Two local teenagers put Jasper on the map last weekend, walking away with victories during the Alberta Summer Games held in Leduc, July 14-17.
Nik Kellis practices throwing a javelin at Centential Field. He recently won first place in the U-17 category at the Alberta Summer Games. Submitted photo
Sixteen-year-old Nik Kellis secured the gold medal title in the U-17 male javelin category with a final throw of 46.5 metres—a whole two metres farther than Edmonton’s Kimo Perry who came in second.
“This was like nothing I’d ever done before—there were so many people. I wasn’t expecting it to be that big so after seeing the huge crowd of people I started freaking out a bit,” Kellis said. “I was really nervous but my goal was to get first because I always try to push myself so I can be the best that I can be.”
The second Jasperite to partake in the games was 15-year-old Magnus Stenlund who participated in the U-17 mountain bike category. Over the course of the games, the avid cyclist competed in three races. The first was a cross-country race that Stenlund completed in 54 minutes, earning him a 4th place finish. The second event—an elimination race—Stenlund finished seventh out of 14 bikers.
Not to be out done, on the final day Stenlund signed up for an unofficial relay in which his group of four dominated the competition, coming in first place.
“I’m really happy with how I did. I was pretty surprised that I got fourth place in the cross-country race,” Stenlund said. “I went to the games just wanting to do my best and have some fun and I did.”
Both athletes said the overall experience was something they wouldn’t soon forget and said they learned a lot.
“I learned that I have a lot of catching up to do compared to those three guys,” said Stenlund about the other cyclists on his unofficial relay team. “But I’ve also learned that I need to relax and not be so nervous because it’s nothing I haven’t done before.”
For Kellis, he said he made a lot of friends at the games and that the whole experience has inspired him to train even harder for future events like the Tri-province Western Canadian championships, which he will be participating in at the end of the month.
Looking even further down the road, both young men said they will continue to pursue their respective sports.
“I love biking so I’m going to keep racing and having fun and see how it goes,” Stenlund said.
Kellis said he hopes to qualify for next year’s Canada Summer Games and eventually make it to the Olympics.
“Javelin has always interested me, but it was only this year that I really started taking it seriously,” Kellis said. “Next year I’m going to take it even more serious and train a lot.”
Ranging in age from 11-17, more than 3,000 athletes took part in this year’s games, competing in 14 different sports. Kellis and Stenlund were the only teenagers to represent Jasper at this year’s event.
Source: Kayla Byrne fitzhugh.ca
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