By Adam Eisenbarth
Three Ponoka athletes showcased their talents at the Alberta Summer Games in the Peace Region July 19 to 25.
Soccer player Austyn Nagribianko contributed to a bronze medal win for zone 4. The 14-year-old enjoyed the rare opportunity. “It was awesome, it was so much fun. After all the practices and we finally went there, I was so pumped for the games.”
It wasn’t an easy task for Nagribianko as he was thrust into new surroundings.
“At the beginning, the practices were very nerve-racking because I didn’t know anyone, but once we left for Peace River I started to get to know everyone and it felt great.”
Not only did he deal with new teammates, he also had a new position to adjust to.
“I played fullback in the Summer Games but I usually play midfield or forward.” he said, adding the event was a quality learning experience. “I didn’t really know the techniques for any of the positions until they started teaching me.”
Once he settled in with his new teammates and his new role, Nagribianko quickly excelled and enjoyed the high level of competition. It has given him motivation to continue improving at the sport.
“I’ve never played Tier 1 before so it was kind of new to me,” he said. “I think I might join a (higher tiered) team next year.”
The bronze medal game was a scoreless tie and went into penalty shots where zone 4 claimed the medal, 1-0.
“We all just ran up to our keeper (who scored the game winning penalty kick.) It was so intense.”
Nagribianko wasn’t the only Ponoka athlete to contribute to a bronze medal performance; Amy Lank participated with the zone 4 softball team.
Zone 4 got off to a quick start in the tournament, winning 6-5, 15-0 and 6-0 before taking their first loss, which came at a bad time — in the semifinal. They would go on to defeat zone 6, 3-0 to capture the bronze medal.
It was a special year for the 15-year-old, who also was part of a provincial championship win with her softball team just weeks ago.
Ponoka’s Taylor Hart competed in eight swimming events. The 12-year-old came up with his strongest performance in the 200 m, taking ninth place. He also placed 14th in the 400 m freestyle.