Whitehorse cross-country skier Dahria Beatty saved her best for last.
Skiing in her final individual race, in her third and final junior worlds, the 19-year-old posted her best result ever at the event.
Beatty placed 15th in the five-kilometre classic at the FIS Nordic Junior and Under 23 World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Sunday.
She was less than a minute behind the winner and less than eight seconds from a top-10 finish.
She was also the top Canadian finisher in the race.
“I am really happy to have broke the top 15 at an international level,” said Beatty in an email to the News. “That was one of my goals going into these championships.
“It has been raining here in Val di Fiemme and conditions were difficult. I had a good race plan and executed it well!”
Beatty, who is in her final year of eligibility for the junior worlds, claimed 20th in the junior women 1.2-kilometre sprint last Wednesday.
She helped Canada’s junior women’s relay team place 10th on Monday in the 4×3.3-kilometre race. Beatty, who is a member of Canada’s junior national team, placed seventh overall on her leg for the highest placing on the relay team.
She claimed 29th in the 10-kilometre skiathlon – five kilometres of classic followed by five kilometres of skate technique – on Friday and was the second Canadian.
“I had a hard time with focus on the skate portion,” said Beatty.
Whitehorse skier Knute Johnsgaard also set a career high, skiing in the under-23 men’s division in Italy.
Johnsgaard skied to 21st in the 15-kilometre classic on Thursday.
“I’m happy with my 21st place in the 15-kilometre classic,” said Johnsgaard in an email. “It’s motivating to know that when everything comes together I can be competitive with these guys. The guy that won the U23 world championships actually just won a world cup too, so it’s a very deep field. I’m also still 21 so I have another year as an under-23.”
Johnsgaard, who skis for the Yukon Elite Squad, also placed 42nd and was the second Canadian in the men’s 1.5-kilometre sprint last Wednesday.
He finished the worlds with 48th in the 30-kilometre skiathlon on Saturday. He was lapped out of the race but was the second-best Canadian.
“I felt very good this day but unfortunately my skis were terrible against the rest of the field and I finished 48th,” said Johnsgaard. “At this level you need everything to go perfectly if you want to be competitive. I try not to make excuses but having bad skis like that can definitely put you down 30 positions in a race where every second counts.
“The first day of the championships we had perfect skiing conditions. Then it snowed two feet overnight, then it rained for four days straight. It made for very challenging conditions for skiers and especially wax technicians.”
Because of their top results in Italy, both Beatty and Johnsgaard aren’t coming straight home.
The two will be heading to Latvia and Estonia to race in the Continental Cup (OPA Cup) Series over the next few weeks.
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