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Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows athletes win provincial Indigenous awards

Kynan Haintz, Alex Paterson, and Lauren Curtis were recognized

A group of local Indigenous youth athletes are being recognized on the provincial level as recipients of the 2022 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.

The regional awards were handed out to 33 students in B.C. back in July, with the provincial award winners being announced earlier this month.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows athletes given Indigenous sports awards

Out of the 33 Indigenous athletes under the age of 25 that were nominated, only 10 winners were determined for the 2022 Premier’s Awards.

The first of the local winners was Kynan Haintz, who resides in Pitt Meadows and is a member of Hwlitsum First Nation.

Haintz has been making headlines recently with his wrestling abilities, which have earned him a second-place title at the 2023 BCSS Wrestling Provincials and gold at the 2022 national championship.

“I’d like to thank my coaches and my family for all of the time and support that they’ve gave me to help me excel in my sport,” said Haintz.

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Pitt Meadows Secondary student Alex Paterson was also given one of the provincial awards for her impressive achievements in lacrosse.

Paterson won gold in U19 female box lacrosse at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games, and helped her team get bronze at the 2023 box lacrosse nationals.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows athletes win medals at box lacrosse nationals

READ MORE: Indigenous Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows athletes bring home NAIG medals

“It means so much to me that Indigenous athletes are getting the recognition they deserve for their incredible abilities,” said Paterson. “I’d like to thank my coaches, family, and friends who have helped me along this journey. I would never have been able to do this all on my own.”

Paterson will now be playing in the NCAA as a member of the Eastern Michigan University field lacrosse program.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows lacrosse star to play in NCAA

The final of the local winners was Maple Ridge Secondary student Lauren Curtis, who has a long track record of bringing home medals from various regional, provincial, and event national hammer throw events.

Most recently, Curtis earned back-to-back gold medals at the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to my family, coaches, and everyone and anyone that’s helped support me along this journey and helped guide me along the way,” said Curtis. “I’m very grateful and honoured to be receiving this award and being recognized as a provincial recipient.”

READ MORE: Maple Ridge track and field star repeats as national champion

Premier David Eby said that these awards are a celebration of the athletes’ achievements both on and off the field.

“You worked hard, trained hard, you earned this honour,” said Eby. “You have already accomplished so much as leaders in your sport and in your community and this is just the beginning.”

As winners of the provincial awards, each of these athletes will receive a $500 bursary, a framed limited edition Premier’s Award print, and will get their picture and biography displayed at the BC Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver.

Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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