meeting you during upcoming clinics and competition events.
To all our supporters, local clubs, board officers, officials, coaches and parents; thank you for all that you do! With your support we continue to grow as a vibrant and thriving organization. I look forward to seeing you all during our new season, in the field of play, board rooms, or setting up equipment. Its truly a pleasure to be working part of this incredible sport family.
President, Pentathlon Alberta