Executives of the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club were so torn between two skiers when deciding the recipient of the Monique Waterreus Award, they decided to give it to both.
Whitehorse skiers Dahria Beatty and Janelle Greer both had such an outstanding season last winter, they both got the award, given to the junior skier with the strongest national and international performances over the previous season, at the club’s annual general meeting on Wednesday at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
“It’s great to be sharing it with Janelle. We both had really good seasons last year,” said Beatty. “We have trained together for such a long time that it’s really nice to share it with her … She’s helped me so much with my skiing, being there to push me, and I’d like to think vice versa.”
It’s not the first time each skier has been honoured with the prestigious award. Greer won the award last year and Beatty the year before.
Both skiers are currently training full-time at the Alberta World Cup Academy in Canmore, Alberta.
“We both had really good seasons,” said Greer. “We have been teammates in Whitehorse. For last two years, we’ve been on different teams, but now that she’s down in Canmore as well, we’re teammates again and it’s fun to be able to share the award. We’re both doing great. It’s nice that it’s either one or the other.”
Greer, 20, and Beatty, 18, competed at the World Junior/U23 Championship in Turkey and went on to win hardware at the Haywood Nationals last winter.
At the NorAm qualifier for the junior worlds, Greer won bronze in the pursuit and a gold in the sprint. Beatty captured gold in skiathlon pursuit and in the 10-kilometre classic.
“Of course, being in Turkey was an amazing experience and that’s a highlight in its own way,” said Beatty. “Race-wise, I think qualifying for the world juniors – the 10-kilometre skiathlon and the 10-kilometre classic – were really good races for me. Those were two of my better races last year and I was really happy how I was skiing at that time.”
At the junior worlds in Turkey, Beatty took in two top-25 performances in the junior female division. Beatty raced to 25th in five-kilometre individual classic for Team Canada’s top spot in the race. She then placed 23rd in the skiathlon.
In her third appearance at the worlds, Greer finished 28th in the junior women’s skate-sprint for Canada’s strongest finish and also placed 28th in the five-kilometre classic, three spots back from Beatty.
“It was awesome to represent Canada again in Turkey,” said Greer. “I definitely didn’t have my best races while I was over there. There were so many differences between racing there and racing here. It would have been really lucky to have your best races there. (There were) super high altitudes there and it was very, very cold.”
Competing at the Haywoods, Canada’s national championship, Greer won bronze in the 10-kilometre junior women race and took fourth-place finishes in the sprint and in the 20-kilometre distance classic.
Beatty won a gold medal in the five-kilometre classic in junior women. She then came fifth in the sprint and sixth in the 20-kilometre classic.
In the end, Beatty was third in the aggregate Year-of-Birth category.
Beatty also won three gold at the Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships in January. Greer won three silver at the westerns.
In addition to being on the team at the Alberta academy with Greer, Beatty is a member of Canada’s junior national team.
“I’m hoping to race well at trials again and qualify for the world juniors for this year,” said Beatty. “That’s probably my main goal for the upcoming season.”
Greer was on the junior national team last year but has now aged out and is a U23 skier. She is hoping to compete in two FIS Cross-Country World Cup events this season, the first world cup races in North America in a couple years.
“It would be awesome to start in one of those races,” said Greer. “But as of yesterday I’m getting surgery on my shins. So I guess right now the goal is to fully recovery from surgery.”
Monique Waterreus, an inductee of Sport Yukon Hall of Fame in 1991, began competing in cross-country skiing nationally and internationally in 1976 at age 15.
Over her career, she accumulated 10 Canadian Championship medals including six gold at the junior level. She twice represented Canada at the World Junior Championships, competed in numerous World Cup races in Europe and Canada, and won the season-long NorAm race series in the 1981/82 season. She is also a four-time recipient of Sport Yukon’s Female Athlete of the Year award and was given the Commissioners Award in 1982.
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