Branning joined Saskatoon’s Dami Ogunbiyi, Swift Current’s Scott Joseph and Emerald Park’s Dawson Bentz to cross the line in a time of 41.29 seconds and win silver in heart-stopping fashion during the evening session at the track and field venue – Alberta would take gold in 41.12 and Manitoba silver in 41.46 as all three anchors hit the line in quick succession.
Earlier, the former Central Cyclones and current University of Regina standout ran 10.95 seconds in his heat to advance to the final in the 100 metres before there crossing the line in 10.99 seconds to finish in sixth place. Alberta’s Malachi Murray won gold in 10.76 seconds.
Also seeing action in the female 400 metres was Peacock grad Camryn Gillies, who finished fifth in her heat in 1:03.24 and missed reaching the final eight. Saskatoon’s Kendra Farmer won gold in 57.04, just ahead of Lemberg’s Skylar Smith in 57.90.
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Austin Lin picked up his third and fourth medals of the Games after claiming silver in the team tennis competition and finishing second in male doubles on Thursday and Friday at the Riverside Park tennis club.
Lin joined with Saskatoon’s William Preciado to first help Saskatchewan to a second-place finish in the team competition, winning 6-0, 6-0 over Northwest Territories’ Ethan Carr and Nikhilesh Gohil before downing Manitoba’s Jack Filuk-Scott and Kabeer Grewal 6-2, 6-0 in action on Thursday to finish 2-1 overall.
Younger brother Harry Lin also rebounded from a loss to Alberta in his opener to win by acclamation over Northwest Territories and take a 6-0, 6-2 win over Manitoba’s Daksith Premathilaka.
That win proved to be critical in the end – Saskatchewan finished the team event with an 11-10 record, one win better than Manitoba at 10-11. Alberta won gold by going an impressive 20-1 through the two-day event.
Lin and Preciado faced a rematch with Carr and Gohil in the main men’s doubles semifinal and took a 6-1, 6-0 victory, but couldn’t keep the momentum going and fell 6-3, 6-3 to Alberta’s Arsh Bhatti and Aiden Rypien-Nazar in the gold medal final.
Harry Lin didn’t have as much luck in his men’s single draw, losing 6-4, 1-6, 10-1 to Manitoba’s Stefan Barre before again defeating Premathilaka 6-2, 6-1 to finish fifth overall.
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Moose Jaw athletes kicked off action on the wrestling mats with the team competition dual meets on Friday, with Saskatchewan winning all each of their bouts over the three Territories.
Competing in the 39-42 kilogram division, Payton Kell picked up maximum points after winning all three of his matches by forfeit.
Kyle Yamniuk had a single match in his 63-kg class, winning by technical fall 10-0 over the Northwest Territories’ Quinn Critch.
Alexis Bradish lost to Yukon’s Judith Russell in her lone match by pinfall at 1:19.
Both Bradish and Yamniuk won their other two bouts by forfeit as neither NWT or Nunavut had opponents in their weight classes.
Overall, Saskatchewan defeated Nunavut 94-7, Yukon 94-10 and NWT 104-0.
Things will get tougher the rest of the dual meet tournament, as Team Sask will face Alberta and Manitoba on Saturday.
The singles tournament will take place all day Sunday.
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A solid day overall in track and field saw Saskatchewan vault into a comfortable lead in second place in the medal standings with 34 gold, 46 silver and 45 bronze for 125 medals total. Alberta leads with 89 gold, 70 silver and 222 medals, Manitoba is third with 33 gold, 39 silver and 109 medals.