Pan Am Games: Victoria athletes win silver in field hockey and softball

With apologies to Sting, there were no Fields of Gold in Lima at the 2019 Pan Am Games on Saturday. Victoria athletes Emma Entzminger in softball and James Kirkpatrick in field hockey settled for silver medals.

Canada, with Entzminger playing third base, lost 3-1 to the U.S. in the gold-medal final. The good news for the Lambrick Park Secondary and NCAA San Jose State graduate is that the Games weren’t the regional Olympic qualifier. That goes this month at Softball City in Surrey and the U.S. won’t be involved because it has already qualified for Tokyo 2020 as the defending world champion. Canada is coached by Nova Scotian Mark Smith, a former pitching star with Victoria Senior ‘A’ teams.

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Oak Bay-product Kirkpatrick and his former University of Victoria Vikes teammates Keegan Pereira and Brenden Bissett were beaten 5-2 in the hockey final by defending 2016 Rio Olympic champion Argentina. At stake was a direct berth into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which Argentina captured. Canada gets a final shot at Tokyo 2020 through a two-game, total goals series it will host in Vancouver against a team to be decided in the final round of world qualifying.

“We will learn and see what we can do and be ready come October [for the last-chance Olympic qualifier],” said Canadian captain Scott Tupper.

Victoria players Maddie Secco and Anna Mollenhauer and former UVic Vikes stars Kaitlyn Williams and Dani Hennig are in a similar situation after losing 5-1 to world No. 3 Argentina in the women’s hockey gold-medal final Friday. The only difference from the men is the Canadian women will play their two-game, total-goal final-round Olympic qualifier this fall against a team to be determined on the road and away from their Victoria training base.

In swimming, Canada qualified third Saturday morning for the late-finishing women’s 4x100 medley relay final at night. On the medley relay team selection list are Danielle Hanus and Faith Knelson, both from the High Performance Centre-Victoria at Saanich Commonwealth Place. Hanus, the UVic female athlete of the year for setting five school records, already has three individual silver medals in the Lima Games. The Ladysmith-raised Claremont-graduate Knelson, headed to the NCAA Pac-12 with the University of Arizona Wildcats, has an individual bronze medal in the Games.

Elk Lake-based Rowing Canada, preparing for this month’s world championship, which is also the Tokyo Olympic qualifier, sent a developmental team to Lima. Canadians finished out of the medals Saturday with Patricia Mara of Victoria coming the closest with a fourth place in the women’s lightweight singles final. Canada finished with two golds and a silver in rowing.

Cyclist Erin Attwell of Victoria, who won silver with the Canadian track pursuit team last week in the Games velodrome, could not replicate that success on pavement and placed 33rd in the women’s road race Saturday.

Canadian track and field highlights on the day included Genevieve Lalonde’s gold medal in the women’s steeplechase and Marco Arop’s gold in the men’s 800 metres.That followed Nanoose Bay high-jumper Michael Mason’s silver medal Friday.

There are more than 50 Island or Island-based athletes on the Canadian team at the 2019 Pan Am Games, which conclude today. Islanders have been part of 16 medal wins in the Peruvian capital. That compares with the 20 medals, including 13 gold, won by Island-based athletes at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and 21 medals, including three gold, won by Islanders at the 2011 Guadalajara Pan Am Games.

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