Elite team skiers top Don Sumanik race

Whitehorse youngsters were clearly excited to share the trails with some of the Yukon's top skiers at the Don Sumanik Memorial Cross Country Ski Race at the Whitehorse Nordic Centre on Saturday.

Whitehorse youngsters were clearly excited to share the trails with some of the Yukon’s top skiers at the Don Sumanik Memorial Cross Country Ski Race at the Whitehorse Nordic Centre on Saturday.

Three members of the Yukon Elite Squad, and one from the University of Alaska, were among over 50 skiers to take part in the races, receiving extra loud cheers from the next generation of up and comers.

Their excitement was validated by the results.

The three Yukon Elite Squad (Y.E.S.) skiers topped the open men’s 7.5-kilometre classic technique, mass start race, and Heidi Brook of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks won the open women’s five-kilometre race.

Y.E.S.‘s David Greer took first in open men with a time of 19:49.7, followed closely by teammates Colin Abbott (20:06.0) and John Parry (20:32.6).

“It’s always fun to race in front of the home crowd and parents,” said Greer. “People get to see a little higher caliber racing … And we get to race with some of the younger skiers – the Yukon Ski Team athletes – to give them some motivation.”

Not only are they members of the elite five-person team formed last April, Greer and Parry both raced in a World Cup last month. At the Alberta World Cup, Greer, who won a Don Sumanik open men’s race in 2006, placed 47th in the 15-kilometre classic in open men. Parry, who won the Don Sumanik trophy last year, took 61st in the 30-kilometre skiathlon at the World Cup.

Brook took first in open women with a time of 16:52.5, outpacing second place’s Kendra Murray (17:09.7) and third’s Lois Johnston (20:39.9). It was Brook’s first time winning a Sumanik race in the open division.

“It’s really great to be skiing on a close team; there are 12 or more girls in Alaska who are really close and we train together and race together,” said Brook. “Actually what’s most fun is coming home and skiing with girls I’ve known my whole life.

“It’s fun to see my little sister racing and all my friends from high school.”

(Brook’s sister Maggie won the midget girls race.)

Brook placed 15th in the five-kilometre event at the NCAA West Regional Championship last season and took eighth in the junior women 20-kilometre race 2011 Haywood Ski Nationals.

Murray finished 10th in the five-kilometre junior at last year’s Haywood Nationals and won the Gordon Taylor Award at the 2011 Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships.

Johnston won four medals, including a gold, at the Canadian Masters National Cross-Country Ski Championships last March.

Y.E.S. members, along with other Whitehorse skiers, are hoping for strong finishes at the National NorAm series in Thunder Bay, Ontario, this week. The NorAm is the selection event for the junior, U23 and senior world championships. Last year five Whitehorse skiers, including Greer, qualified and competed at the World Junior/U23 Championships in Turkey.

“It’s always fun to come home and do the local races. It works perfectly to get ready for the bigger races next week in Thunder Bay,” said Greer.

The second set of Don Sumanik races are scheduled for Jan. 12.

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Top-five finishers

Atom boys (1 km)

1st Mettias Schmidt – 4:05.0

2nd Ross Sennett – 4:35.1

3rd Felix Masson – 4:37.8

4th Simon Lauer – 4:50.6

5th Noah Marnik – 5:07.5

Atom girls (1 km)

1st Kate Mason – 4:10.8

2nd Annie Cable – 4:30.5

3rd Ava Irving-Staley – 4:45.3

4th Constance Lapointe – 4:58.0

5th Ava Milner – 5:00.3

Peewee boys (2 km)

1st Sasha Masson – 6:44.1

2nd Nichollis Schmidt – 6:50.2

3rd Derek Deuling – 6:50.9

4th Ben Puskas – 6:53.0

5th Jamie Phillips-Freedman – 6:56.2

Peewee girls (2 km)

1st Sonjaa Schmidt – 7:39.6

2nd Dahlia Lapointe – 7:58.1

3rd Hazel Lewis – 8:32.1

4th Alliya Thomson – 9:09.6

Midget boys (2.5 km)

1st Michael Kishchuk – 9:15.3

Midget girls (2.5 km)

1st Maggie Brook – 9:25.6

2nd Regan Fuerstner – 9:28.5

3rd Amanda Thomson – 9:41.7

4th Hannah Jirousek – 10:00.6

5th Mira Mason – 10:02.5

Juvenile boys (7.5 km)

1st Caelan McLean – 22:49.7

2nd Marcus Deuling – 23:36.2

3rd Hudson Lucier – 25:31.6

4th Simon Cash – 25:54.2

5th Mac Prawdzik – 26:42.8

Juvenile girls (5 km)

1st Cambria Fuerstner – 20:01.4

2nd Eliza Paul – 20:37.6

3rd Natalie Hynes – 20:40.7

4th Zoe Painter – 23:01.6

Junior boys (7.5 km)

1st Trevor Bray – 24:45.1

Junior female (5 km)

1st Holly Bull – 18:38.8

Junior girls (5 km)

1st Adrienne Hynes – 18:22.6

2nd Nahanni Sagar – 18:31.7

Open men (7.5 km)

1st David Greer – 19:49.7

2nd Colin Abbott – 20:06.0

3rd John Parry – 20:32.6

4th Brian Horton – 24:59.0

5th Bob Sagar – 30:04.4

Open women (5 km)

1st Heidi Brook – 16:52.5

2nd Kendra Murray – 17:09.7

3rd Lois Johnston – 20:39.9

4th Jennifer Henderson – 21:21.7

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com