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Athletes shine at summer Games
Inuvik residents compete in basketball and wrestling at Fort McMurray

James McCarthy
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 13, 2015

The first wave of the Western Canada Summer Games in Fort McMurray, Alta., is over and while Team NWT didn't win any medals, there were some close calls, including basketball action involving Inuvik athletes.

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Jackson Christie of Inuvik looks for an opening during boys basketball action at the Western Canada Summer Games in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Aug. 8. - photo courtesy of Rob Hart

The boys basketball team which featured Jackson Christie, Kaidan McDonald and Liam Larocque ended up in fifth place, coming home without medals but content knowing they competed well, including two winning results.

The boys began against Manitoba on Aug. 8 and fell by a score of 81-32. Their second game of the day was a tilt with Alberta and it ended in defeat again, 74-54. But head coach Aaron Wells said the game was close until the late going.

"We were only down six points at half time," he said.

The boys did manage to salvage something in the round-robin by beating Yukon, 64-57, the next day but it wasn't good enough to advance to the playoffs. Instead, they played for placings and took on Nunavut on Aug. 10 in the fifth-place game, which they won by a score of 61-20.

Meanwhile, the wrestling team featured Inuvik's Dalton McLeod in action on the mat and he, too, finished in fifth place in the boys division. McLeod then joined up with the rest of the boys team but they could do no better than a sixth-place finish after losing all five of their match-ups.

Steve Baryluk of Inuvik served as the team's head coach.

Still, Melanie Kornacki, Team NWT's chef de mission, said she was happy with the way everything turned out in phase one.

"The basketball team came close and that was a big positive," she said. "There were a lot of fans and plenty of support for them."

She also said the public address announcer tried to have some fun during the games by trying to come up with some fun facts about the NWT during their games.

Phase two of the Games got underway yesterday and the only Inuvik athlete competing is Julianne Chipesia in swimming. Inuvik's Stacey Christie is also at the Games, where she's serving as the team manager for the boys indoor volleyball team.

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