NWT tied for second after first full day of competition

Speed skaters and biathletes lead team to 21 medal total, but Yukon slightly ahead with more silver

Biathlon and speed skating athletes led Team NWT to third place in the medals after the first full day of competition on Monday.

Although tied with Yukon for second with 21 ulus – six gold, seven silver and eight bronze – Yukon's six-gold, nine-silver and six-bronze-medal day put them into second spot behind Alaska which finished first with 26 ulus.

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Carson Roche of Deline pounds the ball past two Team Nunavut blockers during the opening game of the round robin for the junior male volleyball team. Team NWT beat Nunavut in two straight sets on Monday.

Speed skaters tallied for four gold, two silver and three bronze medals while biathletes cumulatively won eight – four silver and four bronze.

Fort Smith's Veronica McDonald led the team on a great start competing in her favourite event, the kneel jump, to begin the week's competition. Prior to the games, she was aiming for gold in the event and a record of 50 inches. She achieved both by jumping an astonishing 52 and one-eighth inches

The NWT's three other medals were won in Dene games for snow snake.

Stacey Reindeer, 18, from Fort McPherson, who is participating in her first games at the junior level, said her goal for the week was to do her best. Fortunately for Team NWT, her best translated into a gold ulu throwing a combined 108 feet four inches after three attempts.

Tsiigehtchic's William Storr took bronze in the open male division for snow snake throwing a combined 246 feet nine inches.

Storr, 23, is competing in his second games. He said that when he was younger he tried out for various sports but was unable to make the teams.

“I was so close so many times and now I am too old and the only thing I can try for is Dene games,” he said.

Storr said he enjoys competing in Dene games, especially snow snake, which he says he is naturally good at, and hand games. At the 2010 games in Grande Prairie, Storr was a member of the open male handgames team that took gold.

Storr is also glad to be part of a traditional aspect of the games competing in events that have a long history among many Northern First Nations people.

“It shows all of our youth the cultural things. The snow snake is how we used to hunt and the finger pull and stuff shows who has the strength,” he said.

Storr was aiming to beat his personal record of 360 feet on Monday. If he had only matched that goal, he would still have demolished the gold-ulu throw of 258 feet.

In the team sports, NWT's junior basketball team won its opening game in a tight battle against Alaska 59-54 and the boys walked away with an 80-63 win over Nunavut.

In the curling rink, the NWT girls had tough time against Yukon, losing 12-3; the boys, although fairing slightly better, dropped their opener to Yukon 12-7.

The junior female hockey team is sitting with a tie and a loss. After a 2-2 stalemate with Yukon on Saturday the team was shutout 6-0 by Alberta on Monday.

The bantam boys are now even with a win and a loss, losing to Alberta North on Monday 4-3 after a decisive 7-4 victory over Yukon on Saturday. The midgets won their opener against Yukon 4-2.

It was, however, a bad day on the pitch for Team NWT.

The junior girls soccer team lost 5-0 to Yukon; the junior males dropped a close 2-1 decision to Yukon. The juvenile females lost 12-1 to Alberta North and 6-4 to Alaska; the juvenile males lost 13-2 to Greenland. The intermediate female team won its opener easily, dropping Nunavut 13-0.

The junior girls volleyball team won its opener in two straight sets over Nunavut but fell to the Yukon 2-1 after a close 15-12 third set.

The boys won their opener two straight over Nunavut and then added their second win of the tournament by sweeping Alaska.