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Sask. flag football team wins national championship

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The long weekend proved to be a memorable one for members of the Team Saskatchewan U16 flag football team — they brought home some hardware from Kingston, Ontario.

The nine Team Saskatchewan players from Regina and three from Saskatoon have returned home exhausted after a busy six-game weekend at the Elite Flag National Championships in Kingston Ontario.

“To put it into one word, I would say surreal,” said Adley Tomlenovich, quarterback for Team Saskatchewan. “When the referee blew the final whistle to say that we won, everyone was running to the field and I just stood there in shock.”

Now, they’re carrying some medals for their effort.

“I was almost in denial because I didn’t believe it was happening,” said Olivia Klein, defensive back/safety for Team Saskatchewan.

“It was such an amazing moment. Everybody ran together and we were crying and excited at the same time. It was amazing.”

It was the first year with a new format where teams were chosen by province as all-star teams, rather than previous years where club teams had to advance through their provincials to make the national championship.

Saskatchewan cruised through the round robin with three wins and one loss. They beat Manitoba in the semi-final, securing a spot against a powerhouse Quebec team who plays at an academy, practising and training together more often than Saskatchewan did.

“It was really tight the whole game,” said Molly Freeman, centre/receiver. “We need this, we need that, and you could just tell everybody on our team wanted it more.”

Saskatchewan led the whole game, eventually winning 28-19.

Despite being together as a team for a short time, the girls say they came together quickly and formed a bond. And it was that positive energy that gave Team Saskatchewan the edge.

“When we would drop a ball or be down in a play, we would all be hyping each other up and high fiving and encouraging each other,” said Tomlenovich. “When the other teams dropped a ball, they would hang their heads low. So I think our positive encouragement and our team effort gave us the win.”

The girls say the turning point of the championship wasn’t a moment, but the hours spent together on the field and off, goofing around with teammates.

“There were so many goofy moments, TikToks and selfies,” said Tomlenovich.

“We always found a way to just keep together and keep everything fun,” said Freeman.

Now that they’re champions, it’s right back to regular life, including catching up on schoolwork.

“School-wise, I’ve got to finish an essay, it’s due today,” Freeman told CTV News.

And while Team Saskatchewan is done for the season, there are plenty of activities to keep them busy this summer.

“For all of us, we have our [Saskatoon Minor Football] flag football teams, and we all do high school football, so that keeps us busy.”

All three girls are eligible to compete again in the U16 division next year, so these champions have a repeat on their minds. 

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