YORKTON - Samantha Roussin has returned from the 2023 North American Indigenous Games held in Dartmouth, N.S. with a gold medal.
Roussin, who is from Yorkton, and a member of the Métis Local 13, teamed with Quynn McKay a member of the Red Earth First Nation by Carrot River to represent Saskatchewan in beach volleyball.
The duo went undefeated in round robin play defeating Nova Scotia, Yukon, and B.C., then topped Nova Scotia in the Semi Final 21-7, 21-3.
The semi final win set up the big gold medal match where the Saskatchewan team defeated B.C. 24-22, and 21-12.
“At first I was kind of nervous . . . But as soon as they served the ball it was better,” Roussin said of the gold medal game.
For Roussin the experience was one of getting used to a new sport as she played in the high pressure games. While she has played with the local Blitz Volleyball organization, she had not played the beach game until the opportunity of NAIG came up.
“It was different at first. I’d never played beach volleyball,” said Roussin, who said the game requires a lot of communication between the players, more running, and since games are outside weather; wind, heat and rain can all impact a contest.
But, now with a gold medal already achieved, a moment Roussin expects will long be a big moment in her life, she hopes to explore the game more next summer, and while adding “I haven’t thought that far ahead,” regarding long term involvement in beach volleyball, she paused then continued “I hope so.”
With the games upcoming Indigenous and Métis youth were encouraged to try out.
Roussin took up the challenge attending her first tryout March 25-26 in Saskatoon, being one of the six athletes invited back to the second tryout May 6-7 again in Saskatoon. She was notified she made the team on May 7 this year along with her teammate Quynn McKay.
The duo travelled to Saskatoon and Prince Albert on weekends to practice, and they played together in one Sask Volleyball Beach Volleyball event in P.A. before the games.
They left for the Games July 15, along with over 500 members of Team Saskatchewan. The Beach Volleyball event ran from July 18-20.
The team’s coaches were Tyler Donnelly, Alanna Watt, and the Beach Coordinator was Samantha Erhardt.