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Sports Briefs: Canadian luge team gets beefed up

Alberta rancher donates cow in first response to squad's 'For Sale' campaign



The Canadian luge team's newest sponsor may not be beefing up the squad's bank accounts, but it will at least be filling the team's freezers.

Alberta beef producer Pin to Point Gelbvieh announced Monday, Oct. 7 that it would contribute one cow — 600 pounds worth of beef — to be divided up between Canada's six athletes competing at the World Cup level.

Having recently lost their title sponsor, the Canadian lugers put out a call for financial support earlier this month and Pin to Point Gelbvieh was the first to respond.

"Our family heard about the team's recent sponsorship struggles, and we thought ensuring the athletes have access to high-quality beef could be a small way to contribute to the campaign and their performance goals," said ranch owner Mark Barnert in a release.

"We are thrilled to help out, and I challenge other organizations across Canada to take a step back and think about how they may also be able to connect themselves with this inspiring group of Canadian role models."

The Canadian lugers, who will likely be medal contenders in multiple disciplines at the 2014 Olympics, were grateful for the unorthodox donation.

"When athletes are cash-strapped, one of the first things that often drops in our daily routines is proper nutrition," said veteran team member and two-time Olympian Sam Edney. "Protein is key to a luge athlete's diet, and providing our team with access to an elite grade of beef removes another distraction in our preparation to be fully prepared to win."

However, the team continues to seek external support as it makes final preparations in the lead-up to Sochi.

"We are not looking for millions or freebies, but we now have a massive financial hole in our program that we need to fill," said Tim Farstad, executive director of the Canadian Luge Association.

"The partnership today is a small step forward in accomplishing our goal. We are extremely grateful for the continued support and look forward to finding more partners that will ensure the success of our program beyond 2014."

Dietz takes women's win at half marathon

Squamish's Margreet Dietz set the fastest women's time in the Blue Shore Financial Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 6 to lead a strong showing from a number of Sea to Sky runners.

Dietz completed the 21.1-kilometre route, which started and finished at the Park Royal shopping centre and toured runners through West and North Vancouver, in one hour, 27 minutes, 14 seconds. Dietz was the fourth runner to reach the finish overall and clocked in more than seven minutes ahead of the rest of the women's field.

Whistler's Jim Budge also left the event a winner, having captured first place in the men's 60 to 69 age group on Sunday. Budge reached the finish in 1:42:35, which was also good for 31st place overall.

Whistler runners Erin Kennedy (2:03:29) and Danny Mason (2:08:21) each earned top-20 finishes in their respective age categories in the event.

Pemberton's Christine Cogger and Jen Glavas had nearly identical times on Saturday to finish 20th and 21st, respectively, in the women's 30 to 39 division. Cogger finished in 2:04:45 and was separated from Glavas by just two seconds. Fellow Pemberton residents Lee-Ann Barczynski (2:05:37) and Alana Buckton (2:22:05) were also among the race's 186 finishers.

The race was hosted by the Whistler Friends Society, which has also produced The North Face Whistler Half Marathon annually since 2011.

Saints rally to remain perfect

The Whistler Saints flag football team needed a come-from-behind effort on Sunday, Oct. 6 against the North Vancouver Packers to keep its perfect record in North Shore Football League play intact.

The Saints' Liam Forsyth scored a late touchdown and Griffin Brown kicked the go-ahead two-point convert to lift Whistler to a 14-12 win at Squamish Elementary School.

Josh McKenzie added a first-half touchdown for the Saints and also was part of a defensive unit that made a last-minute stand to keep the Whistler lead intact. McKenzie, Forsyth, Benyon McKeen, Quinn Goertson and Griffin Brown all recorded crucial flags on the Packers' final drive to preserve the victory.

The Saints remained first in the division by improving to 5-0 for the season. They'll head to North Vancouver to take on the Raiders for their next action on Monday, Oct. 14.