Off to Indigenous Games

Basketball: Jared Sharp is ready to join the U16 Team BC in Regina.

Basketball: Jared Sharp is ready to join the U16 Team BC in Regina.

Basketball: Jared Sharp is ready to join the U16 Team BC in Regina.

By Martha Wickett and Chelsea Grainger

Jared Sharp is taking his passion for basketball to the next level.

Sharp has been chosen to play for the B.C. U16 boys team in the North American Indigenous Games coming up July 20 to 27 in Regina.

Sharp has been taking basketball seriously since Grade 8, playing on school teams since then.

“I love it, it’s my favourite sport,” he says. “It’s so fast-paced compared to all the other sports, always moving back and forth all game.”

It’s a passion he shares with about nine other boys his age, explains his mom Shannon.

“They play every day. It’s first thing in the morning in the gym, an hour and a half before school starts.”

All of the practice paid off, for Jared was noticed when he attended regional tryouts in Kamloops in November for the Games. Six of about 20 boys were chosen to go to the Langley Event Centre in December where they competed with about 30 players for a spot on the provincial team.

Jared enjoyed the experience.

“I think it was pretty good. The guys that were there were really good, really tough competition. I recognized some of them from playing in the school leagues – some of the guys from Kelowna.”

The team will play three games to determine who moves on to the semifinals, first against Florida, then Colorado and finally Alberta.

This Thursday, July 17, the team will meet at the Richmond Olympic Oval to get in some training before they fly to Saskatchewan on Saturday.

Asked about strengths, Jared says humbly that it’s probably his shooting, or maybe his defence.

His mom explains that he’s shy and she has a little more to say.

“I was going to say the ability to work as a team. He calls the plays, I think he shows some good leadership.”

Adds Jared: “It’s kind of hard to say that about myself.”

Team BC coaches have said they think the team is a contender for the gold medal.

As for future aspirations, Jared isn’t thinking too far ahead just yet.

“I want to play high school senior for sure and, if I could play college – I don’t know if I’ll get selected or not.”





Another Salmon Arm athlete, Paige Coutlee, will be joining Sharp at the Games, but her sport of choice is swimming.

Coutlee, 15, has been in the water since she was in Grade 4, spending time with the Shuswap Swimming Club and, more recently, swimming with a club in Kamloops.

A year after she started swimming, Coutlee decided to start swimming competitively as she found that it was something she excelled at, thanks to her coaches Mike and Jenny Effray.

Since then, she has competed in AA, AAA and Canadian Western National levels of competition, but this is the first time she’s been in the Games.

By having top racing times, Coutlee qualified as first or second pick in her age category.

She’s excited, yet a little nervous, to compete at the Games.

“I think it will be a neat experience,” she says.

Coutlee’s competitive spirit is a bonus in her swimming career.

“I like the competition,” she says, “especially when you’re in the middle lane where you can see the splashes just behind you, knowing you’re just out of their reach.”