Athletes head to AWG trials

Students from Inuvik make their bid to go to Greenland

Sarah Ladik | INUVIK
December 17, 2015
Jarvis Mitchell, right, tries to avoid a challenge by Obed Duru of Yellowknife during futsal trials in Yellowknife on Dec. 10. - Walter Strong/NNSL photo

Jarvis Mitchell, right, tries to avoid a challenge by Obed Duru of Yellowknife during futsal trials in Yellowknife on Dec. 10. – Walter Strong/NNSL photo

Inuvik and the Beaufort Delta sent 72 athletes, chaperones, and coaches to three towns in the south of the territory last weekend in the hopes of sending them much further for a higher level of competition.

Athletes in volleyball, futsal (indoor soccer), bantam and female hockey, ski biathlon and cross country skiing tested their skills against the best in the territory for a chance to head to Nuuk, Greenland in March for the Arctic Winter Games. Trials were held in Yellowknife, Hay River, and Fort Smith.

“This is the kickoff,” said coach Colin Pybus Dec. 9. “It’s trials for the ultimate team that will be travelling to Greenland to compete against teams from all over the Arctic.”

He said the feeling among the students is different for this kind of competition. While many of them are well used to travelling for sports tournaments, the stakes are higher this time around.

“It’s a nervous energy,” Pybus said. “It’s not a school team, it’s an opportunity to try out for a territorial team and to ultimately represent the NWT internationally.”

Jarvis Mitchell, 14, was trying out for futsal in Yellowknife and said the experience was intense.

“It’s a bit higher level than I’m usually playing,” he told the Drum. “I’m usually playing with adults, but everyone here is really good.”

While there, Mitchell said he could already make some guesses as to who would make the team.

“I’m just trying to work hard to make sure I make it,” he said laughing. “It’s really fun to try out, but you gotta practise really hard to make it.”

Last weekend was only the first of two trial sessions. The next is to be held Jan. 14-16 when athletes participating in wrestling, table tennis, Dene Games, Arctic sports and snowshoeing will be tested. Arctic sports and snowshoeing trials will be hosted by Inuvik.

While many students will be staying in Inuvik, Pybus said the challenge for those travelling is always to get enough chaperones. Every group needs both female and male chaperones, something the coach said isn’t always easy to find.

“The students are so excited, this is a great opportunity for them,” said Pybus.

“And some of them will be heading to Greenland for even more opportunities to excel.”