Six junior Kootenay golfers travelled to Prince George to participate in the 2022 BC Summer Games.
Champion Lakes Golf Pro, Kevin Nesbitt, led the Kootenay Zone 1 team comprised of three U-16 boys and girls respectively, including Creston’s Ashlyn Rejman, Rossland golfer Adrian Roberts, brothers Mitchell and Austin Krahn from Christina Lake, and Jordis Smith and Lexus Coates from Nakusp.
Little did they know they’d be bringing home a first-time ever gold medal for Group Net as well as an individual gold for Boys’ Low Gross for Austin Krahn.
The Games opened on July 20 with an energizing opening ceremony, where the torch was lit in front of an audience of nearly 4,000 young athletes.
The golf teams played a practice round and then went head-to-head in two full days of competition in which eight zones from all areas of the province competed.
The team’s chaperone, photographer, mom, and manager Melanie Lankhaar-Rejman dubbed the golf team the “Kootenay Kids”.
“This team proved that they could work together and their efforts showed in their accomplishments both on and off the course,” said Lankhaar-Rejman.
“Although the BC Summer Games only lasted a few days, the memories and experiences will live on for these young golfers for years to come.”
Not long after the team met did the camaraderie and laughter begin and soon Zone 1 was referred to as “the fun crew” on the golf course.
Each player supported and encouraged one another and “pure” friendships emerged. Mitchell brought an infectious smile and impeccable knowledge of the game, Austin was the calm and focused one paying attention to every detail analyzing the slopes of each green, Adrian brought the “one liners” and constant chatter among the group, Jordis stayed positive and brought humor to lighten the mood, Lexus made everyone on the team feel included and always had a fun comment to share, and Ashlyn was the quiet, focused one who “took it all in” and then smiled afterwards.
On the final day of competition, Austin Krahn finished first overall winning a gold medal and what better way to celebrate his 16th birthday than to capture two gold medals!
Ashlyn Rejman, age 13, was the youngest golfer on the team and the only junior girl to qualify from Creston in May against 11 other Kootenay athletes. She earned herself a team gold medal at BC Summer Games.
Rejman has been enjoying golf since she was three years old, alongside her parents. In elementary school, she took lessons from golf pros Brian O’Keefe and Don Price, a long-time Creston resident.
She said competing at the BC Summer Games is an experience she will never forget. It was an honor to represent Creston as a young female athlete and ambassador for her community.
A huge shout out to Kevin Nesbitt (Coach), Fiona Martin (West Kootenay Junior Golf Coordinator), Don Price (Retired Golf Pro and Coach in Creston), the parents and supporters that provided the opportunity for these young athletes to compete in such a prestigious event, and the BC Summer Games Golf organization (Elizabeth Dunn and Ann Holmes) for making it such a memorable one.