Cloutier wins U16 West­ern Chal­lenge

The Southwest Booster - - Sports - STEVEN MAH SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Swift Cur­rent’s Zach Cloutier and Team Saskatchew­an won the 2019 U16 West­ern Chal­lenge in Kam­loops, BC when they de­feated British Columbia 21-7 in the cham­pi­onship game on Thurs­day.

“I was su­per ex­cited, just com­ing all the way from Saskatchew­an to win a gold and all the try­outs and ev­ery­thing,” said Cloutier.

The 5’9’’, 185-pound Cloutier played mid­dle line­backer and was a team cap­tain with Saskatchew­an. He be­gan the try­out process in Regina back in April and first made Team South. Team South and Team North played twice and then the 50 top play­ers were se­lected, from which 40 play­ers were even­tu­ally picked from another try­out.

“We wanted to just rep­re­sent Saskatchew­an and bring back the gold medal and the tro­phy,” said Cloutier of the team’s goals head­ing in.

“I just made sure I was pre­pared, made sure I knew what to do. I made sure I went through all my men­tal and phys­i­cal things in my head to make sure I was ready and pre­pared,” he added.

Saskatchew­an had de­feated Man­i­toba 38-2 on Mon­day to open the four-team event.

“I felt re­ally good. It was tough, there was some good teams, some good play­ers out there, but you just had to bat­tle through and we ended up win­ning in the end.”

The only neg­a­tive for Cloutier came when he in­jured his shoul­der dur­ing the cham­pi­onship game. He left the game briefly but re­turned to help Saskatchew­an close out the win, wors­en­ing the in­jury fur­ther, which he said was worth it to get the win.

Cloutier helped lead a de­fen­sive unit that al­lowed only nine points over two games.

“We made sure we knew what we were do­ing and made sure we al­ways worked to­gether. We prac­ticed what we needed to im­prove on and just got bet­ter go­ing into the tour­na­ment by watch­ing film. We just made sure we knew what to do and changed any­thing we needed to pre­pare for the next team.”

“You got the play from the side­line and had to echo it out to the other play­ers and made sure the other play­ers knew what they were do­ing. If they needed help, just help out or do as much as I can to help for the team,” ex­plained Cloutier of his role on de­fense.

The grade 10 stu­dent will look to make an im­pact­ful de­but for the Swift Cur­rent Comp. Colts in Septem­ber.

“I want to make sure to bring some of the skill that I’ve learned from the team and just help oth­ers from high school. I hope to be able to win a tro­phy in high school too.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Zach Cloutier helped Saskatchew­an win the U16 West­ern Chal­lenge in Kam­loops, BC.

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