Sunday , 1 August 2021

Critch headed back to U16 Western Canada Challenge after MVP performance

It’s like De Ja Vu all over again for Duncan Critch.

The youngster was named back to the U16 Team Alberta team competing at the U16 Football Canada Western Challenge this summer after another standout performance in front of the provincial coaching staff.

Critch earned MVP honours for Team North in the first ever Junior Bowl on May 20 in a close 14-13 loss to Team South.

The soon to be Grade 10 student then found out on Friday he was heading back to the Challenge.

“It was a lot of deja vu actually, because it happened last year, especially the same routine as last year with practices. You eat, you sleep, you football. It’s the same thing. It’s a lot of fun. I love doing it,” said Critch.

Benjamin Waters and Logan Karenko from Cold Lake, Duncan and Connor Critch from Ardmore, and Odin Smith from Elk Point, all played for Team North at the Junior Bowl but Duncan was the only one selected to the Western Challenge squad.

Duncan said it was good for his younger brother Connor to get that experience.

“It was good for him to get the experience of how provincial football works,” said Duncan.

“I’d love to have him there. It sucks not having him on the provincial team with me. I wish I would have had him there to have that experience as well in Kamloops. But it overall was a great experience,” Duncan said.

Team Alberta will hold a two-day mini camp July 11-12 before heading to Kamloops to defend last year’s championship.

The summer means a lot of training and recovery for Critch who hopes to compete in club track and field as well.

“I’m going to be doing a lot of being in the gym and then I’m going to be doing a lot of track as well to help with my speed endurance and just endurance in general. Then after the U16 as well I wanted to go to nationals in Canada for track and field.

“So hopefully I’ll go to that which is in Nova Scotia, but I’ll have to qualify for that in Calgary sometime this summer after I get back in. That’s just another added on trip,” said Critch.

Critch scored two touchdowns in the second half of last year’s U16 Western Challenge to win gold.

He knows British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will be champing at the bit to beat them.

“I know that they’re all going to be gunning for us, they’re all going to want to have a chance to beat Alberta to say they beat Alberta – not be cocky…. but I know that the competition is going to be higher this year, especially with me being in the older age category.”

Critch likes the leadership role he’ll assume with the team.

“They’re going to expect more out of me.

“Being a leader out there, it’s just expecting the most out of people and just making sure they are fulfilling themselves, not just of what I think they can do, but with they think they can’t do.

“It’s all about the team and what the team does successfully. And it’s just getting out there and doing what we need to do and get the work in.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.