Three of the Yukon’s premier cross-country skiers have added to their long lists of accomplishments at the ongoing NorAm circuit held last weekend at Sovereign Lake, BC.
Whitehorse’s sibling skiers, David and Janelle Greer, each reached the top tier of the podium Saturday in their respective fields.
Racing in the junior men’s 15-kilometre event, David completed the course in 48:48 — just eight seconds ahead of the second-place finisher — to take first.
“This race, things started to fall into place,” said David. “I was able to push myself harder and my body was able to go faster when I needed to and things played out pretty well.”
Janelle’s best success came in the junior women’s 10-kilometre event, finishing in 35:06.
“I didn’t know what to expect, I raced a 10-kilometre (race) maybe once before,” said Janelle. “In the younger categories I would usually do five or 7.5 kilometres. A 10-kilometre is rare for the younger kids.”
The previous day Janelle received a bronze in a 1.1-kilometre sprint.
“It was a really close finish for first and second,” said Janelle of the sprint event. “I was behind them — I had fallen on an uphill (section).”
Also doing the Yukon proud was Graham Nishikawa, taking third in open men’s 20-kilometre skating technique race on December 11, followed by a fifth-place finish in a 15-kilometre classic Saturday. The previous week, Nishikawa took silver in a 15-kilometre event.
“It came down to a big sprint finish at the end,” said Nishikawa of the 20-kilometre race. “And I lost second place by less than a second … I was pretty happy with that race for sure.”
The first-place finishes captured by the Greers came in races that had an uncommon element in cross-country skiing: darkness. Both races were held in the evening under lights.
“There were spotlights set up every — I don’t know — 50 metres or so,” said David.
“We usually don’t ski that late in the day, so it was kind of weird racing at night — hanging around, not knowing what to do with yourself all morning and afternoon.
“It’s fun to mix it up a bit.”
“I thought it was exciting,” said Janelle of the night events. “I’ve kind of done it before, but not in an important race.
“It was exciting except there were a few parts of the course that didn’t have lights on and it was pitch black — you couldn’t even see the track.”
This weekend, Nishikawa will be competing in Ontario, just outside of Toronto. As a long-distance-oriented skier, Nishikawa has his sights set on a 30-kilometre skate race Sunday.
“My skating has been a bit better than my classic this year,” said Nishikawa. “I’ve been working really hard on my technique in skating, so I’m definitely happy with the improvements.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org