A small school received some huge accolades last month, as the David Thompson Secondary School Girls’ Ski Team finished third overall at the B.C. provincial championships.
The championships ran from February 27 to 29 in Whistler, where three DTSS teams made the trip for a shot at some provincial glory.
The boys ski and snowboard teams also made the trip, finishing 15th and 12th respectively. The combined results from the two ski teams were also enough to place DTSS third overall in skiing.
“All 15 competitors — you know I’ve taken a lot of school trips to a lot of different places — it never fails to amaze me how awesome these kids are,” coach Becca Wright said.
“They were strong competitors, they were respectful on the courses, they competed as hard as they could and they had fun, which is everything I could have imagined.”
The event saw each team separated into a number of seeded positions, who then competed against similar seeds from each school. The points each racer gained then went to an overall team score.
Grade 11 student Barbara Jenkinson was the top DTSS finisher, finishing third overall in the giant slalom event and fourth in the ski terrain GS event as DTSS’s first overall seed.
Madison Haynes was the next top DTSS competitor, finishing sixth overall in the terrain GS and 11th in the giant slalom, good for second and third in her seed group.
“It was really fun, and it was a really good experience,” Jenkinson said.
“I think I learned that you just have to go all out no matter what… just go your fastest and don’t hold back, because I feel like I could’ve done better.”
The boys teams didn’t have quite as strong a showing, which Wright attributes to the fact that the vast majority of them are not involved with competitive racing outside of school.
The boys snowboard team had a strong first day which saw them in ninth place, but the second day saw them fall back a few positions to 12th overall.
Wright attributes the girls’ success at least in part due to their age and maturity. While the oldest boys ski member was 15, the youngest girl was 16, meaning Wright felt they had a bit of a different approach to the event.
“I think their age and maturity was a big factor,” she said. “They did take a bit of a more mature approach, and I think the boys will see that over time as they continue with the team over the next couple of years — they just had a slightly different focus to the process, which was quite distinct.”
Regardless of results, Wright says she is proud of all the teams for the way they handled themselves both on and off the course. In order to have a bit better accommodations the team took a school bus to Whistler for the 10-hour drive, but Wright says the students “handled it with some serious grace.”
While this does spell the end of the season, as there are no high school national competitions, next year should be just as exciting, if not more as Panorama gets set to host these very same provincial championships. Although it’s still early, Wright says they would like to begin planning as soon as possible and will be looking for volunteers for the three-day event, running the last week of February.
As for this season, finishing third in the province is no mean feat, considering the size of Invermere, and Wright feels like all the kids who were involved can truly take something away from the experience as a whole.
“I think they can take away that regardless of where they come from, being from a small school, they can have success,” she said. “We may not have quantity, but we have quality… my favourite part was just the kids overall attitudes, they were respectful, honest and hardworking kids, and it showed.”