Seconds after a winning kill shot by Coltyn Liu, Vernon’s Landon Currie pulled his jersey to his face and knelt to the gym floor at the Investor’s Group Athletic Centre in Winnipeg Saturday afternoon.
The 17-year-old libero was trying to process Team BC’s dramatic 17-15 win over Team Quebec for the bronze medal in men’s volleyball at the Canada Summer Games. BC took the match 3-2 after losing by a similar count to Quebec in preliminary action.
“I got pretty emotional,” Currie told The Morning Star. “We celebrated like it was a gold medal.”
Team BC took the first set 25-17 and then won 25-23 in a see-saw second set before Quebec claimed the third set 25-21 after the teams were deadlocked 20-20.
In another close set, the fourth was tied at 12-12, 18-18 and 24-24 with Quebec prevailing 26-24, forcing a fifth tie-breaking set.
The fifth set was tied 11-11 with some mammoth momentum swings. Quebec was up 14-12, but BC tied it at 14-14 with Michael Dowhaniuk serving until a miss made it 15-15. Brodie Hofer served the final two points with Liu hammering a left side spike for the winner after a long rally.
“I am speechless right now. I’ve dreamed of this moment forever and now we’re bringing home the bronze,” Currie told Canada Games Media.” Said Morgan Nichols of Oyama: “It feels awesome. Words don’t describe it, especially going five sets. We fought for every point at the end. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Currie, a Fulton grad who will play university volleyball for Thompson Rivers WolfPack in Kamloops this season, said head coach Brad Hudson gave big props to the team of all-stars.
“He wrapped it up by saying we really deserved it, that we worked hard all season to reach that point.”
There wasn’t time for any steak and lobster barbecue to mark the medal.
“We laid low and watched the final (won 3-2 by Ontario over Alberta) and then went to the closing ceremonies which was a cool experience,” Currie told The Morning Star.
Currie, who has represented Team BC for three straight years all over North America, will catch his breath before teaching at a four-day WolfPack camp for high schoolers in Prince George starting Aug. 27.
“I’m going to catch up with friends, work a little and go to the cabin. My sister Danica’s wedding is Sept. 2.”
Team BC registered a record 146 medals, second behind Team Ontario (212 medals) and ahead of Team Quebec (138 medals).
A total of 354 athletes, 52 coaches, 27 managers and technical support staff, and 22 mission staff represented BC at the Games which concluded with a memorable closing ceremony at Investors Group Field. Titled “Grand Summer Party,” the ceremony celebrated both the Canada Games 50th anniversary and Canada 150 while highlighting the natural beauty of the host province and the vibrant culture of Winnipeg.
Leading Team BC into the closing ceremony was 16-year-old Raben Dommann. The North Vancouver swimmer powered his way to eight medals, including five golds in the Pan Am Pool, part of the BC swim team’s 52-medal haul. Tyler Wall of Penticton pocketed nine swim medals – four gold, two silver, three bronze.
Many high-level athletes have launched their athletic careers through the BC Games and Team BC. Ryan Cochrane of Victoria was the honourary captain for Team BC and is an alumnus of the 2005 Canada Summer Games.
Said Rob Needham, Chef de Mission for BC: “Our Team BC athletes not only impressed on the field of play with a record setting medal count, they were also true ambassadors and representatives of British Columbia. Winnipeg promised us the hottest summer in half a century and delivered a Games that sizzled. From exceptional venues to first-rate entertainment, our entire team thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”