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Two Burns Lake athletes to compete at the North American Indigenous Games in Halifax

Marissa Crouse and Hadley William Burns Lake youth off to Halifax

Two athletes from Burns Lake, are gearing up to represent Team BC under the guidance of local, Nicole Gerow, at the upcoming North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Gerow, a passionate advocate for shooting sports and mentor to aspiring athletes, will guide Marissa Crouse and Hadley William as they represent Team BC at this prestigious multi-sport event. As a 3P and Air Rifle athlete herself in high school, competing at the Club-, Provincial- and National levels, she has been active in the shooting programs and events at the Tweedsmuir Park Rod and Gun Club for many years.

“It was in 2016 when I was first asked about the 2017 games as there was a lack of certified indigenous rifle coaches at the time. I was then invited back when the games were to take place in 2020, however, they were delayed due to covid,” said Gerow.

Scheduled to take place from July 15 to July 23, 2023, in Halifax, the NAIG has federal funding and support, aligning with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recommendation #88. The competition is open to the Indigenous people of Canada and the U.S.A.

Marissa Crouse, a recent graduate from Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) and a member of the Lake Babine Nation, who is representing Team BC in the NAIG, will be competing in the 19 U Rifle Shooting events. Her competitions will include the demanding 3-position match, requiring precise shots from Prone, Kneeling, and Standing positions, as well as an all-Prone Match at 50m using a .22lr with peep sights.

“Marissa has really settled into her positions well and has shown improvement over the recent months and I am confident she will do well at the games,” said Gerow.

Beyond the NAIG, Marissa intends to continue her involvement in the sport through postal matches and mentoring the youth in the cadet program while pursuing her university studies.

Hadley William, the other Burns Lake athlete, is a current high school student at LDSS and a member of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, will showcase her skills in 3D Archery in the U16 female division. William will aim at 3D animal targets at various distances ranging from 10-40m.

Introduced to archery through her school’s program, William quickly developed a passion for the sport. Since her selection for Team BC, she has participated in training camps and excelled at the Provincial Competition, winning a medal in her division.

“I have watched her grow as an athlete over the last few months graduating from a NASP Genesis bow to a Bear Compound Bow which her coach and family have been working to help her get set up with the sights and turning up the poundage consistently. She is very passionate about archery and her face lights up when she talks about it and is very eager to learn more about it,” said Gerow.

“NAIG was started in 1990, to promote healthy lifestyles, build self-image and promote role models through sports and culture for youth between the ages of 13 to 19,” Gerow explained, expressing her enthusiasm for the competition.

During the 2017 games hosted in Toronto, Ontario, Gerow had taken a full roaster of eight youths to compete with the help of Rick Joe, the assistant coach and manager. This year she will be attending as the assistant coach and manager with Curt Smecher as the Head Coach.

Along with Crouse, Gerow will be taking four other youths for rifle shooting; KC Hale from Tofino, Torin Savage from Chilliwack, Zac William and Kiya William from Lower Nicola.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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