Eight Hinton Cougars competing at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games
(Top row, l-r) Sara Johnston, Mattias Vriend, Chad Scobie, Amelie Burkinshaw.
(Bottom row, l-r) Cooper Johnston, Simon Ruszkowski, Thomas Hengel, Bodhi Walker.
Eight members of the Hinton Cougars biathlon squad will be the only local athletes competing at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games (AWG) in Airdrie this coming weekend.
And the athletes are eager to get racing under way at the biathlon venue in Canmore, says coach Robin Hengel.
“It’s an exciting time. It’ll be something they always remember,” said Hengel, who is also part of the Zone 5 squad as an assistant and chaperone.
Mattias Vriend, 11, and Simon Ruszkowski, 13, will compete in the Air Rifle II Boys division.
Vriend most recently earned a gold and silver medal at the Calforex Cup #5 race in Camrose.
“The weather conditions contributed to increased difficulty for the morning session as we experienced temperatures above zero with gusting winds, rain, sleet and snow all within an hour. The wet soft snow required racers to be alert to the ever-changing conditions,” said coach Hengel about the Camrose conditions.
Cooper Johnston, 11, and Chad Scobie, 13, will compete at the AWG in the Dev. I/U14 Boys division.
Sara Johnston, 13, will compete in the Dev. I/U14 Girls division. She’s had a few medal finishes this season, including most recently a double gold in Camrose.
Thomas Hengel, 14, and Bodhi Walker, 15, will compete in the Dev. II/U16 Boys division.
Hengel competed at the 2018 AWG, earning a seventh and eighth-place finish his two events.
Amelie Burkinshaw, 15, will compete in the Dev. II/U16 Girls division. This will be her second time going to the games, and hopes to follow up on a pleasantly surprising gold medal performance from 2018.