Despite a cold spell in between races, local cross-country skiers had some comfortable temperatures to start the season with the Don Sumanik Memorial Race Series.
Held the last two Saturdays at the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club, with 32 skiers in the freestyle race on the November 27 and 82 in the classic race this past weekend, a pair of Yukon Ski Team members took in top honours.
For achieving the fastest times over the two races, the Don Sumanik trophies went to junior skiers Dahria Beatty and Fabian Brook.
Beatty, 16, who is also a member of the junior Canadian team, beat out both second-place finishers in the two races by more than a minute.
“It’s a good start to the season, going into the early season races out of town next week, I feel ready,” said Beatty, who will be competing in a Sovereign Lakes NorAm event this weekend. “The first two races went well and it was good to get some racing in.”
Named Sport Yukon’s National/Territorial Female Athlete of the Year a couple weeks ago, Beatty was turning heads last season, both nationally and internationally.
At the Junior World Cross-Country Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany, in February, Beatty finished 25th in the five-kilometre classic. Fifteen at the time, Beatty was the youngest skier in the 81-skier junior women division, while still technically qualifying for the juvenile division.
The following month at the Haywood Nationals, held in Whitehorse, Beatty won a gold, a silver and two bronze medals. Although still eligible for the juvenile girls division there too, Beatty raced in the junior category and was the overall, aggregate champion.
“Last year I went into (the division) not really knowing what to expect and I did a lot better than I thought I would, so I was really pleased with my performance,” said Beatty. “This year I’m feeling more comfortable in the category.”
Brook also has some national experience under his belt, finishing 16th in the juvenile male 10-kilometre classic at the Haywood Nationals last March. He also took in a top-20 result at the Easter Canadian Championships the month before.
The 16-year-old came first in the juvenile male 7.5-kilometre race at last year’s Yukon Championships and was first in the classic and second in the freestyle at last year’s Don Sumanik series.
“Fabian is the same age as Dahria, but he’s just starting to perform at that level,” said Cross Country Yukon head coach Alain Masson. “He doesn’t have the same background as Dahria, but he’s racing really well this year and he’s an up-and-coming skier.”
This past Saturday’s results also include Trevor Bray and Adrienne Hynes winning the juvenile category while Caelan McLean and Natalie Hynes were fastest for the midgets.
In the peewee division, Ian Hogeboom-Burr and Hannah Shier found themselves on top and Ben Puskas and Dahlia Lapointe took in the atom titles.
In the open divisions Marcus Waterreus won the men’s ahead of Karl Blattman and Bill Parry in third. All alone in the open women category was Lois Johnston.
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