Ponoka had its fair share of representation for Zone 4 at the Alberta Summer Games in Leduc from Thursday, July 14 to 17 as well as in the honour roll of medal winners.
One of two medalists from Ponoka was Kris Malterer with a silver in beach volleyball. Kris and his partner, Cale Kooyman of Lacombe, made it to the gold medal game against Zone 8, Peace Country. Getting there meant playing strongly in the eight-team round robin.
Malterer knew they had a challenge against Zone 8 as that same team beat them in the round robin. The first loss was during a rainy match, which created trouble for Malterer and Kooyman’s spirits. The final game, while still a loss, was a better performance.
“It was a lot better game. It was pretty close,” said Malterer.
He praised coach Gallen Donaghy for helping them get through to the finals. His goal is to continue with beach volleyball.
In lacrosse action, Joel Hollingsworth was picked for the Zone 4 lacrosse team and helped them earn the bronze medal against Zone 1 (southern Alberta).
The team came into the bronze medal game with a round-robin record of 2-1. The only team Zone 2 lost against was Zone 5, with many of their players coming from Leduc. “We didn’t have a lot of shots in that game,” said Hollingsworth.
However, an 11-9 win against Zone 6, Edmonton, boosted the players’ confidence and landed them in the bronze medal game.
“We started to move the ball around and get shots on net and they (Edmonton) started to fall apart,” explained Hollingsworth.
Getting the win against Zone 1 was important to the team, says Hollingsworth, as many of those athletes play for Lethbridge, who defeated players from Lacoka Lacrosse at provincials recently.
Jared Bussiere was Ponoka’s first football player to represent Zone 4 at the games.
With defensive back coach Todd Lewis and defensive co-ordinator Cody Baird coaching, the team represented Zone 4 strongly with their first game a solid win against Zone 6.
Bussiere is a wide receiver, who is coming into his third year of football, and he was proud of the team’s performance against Edmonton after winning 17-0. He credits the coaching staff. “There’s a lot of really good coaching there.”
Each football team was guaranteed three games and a win each time also meant the team would move forward. It was in the second game that Zone 4 had some trouble. They played against Zone 5, Black Gold, who were also the favourite to win overall.
“We did really well in the first quarter,” said Bussiere.
After the first quarter however, Zone 5 managed to change its defense and win the game. The last game against Zone 1, Sunny South, was a battle for the bronze but Zone 4 couldn’t keep up. “We just started getting behind and more behind later in the game.”
Despite the fourth place final spot, Bussiere feels the team performed well. He intends to continue with his love of the sport and will be playing with the senior Broncs next season.
Coach Lewis says it was the first game that will be the most memorable for the rural community players defeating Edmonton.
“We came firing on all cylinders,” Lewis said of the game.
He praised all the players on the team but added his excitement to see how Bussiere will do on the senior Broncs team in the upcoming season.