Ashley Anderson’s specialty is cutting through water. She’s the knife.
Anderson, a local diver, was a double-medalist at the 2010 B.C. Summer Games. She claimed gold in the three-metre springboard and silver in the one-metre. Earlier that season, at the winter provincial championships, Anderson was awarded silver and bronze medals in the same events.
Anderson has been diving for five years and has benefited from training under the watchful eyes of Qaing Fu, a world-class Chinese coach. Anderson also plays soccer and still finds the time and energy to be an honour roll Grade 11 student at Westside Academy. She recently attended the Taiwan International Science Fair and placed third in the environmental category.
On a deep and talented UBC Thunderbirds football team, Brandon Deschamps made an immediate impact.
Deschamps was a freshman running back for the Thunderbirds in the 2011 Canadian Interuniversity Sport season. In one of his first games, in September of that year, he scored the winning touchdown in a 21-10 victory against the University of Regina Rams. The six-foot, 195-pound Deschamps became the most heavily-used rookie rusher on the club, which posted a 7-3 record in the regular season and lost to the University of Calgary Dinos in the Canada West championship game.
Deschamps, who played high school football for the Kelly Road Roadrunners, is already preparing for his second year with the Thunderbirds.
Brett Bulmer is heading for a bright future in the National Hockey League.
Bulmer, born and raised in Prince George, was a second-round draft pick of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2010. He went on to skate in the 2010-11 American Hockey League playoffs with the Wild’s farm team, the Houston Aeros, and then nearly landed on Minnesota’s roster for the current NHL season. He played in nine games for the Wild and picked up three assists in those contests before he was sent back to his junior team, the Kelowna Rockets. With the Rockets, Bulmer is proving himself to be one of the most dangerous offensive players in the Western Hockey League.
Brian Clyne lived the dream. In his chosen sport, he was selected to wear Team Canada colours.
Clyne was part of a 50-athlete Canadian contingent at the 2011 International Taekwon-Do Federation world championships in New Zealand. He fought in the junior men’s over-70-kilogram class. Even though he lost his first bout, the overall experience was life-changing. “Going to New Zealand for the worlds will most probably be one of my most significant achievements of my life,” he said. “The event broadened my global perspective, and showed me a new perspective on Taekwon-Do. This event was truly an awesome experience.”
Clyne, from Prince George’s Family Taekwon-Do, made Team Canada based on his results at the ITF Canadian nationals.
Colin Carson found himself in select company.
Carson, a setter, cracked the roster of the junior national volleyball team in 2010 and played on an international stage. At the North America, Central America and Caribbean volleyball federation championship that summer, he helped Team Canada win a silver medal, which qualified the club for the 2011 world championship.
Carson was a high school star at Duchess Park, and, upon graduation, stepped right into the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level with the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack of Kamloops. Carson has consistently been one of the top setters in the Canada West conference of the CIS.
Danica Ludlow is one of the fastest young freestylers in Canada.
Ludlow swims with the Prince George Barracudas and, within her age group, was ranked first in the nation in four freestyle events in 2011. At the 2011 World Trials Long Course Championships in Victoria she set a Barracudas record of four minutes 19.79 seconds in the 400-metre freestyle. Even though she was only a first-year junior, that clocking nearly landed her on Team Canada for the World Youth Championships.
In December, Ludlow swam for Team B.C. at a major meet in Oregon. She established four Barracudas records and was selected to the 2012 U.S. Youth Tour team.
Catching up to Emma Balazs is no easy feat.
Balazs is one of the quickest track and field and cross-country runners in Canada. In track and field, she represented B.C. at the 2010 Legion youth national championships in Ottawa and blazed to a silver medal in the 1,500-metre steeplechase. That same year, as a Grade 10 student at Kelly Road secondary, she was the top-placing northern runner at the B.C. High School cross-country championships. In a field of 297 athletes, she finished 13th overall. The previous year, Balazs was ninth at the cross-country running provincials.
Balazs’s other passion is soccer, a sport she plays at the all-star level.
Erika Morris pulled double duty for Team B.C. last summer.
Morris, a local volleyball star, suited up for the Under-17 and Under-18 provincial teams. With the Under-17 club, she competed in the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops and brought a gold medal home from the competition. Morris, who can fill middle blocker or power hitter positions, also played for the Under-16 edition of Team B.C. in the summer of 2010.
Morris is currently finishing her Grade 12 year at Prince George secondary school and already knows where she’ll be playing next season. Several teams were seeking her services, but she decided to sign with the Camosun College Chargers of Victoria.
Jeff Strong was a first-timer at nationals and figured he’d be in for a learning experience. He was right.
He learned he could compete with – and beat – the best five-pin bowlers in the country.
Strong, from Prince George’s Black Diamond Lanes, qualified for the Youth Bowling Canada national championships in 2011 and was on target for a silver medal in the junior boys division. He won silver by beating Manitoba’s Derek Sabourin 318-270 in a one-game playoff.
At nationals, Strong rolled to an overall record of 17-7. He advanced to the Canadian finals by winning the provincials earlier in 2011. In the B.C. tournament, he beat runner-up Josh Burgmann of Nanaimo by 134 pins.
Strong is in his sixth year of YBC competition.
Put a motocross bike beneath Jesse Pettis and he’ll soon have the competition playing catch-up.
At the 2011 CMRC Eastern National Championships, Pettis powered his way to a first-place finish in the super-mini class and took second spot in the 85cc division. At eastern nationals, held in August in Walton, Ont., he was picked as the year’s most improved rider and was handed $1,000 for that accomplishment.
Prior to the eastern national event, Pettis topped the podium in the super-mini and 85cc classes at western nationals in Raymond, Alta, and was 15th out of 73 super-mini riders at a U.S. grand-national race in Texas. That finish was the best by a Canadian.
Pettis is in his ninth season of motocross.