Gore Bay athlete selected to train with Team Ontario

Mackenzie Turner of Ice Lake fires her rifle at a competition in Valcartier, Quebec.

GORE BAY—A young Gore Bay woman, Mackenzie Turner, has been selected to train with the Team Ontario biathlon team.

Her mother, Heather, told the Recorder last week, “at the end of September she was asked if she would like to train with the Team Ontario biathlon team. She will be competing in the biathlon series for Team Ontario in places such as Vermont, Quebec, Thunder Bay and Lake Placid.”

On November 20, Ms. Turner will be travelling to Canmore, Alberta to train with Team Ontario. The site is also where the Canadian Olympians will be training for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. She will also take part in two races, November 23-24 and November 30-31.

“By going to Canmore with the Ontario team I hope to gain the experience I need to rank well this year in races,” Mackenzie told The Recorder. “Just training where the Olympians are training for the 2014 Olympics is going to be an experience of a lifetime.”

“Yes, this is all pretty cool,” stated Ms. Turner. She had originally been concerned with her daughter’s schooling, “but I talked to Laurie Zahnow, principal at MSS (Manitoulin Secondary School) and her teachers, and they are really supportive of what she is doing. All the Team Ontario athletes are students, some in university, and each of them is going to be provided time to do homework in the evenings. They will be given proctors and her schoolwork and tests will be sent to her to do online. They (Team Ontario) want to keep the kids up-to-date with their studies, which is so important.”

Ms. Turner is in Grade 10 at MSS, “and we are very, very pleased with the support we have received from Ms. Zahnow and the teachers at MSS.”

“A lot of the training she does has been on her own,” said Ms. Turner. For example, Mackenzie roller skis during the summer on the 10th Concession road and once the snow is on the ground she skis on trails her father John grooms on the family farm.

“No doubt this is quite a step up for Mackenzie to take,” said Ms. Turner. “Some of her team members are older and in university and a couple of them are 17. The team doesn’t expect her to be on top in her races this year, but they want her to train and take part in competitions this year to get her exposed to this level of competition.”

“There will be Olympic athletes training in Canmore, so it will be an eye opener for Mackenzie,” said Ms. Turner.

Mackenzie could then move on to the Nationals and possibly the Team Canada biathlon team in the next couple of years.”

“These are all huge steps, but for now the big thing is the training she will be getting this year,” continued Ms. Turner. “She is very dedicated, she practices for many hours every day, before and after school, along with doing her homework. She wouldn’t be doing all this if she didn’t love the sport.”

“I know she is very excited about going out to Canmore with the Team Ontario team to train,” said Ms. Turner. “She is on cloud nine, she is going to be learning so much.”
There are around 20 members of the Team Ontario team, including athletes from areas such as Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and Ottawa.

“It is rewarding, for me personally, to see all my dedication and hard work paying off,” Mackenzie told The Recorder.

Tom Sasvari