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PECI Girls Basketball Team slam dunks Grapes of Wrath extreme fundraiser

More than 300 participants on 62 teams in the third annual Grapes of Wrath tested their mettle over five mud-filled kilometres of rugged terrain and obstacles to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society, Prince Edward County Memorial and Trenton Memorial hospital foundations.

Tallied up, $60,000 was raised for patients receiving cancer care.

“The influx of more than 500 people, including participants, volunteers and spectators, all converging on a winery in the County in support of cancer care in our communities is both thrilling and heart-warming, to know that so many people care,” said Briar Boyce, communications co-ordinator for the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Individuals and teams were challenged Saturday at the Hillier Creek Estate Winery to complete the course’s obstacles designed by volunteers from the military, firefighters and contractors to challenge strength, agility and stamina.

“We had a great turnout from all over the area,” said Wendy Warner, of Trenton Memorial Hospital’s Foundation. “It’s nice to see a good mix. And this year we’re pleased to have three or four youth teams participate for the first time.”

Prince Edward Collegiate’s 15-member Senior Girls Basketball Team was the first to accept the invitation to the new youth category and raised nearly $1,000 for the cause.

“This was their idea as a team building exercise,” said Coach Rob Garden, who is looking forward to the season beginning on Wednesday. “The point of this for them was working together, more than the fitness component. I’m pretty proud of them for cheering each other on and not leaving anybody behind.”

Hailey VanRossum and Vanessa Willis with their Grapes of Wrath dog tags.

Hailey VanRossum and Vanessa Willis with their Grapes of Wrath dog tags.

Working well as a team will take them far – as far as Kona, Hawaii this December when they will be participating in the World Youth Basketball Tournament including teams from Alberta, Australia, Ireland and Los Angeles.

They were a determined group, smiling for most of the gruelling course and jubilant at the finish line.

“A lot of us had butterflies in our stomach at the beginning because we’ve never done something like this before,” said Hailey VanRossum, team co-captain last year with Vanessa Willis. “Some of us were kind of nervous, but overall pretty excited.”

“Now we’re proud that we accomplished it,” said Willis. “It was all about team bonding and it’s super important that we have that in our team. We were pretty close before, but it’s important that we do things to keep close so that we get the most out of our season.”

VanRossum found the obstacles that involved mud and rocks the most challenging.

“It was hard to be crawling under the wires because the rocks hurt,” she said as the two showed off small cuts on their knees and elbows.

They liked the wall climbing and group style obstacles.

“We had everybody right there for support and we worked well as a team, so those ones weren’t too, too difficult,” said VanRossum.

Along with VanRossum and Willis, the senior basketball team members include Kylie Moyer, Casey Hegadorn, Allison Hegadorn, Hannah Smith, Lydia Snider, Lynsey Corbin, Mackenzie Leavitt, Chloe Macdonald, Alannah Burris, Kelli-Anne Maycock, Abby Margetson and Madison Turpin.

Here’s a look:

nice-jog-through-the-vinesOff to a good start with a nice jog through the vines.

all-smiles-first-mud-contactStill smiling despite the cutting edges of rocks in the mud-clay mixture.

success-first-mudNailed it! Now on to the next obstacle.

monkey-barsWho knew experience on the monkey bars in public school would come in handy these many years later?

garden-family-cheers-the-teamTeam Garden – Caitlin, Camryn and Parker – wait to cheer the team between obstacles.

Team members encourage one another up and over the wall.

Team members encourage one another up and over the wall.

barrell-carryHeavy buckets were carried up and down the vineyard rows.

balance-beamBalance beams a little trickier when you’re covered in mud.

firefighter-lift-peci-girlsWith no direction at the firefighter lift, team work gets the job done.

firefighter-lift-tawnyaTeam Fermented Grapes stopped to show their technique at getting the job done.

firefighters-coming-throughTeam PECI steps back to let the Firefighters Team through the swinging balance beam obstacle.

swing-to-miss-puddleHoping for a good swing to miss the mud puddle!

team-still-smilingPausing for a team photo

splash-downPECI girls had a look at what to expect before they splashed down following a 14-foot climb and slide.

mud-climbAs promised, there was more mud!

panthers-icy-bucketsLast obstacle was an icy-cold dip in the grape bins.

victory-at-the-finish-lineVictory at the finish line where participants receive the coveted “Grapes of Wrath” dog tags.


Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther ThingSports & Recreation

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