If there is one thing Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty and Emily Nishikawa can agree on, it’s that competing at the Junior World Cross-Country Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany, was a great experience to build off of.
“It was a whole new level to compete in,” said Beatty. “There were so many skiers that were faster than you and it was really cool to be able to race with them to see how you stacked up against the best skiers in the world.”
The two Team Canada skiers moved up into new age groups this season, with Beatty, 15, entering junior women and Nishikawa, 20, entering under-23 women.
“The under-23s were a great experience,” wrote Nishikawa in an e-mail to the News. “I have had a cold all week, so my results weren’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I still had some good races regardless.”
Beatty began the championships last week with a 54th-place finish in a sprint event, followed by a 25th-place showing in the five-kilometre classic.
“I was expecting to do my best in that race,” said Beatty. “I was happy with 25th. That was definitely my favourite race in the championships.”
On Friday Beatty had her weakest result of the worlds, finishing 65th in the 10-kilometre pursuit. However, she then finished her stay with a strong performance in the 10-kilometre relay as the lead-off skier, finishing her leg eighth before her team slipped to 14th overall.
The youngest skier in the junior women field, Beatty avoided being intimidated by her competition, many of whom were three or four years older than her, through refraining from forming expectations before events.
“I didn’t have any expectations going into it,” said Beatty. “I had good results – there’s always room to improve on them – but the first time was more of an experience. I didn’t have to worry too much about how I placed, I just skied as hard as I could.
“It was a really exciting experience and I learned a lot from it about racing.”
Nishikawa, a sprint skier, began with her best result, qualifying for the quarterfinals in 23rd before taking a 27th-place finish in the sprint. From there she came 31st in the 10-kilometre classic and 36th in the 15-kilometre pursuit.
“I was definitely hoping for more in terms of results, but considering that I sat last year out due to injury I think I’ve had a pretty strong season,” wrote Nishikawa. “I had surgery this spring to fix my legs and I’ve had no problems since then.”
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