Beatty wins Whitehorse sixth medal

The Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club took in one last medal, making six in total, in the longest races of the week at the 2011 Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alberta, on Saturday.

The Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club took in one last medal, making six in total, in the longest races of the week at the 2011 Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alberta, on Saturday.

Skiing in her first 20-kilometre skate, Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty had a strong finish, moving up three spots in the final kilometres to take bronze in the junior women division and end the championship.

“I’m very happy with that. It was a good race and I had a very strong last two or three kilometres,” said Beatty. “I’ve done a few 20-kilometre loppets here in Whitehorse, but this was my first 20-kilometre skate.

“It was hard but I really liked the course.”

Beatty, who finished fourth in the overall aggregate standings at the championships and second for her age, now ends with three medals – “one of each,” she pointed out – winning gold with teammate Kendra Murray in the team sprint on Day 1 and a silver in the junior women division’s 10-kilometre skate the following day.

Murray, who won a bronze in the junior girls’ five-kilometre skate on Day 2, helping her reach fifth in the aggregate standings at the championships and fourth for her age, came sixth in junior girls’ 7.5-kilometre skate on Saturday.

Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa finished the championships coming 10th in the senior women’s 30-kilometre skate, coming second in the aggregate standings behind Canadian Olympian Brittany Webster and first for her age. Nishikawa and teammate Janelle Greer won gold in the open women category of the team sprint and won another gold in the 10-kilometre skate. Nishikawa won three of the Yukon’s five medals at the Canada Winter Games last month.

Other top finishes by Whitehorse club members include Heidi Brook taking eighth in the junior women 20-kilometre race, boosting her to 11th overall in aggregate standings and seventh for age. Teammate Katie Peters finished 21st in the junior girls’ 7.5-kilometre, putting her in 10th for her age at the championship.

“We’ve had success, this year and in recent years, with our girls,” said Whitehorse head coach Alain Masson. “They’ve been strong for many years and this year we seemed to have more results from our female skiers, both nationally and internationally.”

On the men’s side, Whitehorse’s Knute Johnsgaard, the only male team member to reach a final in the sprint event last Wednesday, came 21st in the junior men 30-kilometre skate, moving to eighth overall for age at the Haywoods. In the same division teammate Logan Potter finished 27th, putting him 10th overall for his age at the championships and seventh for the Canadian College and University Nordic Championship (CCUNC).

In the senior men’s 50-kilometre skate, Whitehorse’s David Greer took 22nd, placing him in seventh for his age at the championships and 14th in the aggregate standings. Teammates Ray Sabo was 24th, John Parry 27th and Colin Abbott 35th (11th overall in CCUNC to end the championships) on Sunday. In the junior boys’ 15-kilometre skate on Saturday, Whitehorse’s Fabian Brook was 27th.

“It was a tough season for the boys,” said Masson. “Knute and David got sick competing in Europe and they haven’t been able to get back in better health at the Canada Games or at the nationals. Collin Abbott was also sick coming back from Turkey.”

Whitehorse’s six medals and other results put the club in sixth out of 58 teams, including small university clubs, at the championships, dropping three spots from last year.

“Last year we had a huge advantage, having the championships at home in Whitehorse,” said Masson. “We entered a much greater number of skiers.

“Also, we didn’t get too many points from our male skiers this year, where in past years, Knute (Johnsgaard) and David (Greer) would get quite a few more points by the end of the week.”

In other local cross-country news, Whitehorse’s Graham Nishikawa wrapped up the World Cup finals in Scandinavia last week with a 27th place finish, putting him in 37th overall in the mini-tour event featuring the top 50 skiers in the world.

“I had a great race on Sunday finishing 27th and making my goal of top 30,” wrote Graham in an email to the News. “These races were the World Cup finals and only the top 50 ranked skiers were allowed to start, making the field incredibly competitive. Breaking into the top 30 is a huge step for me.”

Graham secured a spot to the World Cup by winning the Haywood NorAm race series for a third straight time this season.

“It is super nice to finish the season with a great race,” wrote Nishikawa. “I am looking forward to some time off to rest after a long but successful season.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com