The Pemberton Grizzlies football team will open its season on the road in Oregon this weekend, heading into what should be a good-match up with the Bandon Tigers.
The Grizzlies lost many key players to graduation last season, but have a number of dependable veterans ready to take on bigger roles. Captain Mackenzie Graves will be an important piece of the Grizzly line on both sides of the ball, as will Ben Thompson. Jeremy Lacsamana will look to provide a steady defensive presence at middle linebacker.
Kex Nelson takes over at quarterback after showing great potential in limited action last season, throwing six touchdowns and just one interception. Receiver Wesley Finck will be one of Nelson's primary targets this year.
"The teams will match up systems-wise very similarly," head coach John Burleson said of Saturday's meeting with Bandon. "The strength of our team this year is our line."
The Grizzlies were hopeful to start their schedule in Prince George last weekend but the games they had set up there were wiped out due to complications stemming from the ongoing teacher strike. However, the Grizzlies and Howe Sound Secondary School Sounders will get a chance to reignite their rivalry in the coming weeks.
The Grizzlies play at Squamish next Saturday, Sept. 20, and then welcome the Sounders to Pemberton for a rematch on Thanksgiving weekend.
WHEEL UP GOES SATURDAY
The Westside Wheel Up returns on Saturday, Sept. 13 to put a cap on the local cross-country mountain bike race season.
Whistler's longest-running race is entering its 21st year and will once again finish off with an après celebration at Rainbow Park, with several great prizes, including a Whistler Blackcomb season pass, up for grabs.
Proceeds will benefit disabled athletes, WORCA and the Whistler Cycling Club.
The race will follow the same selection of West Side trails as in 2013 after starting at noon in Function Junction. Registration begins at 10 a.m., while après will run from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit www.worca.com for full details.
Also on the schedule is the final regular WORCA Toonie Ride of the season, which is taking place Thursday, Sept. 11. The "Kill Me Thrill Me Feed Me Soak Me Time Trial" gets underway at 6 p.m., with sign-in starting at 5:15 on Cougar Mountain Road.
The annual Halloween Toonie is scheduled for Oct. 30. See www.worca.com for all Toonie info.
Two days of cyclocross racing are slated to take place in Whistler later this month in an event sanctioned by Cycling BC.
Cyclocross is a mountain bike discipline that usually takes place on a short, looped track that requires riders to dismount and carry their bikes around on-course obstacles. Racing will take place Sept. 20 and 21 in the resort.
The course will start and end at the Creekside Medals Plaza, utilizing parts of the Franz's Trail shopping area and the lower slopes of Whistler Mountain. The course will run in reverse direction on the second day of racing.
Intermediate and beginner-class competitors need a Cycling BC citizen license to participate, while elite riders require a UCI race license. There will be prize money up for grabs in the elite races both days.
Visit bike.whistlerblackcomb.com for full details and registration info.
PODIUM SEARCH PLANNED
The Canadian Sport Institute-Pacific will host its next Podium Search event on Sept. 20.
Podium Search is a one-day athlete identification camp where participants are tested to determine their capability for sport performance at the elite level. Athletes are put through physiological and sport-specific tests to see how they compare to national team standards.
Visit www.csipacific.ca to register or learn more.