Nishikawa top of the heap

Graham Nishikawa seems well on his way to capturing his fourth NorAm season win in five years. The Whitehorse skier continues to sit atop the NorAm standing after dominating the senior men's division.

Graham Nishikawa seems well on his way to capturing his fourth NorAm season win in five years.

The Whitehorse skier continues to sit atop the NorAm standing after dominating the senior men’s division at the Haywood NorAm in Orford, Quebec, last weekend.

Operating within the mini-tour race system, added to the NorAm series this season, the event consisted of a four-kilometre prologue, a 10-kilometre classic and a 20-kilometre skate. Placements were determined by overall combined time in the three races.

Nishikawa, won all three races, taking a five-second lead after Friday’s prologue, eventually expanding it to two minutes, 38 seconds by the end of Sunday’s skate race.

“That’s the day I really had a great race,” said the 28-year-old of Sunday. “I put a minute-and-a-half onto the whole field – I’ve never won a race by that much – so it was an incredible day for me.

“That’s one of the best races I’ve ever had, for sure.

“I skied it all by myself out front and I couldn’t believe how long it took for the next guy to come across (the finish line). It shows I’m in really good shape right now.”

Nishikawa has two more NorAm events over the coming weeks, going to Kelowna this weekend and Ottawa the following weekend, where he hopes to secure the NorAm’s top spot for the season and win the chance to represent Canada at the World Cup this spring.

Joining Nishikawa in Orford were Yukoners David Greer and Knute Johnsgaard, both of whom won hardware.

In the men’s U-23 category, Greer took gold, outpacing the next closest skier by almost a minute.

Skiing in the junior men’s group, Johnsgaard was fastest in two of the weekend’s three race, but was edged out of first by a miniscule 0.3 seconds, taking silver.

While Nishikawa and Greer were taking in hardware in Quebec, their sisters were taking on the best U-23 and junior skiers in the world.

Competing at the Junior & U23 World Ski Championships, which wrapped up Monday in Otepaa, Estonia, Janelle Greer and Emily Nishikawa were cracking the top-20 and leading the Canadian field in some races.

Competing in the junior women division, Janelle opened her stay finishing 35th in the five-kilometre free event, then qualified 20th in the sprint qualifier, making it to the quarterfinals where she was 21st. In all three races she was the top Canadian. Janelle finished off by coming 36th – second for Canadians – in the 10-kilometre pursuit.

Emily was the second Canadian in all her races but one, coming 46th in the 10-kilometre classic, 22nd in the 1.2-kilometre sprint and 25th in the 15-kilometre pursuit. She was the top Canadian in the 10-kilometre freestyle event in 16th.

The two Greers, Emily Nishikawa and Johnsgaard, along with six others, will represent the Yukon at the Canada Winter Games this month in Halifax.

(For full coverage of the Junior & U23 World Ski Championships see Friday’s Yukon News.)

Contact Tom Patrick at

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