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Peter Peraino, coach of the male group, mentioned he knew his group would do properly when everybody met in Grande Prairie for a apply weekend simply earlier than the video games. He expects each the female and male groups could have loads of hopeful athletes check out for the 2024 Arctic Winter Video games in Mat-Su Valley, Alaska.
“I knew we had one thing good. They performed superb collectively at apply so I knew so long as the nerves didn’t get to them, they’d play nice,” mentioned Peraino, who can be the athletic director at Ecole McTavish Excessive College and founding father of Fort McMurray Thunder Volleyball Membership.
“Because the week went on, they simply received higher and higher. There have been no actual issues with them gelling as a group. Even heading into the playoffs, mentally they had been prepared.”
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The Fort McMurray athletes on the male group included Aneesh Jhanwar and Tino Kwatara. On the feminine group was Natasa Maric. This was the primary time any of them had competed within the Arctic Winter Video games. The male group was principally from the Grande Prairie space, though there have been two athletes from Wandering River. A lot of the feminine group additionally got here from the Grande Prairie space.
Maric mentioned in an interview she was pleased with her efficiency. Her group additionally bonded rapidly in time for the video games, which she mentioned was important to their success.
“Once I first began coaching with my group, they had been all actually gifted folks. I knew we’d be ranked excessive, however I wasn’t positive we’d win that simply,” she mentioned. “It was an amazing expertise. It made me actually pleased with what I’ve completed.”
Each Peraino and Maric additionally loved the cultural elements of the video games and assembly new folks from throughout the circumpolar north.
Peraino had enjoyable buying and selling pins and kit all through the week-long occasion. Maric was curious studying in regards to the totally different cultures of the opposite athletes.
“It was really very nice. The tradition half was actually nice. I received to study a variety of stuff from individuals who got here from totally different nations. It was nice to work together with them,” she mentioned. “There have been occasions for cultural actions and socializing, and it was actually nice enjoyable.”