The Whistler Secondary School (WSS) Storm hung tough all season in its first year at the AA level, but suffered a mini-skid at provincials in Langley on the weekend.
Entering the tournament ranked No. 9, Whistler's senior girls started out the tournament with a 59-53 loss to No. 8 Langley Christian, rebounded to drop No. 16 Selkirk 65-39, but then fell to a pair of lower-ranked opponents, 55-49 to No. 12 St. Michael's University School and 71-52 to No. 14 Little Flower Academy.
"In the last game, we ran out of gas," said head coach Alan Kristmanson. "We finished 12th in the province in AA, in our first season being there. I think that's pretty amazing and I'm pretty proud of them for that."
The team competed in the North Shore League in the regular season, eventually taking third to qualify for provincials. The league featured not only AA schools, but also some of the top AAA teams, providing stiff competition for the Storm.
Kristmanson noted Whistler Secondary's student population is just above the dividing line to make it a AA school, but with a large proportion of international students who don't play basketball, the recruiting pool is on the smaller side. That said, he's a believer in pushing his players against good competition.
"It's likely we would have played AA regardless of our school size just for the competition," he said.
"We played in AAA tournaments all year, too. All I care about is that the kids keep improving and I think we did that."
Kristmanson said the Storm will have the chance to build in 2017-18 as only one player, Eme Leigh, is graduating this year.
"They realized they're pretty good. That's half of it. In order to compete, you have to believe you can play with anybody," he said. "They still have to come ready to play, but they're not going to embarrass themselves against any of the big schools."
Provincial tournaments continue this week with the single-A boys' tournament, also in Langley, from March 7 to 10.
Pemberton Secondary School will enter the tournament ranked No. 14 and was set to face No. 3 Kelowna Christian in its first game.
Gymnasts start season in Coquitlam
With some exciting changes to the sport, Whistler Gymnastics kicked off its 2018 at Omega Gymnastics in Coquitlam in late February.
There are no longer strict age groups, and gymnasts can be judged against those younger and older than them in the same competitive level.
In Level 7, where all the athletes were making their debut at that level, Téa Cousineau took home third all-around after placing third on the bars and fifth on the beam. Sofia Wright tied for seventh all-around with teammate Tessa Juniper.
In the younger Level 6 division, Charlie Craig excelled on the beam, taking third, and then paired it with a fourth on the floor to take fourth all-around. As well, Georgia Eccles was eighth all-around, Lausanne Ko took 12th all-around.
In the older category, Sophie Firth took seventh all-around and Gabbi Collins took eighth all-around.
WMSC U16s solid at Seymour
Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) competitors were impressive over the course of two slalom events at Mount Seymour on Feb. 24 and 25.
In the first men's race, Lukas Forssander took the win, just ahead of teammate Chase Burns in second. Other top 10s came from Hayden Harley in fifth, Benjamin Neeves in eighth and Brendan Moss in 10th. On the women's side, Holly Clarke and Hailey Nelson took second and third, while Katie Doiron, Caitlin Wallin, Dee Dee Lai, Amanda Miller and Katrina Aidelbaum took fifth through ninth, respectively.
The next day, WMSC swept the women's podium with Nelson edging Clarke and Miller. As well, Aidelbaum, Wallin, Bella Bay and Georgia Ball took fifth through eighth, respectively. On the men's side, Forssander took second while Harley (fourth), Neeves (sixth) and Graham Seltzer (seventh) also made the top 10.