Yukoners Dahria Beatty and Emily Nishikawa are getting to know their new age categories while taking on the best of the best at the World Junior Cross Country Ski Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany.
At 15, Beatty is the youngest skier in the 81-skier junior women division. In fact, she still technically qualifies for the juvenile division. However, youth did not prevent her from finishing 54th in the one-kilometre sprint event Monday.
“She’s much more of a distance skier, so tomorrow’s race should be a better race for her,” said Alain Masson, head coach of the Yukon Cross-Country Ski Team. “She qualified for her spot on the team because of her distance results.”
In her first season in the women’s under-23 age group, Nishikawa, 20, advanced into the quarterfinal heats of the sprint event with a 23rd-place finish out of 38 skiers. After being eliminated in the quarterfinal, Nishikawa was 27th overall.
“Last year she didn’t qualify for the junior worlds because she was injured and couldn’t really train properly,” said Masson. “It’s good to see her back to where she was a few years ago and now being able to qualify.”
Both Yukoners qualified for the Canadian team at the NorAm Canada Cup in Val Cartier, Quebec, at the start of the year.
Beatty secured a spot on the team with fourth-place finishes in the 10-kilometre pursuit (half classic and half skate technique) and in the 10-kilometre classic. Nishikawa took first in a skate technique sprint and was third and fourth in two other events.
“Emily is more of a sprint racer than a distance racer, but she’s fairly good at classic (technique) distance races,” said Masson. “The next race could be a good one for Emily, a few days from now.”
Beatty and Nishikawa will next be competing in five-kilometre classic races, with the juvenile women taking to the trails on Wednesday and the under-23 women on Thursday.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org