A rising track star, a university golfer and a local soccer squad are the Star’s athletes of the year.
Our community is stacked with talented athletes, and in 2018 none performed at a higher level than Matti Erickson, Kelly Hellman and the Nelson Selects under-18 girls soccer team.
Erickson was invincible in running shoes this year.
In June, the L.V. Rogers athlete won gold at the high school track and field provincials in the boys’ 1,500-metre race in a performance that smashed his own provincial record by 11 seconds. One month later he was at it again, scoring gold medals in the 800 and 1,200 races at the BC Summer Games.
He followed that with a win at the Nike Portland cross-country race in September, and eked out his second straight gold in the junior boys race at November’s high school cross-country provincials.
Meanwhile at the University of British Columbia, Hellman has become a star on the Thunderbirds golf team.
In March, Hellman capped her first year of university by finishing atop the leaderboard at the Battle of the Primm in Las Vegas. Her performance meant the Thunderbirds also won the team title at the event.
Hellman was at it again in September, when she finished first by three strokes at the Northwest Christian Invitational in Oregon with UBC. Not bad for someone who has only been golfing for six years.
Finally, Nelson soccer had a golden moment in July.
Chantal Gammie scored a hat trick as the Nelson Selects U18 team won the Girls B Cup championship with a 3-0 victory over the Kamloops Blaze.
The team was made up of a group of players including veterans Julia Burkart, Hanna Quinn, Grace Dehnel, Ashley Hall, Shianne Michalchuk, Sofia Arcuri, Mattea Lorenzo and Bella Guderyan who have a history of success at provincial and high school tournaments. Two years ago many of the same players won the U16 gold.
This gold was a perfect swan song to one of the winningest rosters in Nelson soccer history.