Langley Saints’ Nathan Warren is taken down by Brookswood Bobcats’ Caleb Gerth (bottom) and Liam Briggs during senior boys rugby at Langley Secondary last week (April 27). The Saints hung on for the 19-12 victory. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

2017 — A look back at the Langley sports scene

Some of the top sports stories from the pages of the Langley Times this past year

2017 was another banner year on the Langley sports scene.

At the university level, the Trinity Western University men’s volleyball team won their sport’s ultimate prize in March.

The Spartans captured the U Sports national title, defeating the Alberta Golden Bears 3-1 in the gold-medal match with Adam Schriemer earning most valuable player honours.

And a pair of TWU women’s teams finished with bronze medals at the U Sports national championships.

The Spartans women’s volleyball squad took bronze at their championships in March while the TWU women’s soccer team would add a bronze medal at their nationals in November.

Provincially, several Langley high schools won BC School Sports blue banners.

It began in March with a pair of basketball titles.

First, the Credo Christian Kodiaks won the BC Single A senior girls title over the top seed Mulgrave Titans, 72-66. Caitlin Sikma earned most valuable player honours.

And the following week, it was the Walnut Grove Gators senior boys basketball team winning the BC 4A provincial banner with a thrilling 78-65 victory over the Kelowna Owls.

James Woods earned most valuable player honours in what turned out to be legendary coach George Bergen’s final high school game.

The Credo Christian Kodiaks captured their first-ever senior girls Single A provincial title, defeating a familiar foe, the Langley Christian Lightning in the gold-medal match with a 1-0 victory. The Kodiaks’ Rebekah Allison was MVP.

In June, another Walnut Grove squad won a provincial title as the junior girls won the banner as the province’s top track and field team. The championships were held at McLeod Athletic Park.

And in addition to the Gators’ junior girls success, Langley athletes also won 11 gold medals.

Cassidy Cardle (1500m race walk), David Midgley (100m, 200m), and Nicholas Monro (400m, long jump) won individual gold medals for the Gators.

Jordan Jacobs, Holly Harrison, Prabhasha Wickramaarachchi and Samantha Matthewman (4×100) and Midgley, Monro, Jakob Neufeld and Jack Hardy (4×400) won gold in the relay events for the Gators.

For Langley Christian, Brooke Mussche won gold in the 800m while Jordan Dickhof finished atop the podium in the javelin.

Ian Vandergugten won gold in the 100m hurdles for Credo Christian and Ethan Foster was first in the pole vault for Poppy while Zach Wyatt took top spot in the 2000m steeplechase event for Mountain

A few months later, in November, Wyatt would again win a provincial banner, this time capturing the B.C. cross-country title at Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park.

The Langley Fundamental Titans senior boys soccer squad won the school’s first-ever provincial soccer banner, downing St. Michael’s University 3-1 in the BC AA title game at the Burnaby Lakes Sports Complex. Eric Aujla was named MVP.

Up next came the high school volleyball season with two schools combining to win three titles.

It began with the Credo Christian Kodiaks, who won the BC Single A senior boys title. The Kodiaks lost their first game at the championships before reeling off seven consecutive victories. Damon Flokstra was named tournament MVP.

Langley Christian’s senior volleyball teams followed that up the next weekend with both senior teams winning their respective AA titles.

The Lightning senior boys were led by MVP Brodie Hofer in defeating Abbotsford Christian. And the Langley Christian senior girls capped off their season with a championship as well. Savannah Caterino-Leger earned MVP honours.

On the professional sports scene, four young Langley men all achieved the first step to their dreams by getting drafted.

The NHL entry draft in June saw Jarret Tyszka get selected by the Montreal Canadiens while the Ottawa Senators nabbed goaltender Jordan Hollett.

And in the National Lacrosse League draft in September, Ryan Martel was selected by the Calgary Roughnecks while the Saskatchewan Rush chose Johnny Pearson.

Langley’s Danton Heinen, who made his NHL debut in 2016 playing eight games for the Boston Bruins in 2016/17 before getting sent to the American Hockey League, seems to have found a permanent home in the Bruins’ top six in 2017. The 22-year-old also scored his first NHL goal back in October and he is tied for third in team scoring with nine goals and 24 points in 31 games.

And the Vancouver Stealth also had a big 2017 as for the first time since moving to Langley in 2014, the team made the NLL post-season with a 9-9 record.

Internationally, two members of the Langley Rivermen — Brendan Budy and Angus Crookshank — helped Canada West win gold at the 2017 world junior A Challenge. It was held earlier this month in Trury, N.S.

Langley also hosted a pair of international competitions, the first of which was in June as the 2017 IFAF women’s world football championships were contested at McLeod Athletic Park. The United States defeated Canada in the six-team championships, which also featured Finland, Great Britain, Mexico and Australia.

And in September, Volleyball Canada brought the 2017 world championship qualification final to the Langley Events Centre. Canada won the four-team event over Cuba. Nicaragua and St. Lucia also competed at the event.

Locally, the North Langley Kodiaks won the BC Community Football Association provincial title in early December, using a stifling defence to shut down the North Surrey Bears 13-7.

The Tardi rink — which plays out of the Langley and Royal City Curling Clubs — won a second consecutive junior boys curling title as the championships were hosted by the Langley Curling Club. With the win, they advance to nationals in January.

And finally, the junior B Langley Trappers, who play in the PJHL made their debut as an expansion hockey club.

 

The Credo Christian senior girls soccer team celebrates after their penalty kick victory over Langley Christian in the Fraser Valley championship final on May 17. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Canada’s Olivia DeMerchant runs over Great Britain’s Phoebe Schecter during the IFAF women’s world tackle football championships at McLeod Athletic Park on Tuesday (June 27). Canada won 35-0. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Langley Rams’ Cameron Cross (#35) and Sonu Kainth team up to tackle VI Raiders’ Rhett Williams during the BCFC season opener at McLeod Athletic Park on July 29. The Raiders won 20-13. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver Giants goaltender David Tendeck stretches out to make the save during a game earlier this season. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

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