Yukon’s snowshoe team bound for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games has some big shoes to fill. Pardon the expression.
Yukon snowshoe teams have won 14 medals at each of the last three Arctic Games with five gold in 2014 and 2012, and six gold in 2010.
“It’s a good team. The kids are all set,” said head coach Don White. “What we need to work on now for the next couple months is strength and speed and tactics … They need to understand when to push and how hard to push. One thing they all fell down on (in the final trial race) was cutting the corners. They ran farther than they needed to. There’s a variety of things.”
With the exception of an alternate, Yukon has a completely new snowshoe team heading to compete at the Games this March in Nuuk, Greenland.
On the roster, announced early last week, are Joe Parker and Brahm Hyde for junior boys; Maggie O’Connor-Brook and Tess Casher for junior girls; Naosie Dempsey and Dawson City’s Jack Amos for juvenile boys; and Maya Cairns-Locke and Breda McIntyre for juvenile girls.
Team alternates are Leif Blake and Thomas Moore for junior boys; Kate Londero and Hannah Shier for junior girls; Old Crow’s Teryn Kassi for juvenile boys; and Maren Bilsky for juvenile girls.
The only returning team member from the 2014 Games is junior girls alternate Londero, who won a gold and bronze at the 2014 Games in Fairbanks.
“It’s the first snowshoe event for everybody. Kate has been up to it before but she wasn’t up to it yesterday (in the final trial), so she didn’t do as well as she was hoping,” said White.
Londero, Hyde and Amos were all on Yukon’s athletics team at the Western Canada Summer Games this past August in Alberta.
Amos placed ninth in the 5,000-metre and 12th in the 3,000-metre track events.
“The only person I can see right now who can challenge for medals is Jack,” said White. “Jack and Teryn have been training together since November, so they’ve cohered quite a bit as far as the team goes.
“The training was basically dry-land until we had enough snow and then we changed them to snowshoe.”
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