Seventy-four students from seven Whitehorse elementary schools bound on Porter Creek Secondary School on Wednesday to participate in the sixth Yukon Arctic Sports Inter-School Championship.
The young athletes on Wednesday were from kindergarten to Grade 4 and had the chance to compete in sports they don’t see too often throughout the year.
Leading up to the events, the Yukon Aboriginal Sports Circle had instructors going into school during the day to phys-ed classes to teach the Arctic Sports for the competitions.
Sport co-ordinator for the society Sarah Walz has been making trips to schools in the city as well as to the communities to teach the sports.
Rose Inglangasuk, program and communication manager for the sports circle, said Walz has been busy since she started with the group to visit as many schools as possible and introduce them.
“Sarah has been going super busy since she started here in October,” said Inglangasuk, noting Walz made recent trips to Teslin and Old Crow.
Wednesday was the first of three days for the inter-school competition divided into age groups with Grades 5-7 competing today in six events and Grades 8-9 and 10-12 wrapping up the championships on Friday competing in seven sports.
The young, energetic athletes on Wednesday participated in all five events consisting of kneel jump, arm pull, triple jump, two-foot high kick and seal crawl events.
“It’s good for the athletes, the schools to participate in traditional games,” Inglangasuk said. “It’s our way of making them aware of it and practicing it more.
The inter-school competition will get them interested and we go into the
schools to get them interested for the competition.”
The circle hopes to spread knowledge and excitement about the events, she said, in hopes to get more athletes involved and working towards larger events like the upcoming Arctic Winter Games.
Athletes competing in the senior divisions Friday are of eligible age for the junior male and female Games teams and Inglangasuk said the trials will be held Jan. 6 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Elijah Smith Elementary School.
The inter-school championships are acting as an ID camp, she said, for those athletes in the older divisions who performed well in the competitions that will be at the Games.
There are a total of 11 Arctic Sports in the Games and the school championships contain a handful of them.
The open male and female tryouts, for all ages, will be Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to Noon.
At the end of a long day of competition, medals were awarded to the top three athletes for each division by sport as well as the top five athletes per division overall with several students walking away with a fair share of hardware around their neck.
Trophies were also presented to the top three schools for their overall performances by age group.
Yukon Montessori School took home first place overall in the kindergarten to Grade 2 division and École Émilie-Tremblay won top spot in the Grade 3-4 division with a multitude of medals from their athletes.
After a long day of cheering and competition, Inglangasuk said the response from the schools was great because the students were super excited for a chance to compete in these sports they don’t get to do as much.
“A lot of the kids have been super excited about this competition, they don’t get to do it as much as …volleyball or basketball,” she said. “Usually they come in once or twice and the teachers will try to get them to participate after