The Whistler Secondary Storm senior boys soccer team brought home the Sportsmanship Award from the provincial A championships in Ashcroft last weekend.
Despite the fact that the team had a winning record at the tournament, 3-2, two early losses put them in the bottom brackets. Out of the 12 teams in the tournament, Whistler finished ninth.
The team lost their first game to Southridge of Surrey, "which had some guys from the national junior team," said coach Andrée Janyk.
Their second game against a school from the Queen Charlottes was going well until the Whistler goalie Michael Messeguer took a kick in the nose and had to come out temporarily. Down 2-0, the Whistler team rallied late to put one on the board, but ran out of time.
The team went on to win their next three games against Nakusp, Enderby and Fort St. James. The Enderby game even came down to a shoot-out after the teams were tied in regulation. This was the second time in two weeks that Messegeur faced a shoot out and won.
After each game, Most Valuable Player awards were handed out. Four Whistler players, Peter Skryabin, Messeguer, Tyler Massey and Kyle Cuthiel won the awards for Whistler. Other strong candidates included Ryan Black, Steven Romanin, Michael Daugulis, Brendon Edgar, Sacha Filler and Rory Ewanson.
At the end of the tournament, the Whistler team was chosen as the most sportsmanlike by the other coaches and officials, and team captain Nick Vagelatos accepted the award for the team.
"If you cant win, its the next best award to get," said Janyk. "They really played at a high level, and pumped their games up a lot. They were polite, they cheered every team, and acted very professional. We were very proud of their efforts."
According to Janyk, about half the team will graduate this year, but there are no shortage of younger players to take those spots. "Well be in the gym this winter training hard for next year," she said. "Weve got a lot of enthusiastic kids, and theyre pumped up after the championships and the last few weeks. Everyone wants to go back."
Bernard Messeguer also helped to coach the Whistler squad.