Valley grads golden at Pan Ams

In just the first week of the Pan Am Games, two Cowichan Valley high school graduates have earned gold medals for Canada.

Shawnigan Lake School alumna Hannah Darling of Warsaw, Ontario helped Canada’s women’s rugby sevens team to gold in their tournament. Canada defeated the U.S. 55-7 in the championship game last Sunday after blazing through the preliminaries with wins over Colombia (55-0), Mexico (60-0) Brazil (36-0), Argentina (45-0) and the U.S. (34-12). Darling didn’t factor into the scoring for Canada, but did get called on to start against Argentina and in the preliminary game against the U.S. Brentwood College School product Martin Barakso, a Nanaimo native now rowing for Princeton University, helped Canada to gold in the men’s eight on Wednesday. Canada finished the final in 6:07.01, more than three seconds ahead of the second-place boat from Argentina and more than five seconds ahead of the third-place Americans. Barakso also rowed in the men’s pair, finishing fifth out of six crews in the final on Tuesday.

Duncan’s own Pat Kay, an alumnus of Cowichan Secondary School, was expected to play for Canada in the men’s rugby sevens tournament, but was replaced on the roster by veteran Phil Mack on the eve of the Games. As with the women’s sevens team, the men went on to win gold.