Local women take honours at world championship

Team from Lambton College take home gold and bronze medals

The Lambton College Women’s Firefighter Combat Team can now add a world championship title to their portfolio of victories. The team recently competed at the 25th Annual Scott Firefighter Combat World Challenge in Montgomery, Alabama, where they took home the gold medal in the Women’s Tandem event and the bronze medal in Women’s Relay.

rachel-worldsThe tandem team of Lambton College’s Courtney Surridge and Canadian Champion Amber Bowman found themselves paired up against the top women firefighters from over 14 countries – and came close to breaking the world record.

Head Coach Sue Patrick said the chance for Surridge to compete alongside Bowman was an incredible opportunity for the team captain.

On the relay front, the Lambton College women managed to clinch the third spot as they faced off against the world’s best female athletes before they were narrowly defeated in the semi-final by three seconds against a North Carolina team that went on to win the gold medal.

Team members Courtney Surridge, Rachel Hunchak, Paige Heron, Mackenzie Baker and Ashley Uniac-George really built a name for themselves at the event.

Additionally, Surridge also produced amazing results in the Individual finals, ending her college career with a solid 2:57, putting her in 6th place and earning a spot in the LION’s Den, a prestigious club of athletes that are the fastest on the course.

courtney-worldsIn Women’s Tandems, first year Fire Science duo Heron and Baker claimed the 5th spot, while Hunchak and Uniac-George followed with a 7th place finish.

Hunchak went on to compete in a mixed tandem with Oakville Fire’s Matt Longwell and the two put in a fast time, earning them 7th place in the world.

Entrants from over 14 countries competed in the international event, which took place October 23 through October 29. Qualifying rounds for each event took place over a four-day period with Lambton College qualifying in every one of their events: Women’s Individuals, Mixed Tandem, Women’s Tandem,  and Women’s Relay.

Patrick said the final challenges were extremely competitive, with the team facing off against the world’s best athletes on one of the most difficult courses they have ever competed on. Additionally, Montgomery’s 30 degree temperatures presented some weather conditions and other extreme elements that the team hadn’t faced before.

“These are unbelievable achievements for these young women athletes and future firefighters,” said Patrick. “I am incredibly proud of our team’s accomplishments on the world stage. They have done an excellent job representing Lambton College and have been overwhelmed by the support they received from all over the world.”

Patrick adds that the team received public accolades from the event organizers, who praised the young team of women during the event’s celebration banquet, discussing the fact that they have been able to accomplish so much on the course with such little experience.

“We became known as the new face of firefighting,” said Patrick, proudly.

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