Apex freestylers off to junior nationals

Five members of the Apex Freestyle Club (AFC) are winging their way east this week to compete against the best junior skiers in the country. Those competing at the Caledon Ont. event that runs until Sunday include Grady Parsons - U18, Brandon Van Schalm - U16, Leo Longstreet - U16, Emelie McCaughey - U16 and Emma Scholefield - U18. In total there were seven spots garnered by local team members at the selection event last December. Rylan Koturbash - U16 and Jackson Kendall - U16 were the other qualifiers but were unable to attend. Three of the skiers headed to the nationals, Parsons, McCaughey and Scholefield, each turned in multiple-medal performances at the recent BC Freestyle competition in Fernie and are expected to do well in Ontario. “Grady should definitely be a contender out there,” said AFC head coach Rob Kober, who expects his young skier will be offered a spot on the provincial team next season. “He’s improved his speed and refined his composure at speed, especially in training. Grady really exceeded my expectations. He knows he’s in the game.” Kober, who served as head coach of Freestyle Canada’s men’s moguls team from 2002-2018 and was named the Jack Donohue Coach of the Year, took over the Apex club this season. For those competing at the junior nationals the experience off the slopes can be just as important as the 30 seconds between start gate and finish. “It’s always a fun event,” said the coach. “For some of them it will be their first exposure to kids from other provinces. At first they start out being adversaries and a little self-conscious but they usually end up being good friends, even teammates if they make it all the way up the ladder, that’s a neat part of the job to see that whole evolution.” Other Apex skiers turned in strong performances at the recent BC Freestyle Second Timber Tour and Super Youth competition in Fernie. The 10 club members, including the three national qualifiers, brought home a dozen medals. Charlie Longstreet dominated her events, scoring gold medals in U-14 female slopestyle and moguls. Also in that division, Lyla Ritchie had silvers in moguls and slopestyle. Lillian McCaughey had a gold in U12 female moguls and a bronze in slopestyle. Rounding out this month’s competitive schedule is the March 23-26 BC Winter Games in Vernon. Club members, Emelie McCaughey - U16, Jackson, Kendall - U14 and Brandon Van Schlam - U16 will be skiing in the event. Other Timber Tour Results (ages 12-20) Moguls Male U14 -1st - Jackson Kendall - Male U16 - 6th Leo Longstreet, 7th, Brandon Van Schalm, 8th Rylan Koturbash. Male U18 1st - Grady Parsons. Female U16 - 3rd Emelie MCCaughey. Female U18 - 2nd Emma Scholefield. SlopeStyle Timber Tour Male U14 - 11th Jackson Kendall. Male U16 - 16th Leo Longstreet. Female U16 3rd Emelie McCaughey. Female U18 - 1st Emma Scholefield. Big Air Timber Tour Male U16 - 27th Brandon Van Schalm Female U16 - 4th Emelie McCaughey U18 - 1st - Emma Scholefield Super Youth (ages 6-13) Moguls U12 Female -1st Lillian McCaughey, 2nd - Lyla Ritchie U14 - 1st - Charlie Longstreet Slopestyle U12 Female - 2nd - Lyla Ritchie, 3rd - Lillian McCaugbey. U14 - Female - 1st - Charlie Longstreet.

Mark Brett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Penticton Herald