The 2018 Ski Nationals were at Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ont., from March 10 to 17 and the Yukon was well represented with 13 local athletes skiing in at least one event.
In the team sprints on March 10, the duo of Amanda Thomson and Hannah Jirousek skied to fourth place in the challenge girls 1.2-kilometre final. Their time of 13 minutes and 44.12 seconds was just 9.39 seconds behind the winners Roxane Vermette and Anne-Marie Petitclerc.
The two teams of Yukoners skiing in the challenge boys category both missed out on the finals.
Derek Deuling and Sasha Masson placed fifth and Victor-Emile Thibeault and Ben Puskas placed eighth, both in the third semifinal.
On the post-secondary side of things, Whitehorse’s Adrienne Hynes teamed up with Laura Inkila to ski to a sixth place-finish for Carleton University in the Canadian Colleges and University Nordic Championships (CCUNC) women team sprint.
Finishing in 15 minutes and 10.73 seconds, their time was one minute and 9.18 seconds behind teammates Emily Jones and Zoë Williams who won the event for Carleton. Teams from Lakehead and Laval finished second and third respectively.
Day two featured the classic interval start and saw a pair of Yukoners on the podium.
In the senior men 10-kilometre race, Knute Johnsgaard finished third with a time of 26 minutes and 57.1 seconds.
Scott Hill won the race with a time of 26 minutes and 45.1 seconds, and Alexis Dumas finished second in 26 minutes and 52.3 seconds.
Four Yukoners skied in the juvenile boys five-kilometre race.
Derek Deuling finished in second place just 20.9 seconds behind race-winner Thomas Stephen’s 13 minutes and 49.2 seconds.
Felix-Olivier Moreau rounded out the podium with a time of 14 minutes and 25 seconds.
Thibeault finished in 13th, Masson finished in 15th and Puskas finished in 24th.
In the senior women five-kilometre, Adrienne Hynes finished 32nd — also good for 24th in the CCUNC standings.
Hannah Deuling finished seventh in the junior women five-kilometre in a time of 16 minutes and 36.4 seconds. Hannah Mehain won the race with a time of 15 minutes and 35.4 seconds.
Thomson and Jirousek finished 16th and 28th in the junior girls five-kilometre race.
The juvenile girls five-kilometre race also included two Yukoners. Sonjaa Schmidt finished seventh and Dahlia Lapointe finished 23rd.
After a rest day, the skiers were back on the trails for the free pursuit event.
In the juvenile boys 7.5-kilometre free ski, Derek Deuling put in a fourth-place time good enough to hang on to second spot in the overall standings.
Thibeault and Masson finished seventh and 10th in the free ski and were ninth and 12th overall.
Puskas finished 39th in the free and 31st overall.
Lapointe finished 15th in the juvenile girls five-kilometre free ski and Schmidt was 20th.
Overall, Schmidt finished 11th and Lapointe 19th.
Natalie Hynes finished fourth in the junior women 10-kilometre free ski with a time of 30 minutes and 26.5 seconds and Hannah Deuling finished 10th.
Adrienne Hynes finished 52nd in the senior women 10-kilometre free ski.
Hannah Deuling’s efforts were good enough to earn a seventh place finish overall in junior women. Adrienne Hynes was 52nd in senior women.
For the junior girls 10-kilometre free ski, Thomson finished 10th and Jirousek finished 19th.
Overall, Thomson was 11th and Jirousek was 21st.
Johnsgaard finished fifth in the senior men 15-kilometre free ski and seventh overall. Marcus Deuling finished 30th in the free ski.
Next up were the long sprints on March 14.
In the senior women 1.3-kilometre sprint, Adrienne Hynes put in a qualifying time of four minutes and 2.68 seconds, good for 32nd place and just off the pace to advance to the heats.
Natalie Hynes won the “B” final in the junior women 1.3-kilometre sprint with a time of three minutes and 36.72 seconds. Hannah Deuling finished 21st after advancing to the quarter-finals.
Knute Johnsgaard qualified in ninth for the senior men 1.3-kilometre sprint but did not start the heats. Derek Deuling qualified 38th.
On March 15, the other age categories took part in the short sprints.
In the junior girls 1.2-kilometre sprint, Thomson finished 15th after the quarter-finals and Jirousek qualified in 39th.
Schmidt finished 12th after reaching the “B” final of the juvenile girls 1.2-kilometre race, followed immediately by Lapointe in 13th.
Derek Deuling scored another top 10 finish with a fifth place in the juvenile boys 1.2-kilometre sprint. Masson finished 10th, Thibeault finished 23rd and Puskas 40th.
Finally, the week of skiing wrapped up with the class mass start races on March 17.
In the juvenile boys 10-kilometre, Derek Deuling finished second with a time of 27 minutes and 12.7 seconds.
Thibeault finished 10th, Masson was 12th and Puskas was 22nd.
Marcus Deuling finished 36th in the senior men 50-kilometre race.
Natalie Hynes finished second in the junior women 20-kilometre race and Hannah Deuling was eighth.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com