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North Shore athletes hit the podium at Pan and Parapan American Games

North Vancouver's Natasha Wodak races to meet record in 10,000-m race
Natasha Wodak celebrates a gold medal and new meet record in the 10,000-m race at last month's Pan Am Games held in Lima, Peru. photo supplied David Jackson/Team Canada

One epic solo run and several strong team efforts earned 14 North Shore athletes medals at the Pan Am and Parapan American Games held recently in Lima, Peru.

North Vancouver resident Natasha Wodak set the pace, earning gold with a record-setting run in the women’s 10,000-metre race at the Pan Am Games. The 37-year-old, a three-time winner of the Vancouver Sun Run, finished in a time of 31 minutes and 55.17 seconds to win gold.

"This one is definitely the most special. I have never won a medal in a Games event so I just felt really good," said Wodak after the race. "My parents were here and I just went and saw them and it was just really special, you know, being 37 and having been doing this for so long, it's really good. Also, it's really good points going into the Olympics so I'm hoping my ranking will stay nice and high."

North Vancouver resident Tara Llanes also tasted gold in Peru, reaching the top of the podium in women’s wheelchair basketball at the Parapan American Games which wrapped up Sept. 1. Team Canada came through with a massive fourth quarter to edge Team USA 67-64 in the final wheelchair basketball final.

wheelchair basketball
North Vancouver's Tara Llanes makes a play for Team Canada against Brazil in the women's wheelchair basketball final at the Parapan American Games held recently in Lima, Peru. photo supplied Canadian Paralympic Committee

The rest of the medals came from a silver surge from several teams at the Pan Am Games.

North Shore athletes Steph Norlander, Hannah Haughn, Rachel Donohoe, Holly Stewart and Karli Johansen helped Canada’s women’s field hockey team claim silver, making the final before falling 5-1 against Argentina. The Canadians booked their spot in the final with a 2-0 win over the United States. The silver medal was Canada’s best finish at the Pan Am Games since 1991.

Canada also claimed silver in men’s field hockey with North Vancouver’s Taylor Curran suiting up for the squad. The men made the final with a 3-2 semifinal win over Chile before falling 5-2 against Argentina.

Two North Shore athletes scored silver on the diamond, helping Canada reach the final in men’s baseball. Pitchers Scott Richmond and Will McAffer helped Canada put up a 4-1 record to make the final where they fell 6-1 against Puerto Rico.  

The North Shore also sent two athletes into battle in men’s rugby sevens, with Harry Jones and Adam Zaruba helping the team capture silver. Canada went 2-1 in pool play and beat Brazil 35-5 in the semifinal before losing 33-10 against Argentina in the final. Zaruba led the way for Team Canada with four tries in the tournament.

Two North Shore athletes also struck silver in the pool. Gaelan Patterson helped Canada make the final in men’s water polo, matching the team’s best-ever finish at the Pan Am Games. The Canadians narrowly edged Brazil 8-7 to make the final where they lost 18-6 against a powerhouse U.S. squad.

Swimmer James Dergousoff also earned silver, teaming up with Alexia Zevnik, Javier Acevedo and Danielle Hanus to finish second behind Brazil in the 4x100-m mixed medley relay.