Hawkings, Murray selected for Universiade team

Kendra Murray and Lee Hawkings have a lot in common. They are both from Whitehorse, have competed internationally in orienteering, attend Carleton University in Ottawa, and they both cross-country ski.

3They are both from Whitehorse, have competed internationally in orienteering, attend Carleton University in Ottawa, and they both cross-country ski.

They have also been selected to represent Canada at the World University Games in cross-country skiing at Val di Fiemme, Italy, in December.

Making the team was a season-long goal for both skiers.

“I was very excited when I learned that I was selected for this team,” said Murray in an email to the News. “I was hoping to be selected for this team, and I thought my season had gone well enough to be in contention for the team, so it was awesome to get the confirmation.”

“It was a combination of excitement and relief because it was kind of my goal for the year, to make the team,” said Hawkings. “Originally the Games were supposed to happen last winter in February of 2013, so I would have qualified for that team based on results from two years ago. Because of reasons out of everyone’s control, the Games got moved and I had to have another strong ski season to make the team again. Luckily, I just squeezed in there.”

The Games, which will be the first for the two Whitehorse athletes, were originally supposed to take place in Maribor, Slovenia, but were postponed and moved to Italy when the government of Slovenia reversed its commitment to help fund the Games due to financial difficulties.

Murray attained some fantastic results at the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals in March to help make the team.

Murray took first in the Year of Birth aggregate division and was sixth for junior women.

As a university student, Murray also won medals in the CCUNC division (Canadian College and University Nordic Championships). The 20-year-old and Carleton teammate Ingrid Hagberg won bronze in the team sprint and Murray snagged gold in the open female 10-kilometre classic in the CCUNC division. That result also earned her a silver for overall junior women.

Murray also placed second overall for junior women at the Haywood Eastern Canadian Championships at the start of February.

“I believe my last year’s season was my best,” said Murray. “I think it is a combination of things. I am following a slightly different training plan from Carleton, but it is not significantly different from anything I have done before. Also, the longer you train the bigger base you have to build on, I have been training at a fairly high level since I was 13 or 14. In addition to this, it has been a process of learning about yourself and knowing when to push and when to let your body rest.”

Hawkings claimed gold in the men’s 1.6-kilometre sprint in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) division at a Haywood NorAm in Duntroon, Ont. in January. He then snagged 41st overall in the 15-kilometre free race, placing third for OUA.

The 22-year-old then placed 36th overall in open men at the eastern Canadian championships.

“I had a bit of an up-and-down year,” said Hawkings. “In the last half of the season, I got pretty sick and was definitely off my game.”

Also named to the team is former Whitehorse resident Mary Waddell, who will act as team leader (manager). Waddell lived in Whitehorse for three years until 2007 and worked with Cross Country Yukon.

Murray just finished representing Canada at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, where she led the Canadian team in every race. Hawkings competed at four Junior World Orienteering Championships before aging out in 2011.

“I have lots of experience competing in orienteering, but this will be my first big event on skis,” said Hawkings.

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