Nearing the completion of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, Manitoba recurve archery looks to have a bright future. Athletes Kadin Giebelhaus and Cleo Wermann-Thorn didn’t manage to hit the podium, but showed impressive poise competing at their first major multi-sport Games.
(pictured L-R: Bryanne Lameg, Kadin Giebelhaus, Austin Taylor, Cleo Wermann-Thorn)
Both athletes, were on the outside looking in last year, at the beginning of the the team selection process. At the time, both were recent medalists at the 2018 Manitoba Winter Games and eager to progress to a nationally competitive level. Wermann-Thorn, a provincially competitive rhythmic gymnast made the decision to focus the majority of her energy toward her archery training. Giebelhaus, intrigued by the Canada Games, had planned to travel with his family to spectate regardless of his selection. Despite being ranked outside team section list in the fall, both spent the months of September through November pushing themselves as hard as they could, ultimately climbing to the top and being named to the Canada Games team.
Fast-forward three months, hours of training and multiple provincial events, Giebelhaus and Wermann-Thorn are competing at the largest multi-sport games in Canada. Following four days of qualifying and elimination matches, both have experienced challenges and set new highs that will drive them forward.
Giebelhaus shot a personal best score on day two of qualifying, which lent to his qualifying in 4th place in a deep pool of experienced male shooters. Following a quarterfinal match play elimination and a final ranking of 6th overall, Giebelhaus talked about his journey to games.
“It was hard to make the team. It took a lot of work training in the months leading up to the games. Definitely no regrets, I think we used the time we had to prepare for the event.”
Wermann-Thorn started her week with some challenges during qualification which ranked her 7th heading to eliminations. She took the opportunity in the preliminary elimination round to top the shooter from Yukon before matching up against the top seed from Quebec in the quarterfinal. Though there was significant disparity in the level of experience between the opponents, Wermann-Thorn managed to tie the match at two set points before ultimately falling to the eventual gold medalist. Wermann-Thorn said she felt good about turning her performance around in the second part of the event.
“I tried to focus on my shooting and preparation, while ignoring the rest. It was difficult, but I managed to gain confidence as the week went on.”
The highlight of the week was the pairs' mixed team event shot on the final day of competition. The 6th ranked Team Manitoba faced off against a 3rd ranked Team Saskatchewan, boasting the top male recurve shooter. Team Manitoba held them to a tie going into a one arrow shoot-off to determine which team would advance to the semi-finals. After shooting near perfect, Team Manitoba was defeated by a skilled Saskatchewan duo.
Team Manager and Manitoba Recurve Coach, Avril Hatherell was very pleased with the performance. Hatherell a former two-time Canada Games athlete shared how being a part of the games as a coach felt this time around.
“Stressful, but equally exciting in the coaching role at games. That said, there were a lot of positives to take away, including a quarterfinal match final shoot off loss against the eventual gold medal team in the recurve mixed team event.”
For more on Manitoba's archery programs and community, visit http://abam.ca/