Greater Trail athletes get set for Pan Am Games

Thea Culley and Ella Matteucci are part of the Team Canada contingent competing in the Pan Am Games in Toronto July 10-26.

Rossland native Thea Culley will compete at the Pan Am Games in Toronto with the women's field hockey team and will look to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Greater Trail athletes Thea Culley of Rossland and Fruitvale’s Ella Matteucci play two very different sports but their paths will cross when they meet at the opening ceremonies as part of Team Canada’s contingent competing at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto July 11-26.

Apart from their red hair and athletic prowess, Culley and Matteucci are very different when it comes to their respective sporting careers. The 29-year-old Culley is a veteran of 10 years on the national team and the senior member of the women’s Team Canada field hockey team with close to 140 caps (games played against international competition). She competed in two Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014, claimed a fourth-place finish at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and won bronze at the Pan Am Cup in Argentina in 2013.

Matteucci is a 21-year-old two-sport phenom and one of the youngest players on Team Canada women’s baseball team. Her first international competition came last year when she helped Canada to a fourth place finish at the IBAF World Championship in Japan and her second will be at the Pan Am Games where women’s baseball is making its historic debut. Matteucci recently graduated from Clarkson University where she helped the Knights hockey team to the NCAA championship in 2014 and won the 2011 AAA Midget Canadian championship Esso Cup with the Notre Dame Hounds in her graduating year from high school.

Matteucci’s star is on the rise while the veteran Culley is looking at what could be her last shot at qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The winner of the Pan Am competition will advance to the Games and is Canada’s final opportunity at qualifying. Regardless of the outcome, it has been a very exciting and rewarding career for the RSS graduate and this year was no exception.

The team travelled to New Zealand for a three-week tour in January,were in Ireland for three weeks in March, and then their most recent tour was five weeks, two spent in Toronto where Team Canada hosted Ireland in a four-game series in June and three weeks in Spain for the Olympic qualifying tournament.

The experience should serve Culley and Team Canada well going into the Pan Am Games, while, Matteucci and Canada’s baseball squad begin a warm up tournament in eastern Canada starting on Thursday.

Their respective roads to gold begin this week with the opening ceremonies on July 10, with Matteucci and the Canadian baseball women opening the Games on July 20 against Cuba and Culley and the field hockey team going against the Dominican Republic July 13.

This story will appear in the July 16th edition of the West Kootenay Advertiser

Just Posted

First responders attend rollover near China Creek

Six firefighters from Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue attended the scene

Remembering legendary ski builder Fred Bosinger

On Dec. 12 Western Canada lost a man who made a mark in its skiing community.

UPDATED: Body found in burnt-out car

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read