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Final Four coming this weekend

Sports briefs: Tchernetsky wins NorAm gold

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The Whistler Minor Hockey Association (WMHA) is getting the chance to host the best bantam rep teams from the Lower Mainland this weekend.

WMHA president Steve Legge believes it's the first time the organization had applied for the event and certainly the first time it's ever welcomed the tournament.

"The league felt it was time we should have one," Legge said. "We knew our team was going to be in the Final Four. We assumed they would make it that far, which they did. We put the bid in and we were accepted right away."

Whistler's Winterhawks club qualified for the tournament running away as the No. 1 seed, while the North Shore Winter Club, Langley and Mission round out the bracket.

"We were ranked first and so my expectation is nothing lower than first," Legge said with a chuckle. "That's what I hope the boys are able to do. The biggest challenge that we have is we had a five-week layoff, so we'll have to get the legs going early."

Whistler will play at 3 p.m. on Saturday and twice Sunday, at 10:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. at Meadow Park Sports Centre.

Tchernetsky wins NorAm event

Sofia Tchernetsky put up a dominant performance in Calgary on Feb. 26.

The 14-year-old Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club slopestyle athlete was among the youngest competitors in the NorAm event at Canada Olympic Park, but ran away with the victory, putting up a final score of 82.83 to knock off fellow Canadians Emma Stevens (78.41) and Elena Paskevich (70.66).

On the men's side, Whistler's Taylor Wilson was seventh with a score of 75.91. Philippe Langevin earned the win with a tally of 86.41, leading a Canadian sweep that also saw Tanner Gordon and Matthew Wilcox on the podium. Whistler's Ujejski brothers also competed, with Chase taking 33rd and Anders taking 52nd.

Meanwhile, in the halfpipe, Whistler's Mackenzie Wilson scored a fifth-place finish with a score of 61.00 to finish as the top Canadian in the women's event. American Carly Margulies posted an even 89.00 to take the win.

On the men's side, Taylor Wilson placed 30th as Americans again dominated with Nicholas Goepper taking gold with a 94.40.

Osborne-Paradis takes fourth, fifth in Kvitfjell

Manny Osborne-Paradis continued his late-season surge in Kvitfjell, Norway on the weekend.

The 33-year-old Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus took fifth in the FIS World Cup downhill on Feb. 24, finishing 0.34 seconds back of winner Bostjan Kline of Slovakia. Austria's Matthias Mayer and Norway's Kjetil Jansrud were second and third, respectively, while fellow Canuck Erik Guay placed fourth.

In the Feb. 25 race, Osborne-Paradis climbed a spot into fourth. Jansrud earned the victory, holding off Italian Peter Fill and Swiss competitor Beat Feuz. Guay, meanwhile, placed sixth.

"I love Kvitfjell and I needed to secure a spot for World Cup Finals, which I did today with this result. Obviously I want to be on the podium, but here I find it's tough to be consistently fast and any mistake can really cost you, but that's just ski racing," Osborne-Paradis told the Alpine Canada website.

Meanwhile, the women were in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

Marie-Michele Gagnon shone in the alpine combined for Canada on Feb. 24, taking sixth.

In a second alpine combined on Feb. 26, Gagnon was just four-hundredths of a second behind Slovakia's Ilka Stuhec for a podium spot as she placed fourth.

Big winners at Sigge's P'ayak

Sigge's P'ayakentsut welcomed its largest-ever contingent of athletes to Whistler Olympic Park on Feb. 25 and 26.

In the 50-km event, the medallists were Freya Wasteneys, Linnea Rooke and Frances Vice for the women, and Matt Briggs, Brent McMurtry and Cory Forrest for the men.

In the 30-km race, Barbara Turner, Sarah Coney and Jessica Heyes were the top finishers among women, while Fran Vukonic, Philip-Maynard Davies and Spencer Lacy took that mantle for the men.

In the 15-km event, Whistler's Joe Davies bested Matthias Jakob and Lane Price for the men's title, while Annika Richardson edged Whistler's Mila Wittenberg and Squamish's Linnea Uunila on the women's side.

Full results are online at www.zone4.ca.

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