Five Yukoners selected for national XC teams

There are a total of 25 spots available on Canada's national cross-country ski teams, counting both senior and junior, and Yukoners occupy five of them. That's more than BC and Ontario combined.

There are a total of 25 spots available on Canada’s national cross-country ski teams, counting both senior and junior, and Yukoners occupy five of them.

That’s more than BC and Ontario combined.

Cross Country Canada announced this week that siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa have been selected for the senior team while fellow Whitehorse skiers Dahria Beatty, Janelle Greer and Knute Johnsgaard have all been invited back onto the junior squad.

Emily Nishikawa, the only first-timer out of the five Yukoners, is thrilled by the heightened level of training she will be exposed to.

“I’m super excited about it,” said the 21-year-old. “It’s definitely very cool to get on the national team.

“Being on the national team provides me with more opportunities to go to more camps. It’ll give me faster girls to train with.”

Emily has both speed and versatility. Currently ranked sixth in Canada for distance racing and seventh for sprints, Emily captured three of the Yukon’s five medals at the Canada Winter Games in February, winning a gold in a 7-.5-kilometre race and a bronze in a sprint. She has also competed in the last two U-23 World Cross-Country Championships, taking 27th in the sprint this year in Germany.

For Graham Nishikawa, the position on the team comes after a lengthy absence. The 27-year-old, who holds the No.5 ranking for distance events in Canada, was last on the team in 2005. However, after becoming the NorAm Cup champion this season, and taking in a top-30 results at a World Cup even in Sweden, Graham was brought back on.

“It’s always an honour to be nominated to the team, so I’m super happy,” said Graham. “It’s kind of coming as a surprise to me. I didn’t know what the national selection committee would decide, but I guess I had a great season and I have the potential to help the nation.”

While on the team, Graham will be rubbing shoulders with some big names, such as cross-country stars Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey.

“It definitely helps out with getting opportunities to go to the training camps with the other guys on the team,” said Graham. “It’s huge to get to train with them – two of them are world champions this year. Training with those guys – if you are competitive with them, you’re competitive with the best in the world.”

For the juniors, all of whom represented the Yukon at the Canada Winter Games, it’s the second year in a row on the team.

Beatty took a 25th-place finish in a race at the Junior Cross Country Ski Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany, in January, before winning three medals at the 2011 Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alberta, in March.

Greer also took in hardware at the Haywood Nationals, winning two golds, including one with Emily Nishikawa in a team event.

For the boys, Johnsgaard was the only sYukon male to reach a final at the Haywoods, in the sprint, and also came 21st in the junior men 30-kilometre skate.

The Nishikawas will train in Canmore during the offseason, looking towards starting the season with a World Cup event in November.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read