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RVC athletes prepare for Canada Winter Games

Eight athletes who call Rocky View County (RVC) home will be among the 250 competitors representing Alberta at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer Feb. 15 to March 2.
Excited to compete
Dalemead ringette player Marla Wheeler (second from right) will be competing for Team Alberta at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, held in Red Deer Feb. 15 to March 2. Wheeler is one of seven athletes from Rocky View County communities who will be competing.

Eight athletes who call Rocky View County (RVC) home will be among the 250 competitors representing Alberta at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer Feb. 15 to March 2. Marla Wheeler – an athlete from Dalemead, a hamlet south of Chestermere – will represent her community as a member of the Alberta ringette team. The 17-year-old Chestermere High School senior said she’s excited for the competition, as it will be the first time she’s competed at such a prestigious event. “It kind of hasn’t hit yet,” she said. “I don’t think it will sink in until we’re there, or even after, how big the event is and how big of a success it was to make the team.” Wheeler is no stranger to national ringette competition, though, having participated at the U16 Canadian Ringette Championships in 2016 as a member of the Calgary Apex. Now, she suits up as a member of the U19 Calgary Rush, in the Open A league of the Calgary Open Ringette Association. Two of Wheelers’ teammates from the Rush – Maddy Galeski and Jenna Wolsey – will join her on Team Alberta when the ringette competition kicks off Feb. 16. “For ringette players, this is like, our Olympics, pretty much,” said Wheeler. “So, being in the Athletes’ Village, talking to other people from different sports, learning about their competitions and going and watching other competitions – I think that’s what I’m most excited for.” Another RVC athlete will join Wheeler on Team Alberta – Alyssa Hall, who lives west of Balzac. The 19-year-old forward is a member of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns ringette team. "I am honored and very proud to be a part of Team Alberta and to represent our province in this national event," said Hall on a social media account for Team Alberta. "When I lace up my skates with my ringette family, there is no better feeling then to lay it all out for my team mates, friends and in this case, the Province of Alberta." Chestermere will be sending just one athlete to Red Deer – 17-year-old Bree Kennedy, who will play on the U18 women’s hockey team. Kennedy is in her final year of midget prep hockey at the Edge School in Springbank, and has tallied seven goals and 15 points for the Mountaineers this season in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Cochrane will be the best represented RVC community at the Games with four athletes set to take part, including Sophie Morrish, Adora Kruger, Julianna MacKenzie and Sarah Wozniewicz. Kruger will compete in artistic (synchronized) swimming. The 18-year-old, who also attended the Edge School, was part of the Calgary Aquabelles team that won four medals at the 2018 Canadian Championships, held in Windsor, Ont. April 24 to 28 last year. MacKenzie, 16, will be the lead for the Team Bakos women’s curling team. She is the only curler from Cochrane on the squad, which includes members from St. Albert, Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan. Fifteen-year-old Wozniewicz will play alongside her Edge teammate Kennedy on the Alberta hockey team, and will be the squad’s youngest player. The first-year midget Edge School student athlete has been enjoying a stellar season with the Mountaineers girls’ prep team in 2018-19, and leads the team in scoring with 16 goals and 22 points. Morrish will participate as a guide for a visually-impaired skier in the Para Alpine competition. On the boys’ side, Beiseker’s Craig Armstrong will be the village’s lone representative at the Games, when he contests for the gold medal with the U16 Alberta hockey team. Armstrong, a Grade-10 student athlete at the Edge School, is slated to play for the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League next year. He said he is honoured to have made the Alberta team and excited to take part in his first Canada Winter Games. “It’s a great feeling, knowing you’re one of the top players in Alberta,” he said. “It’s going to be a really fun experience. I’ll be surrounded by guys I think I’ll enjoy being around, and it should be great. “The fact that it’s in Alberta – that makes it pretty fun.”

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