Nishikawas snag spot at worlds, Yukoners win hardware

Whitehorse cross-country skiers had an extremely productive weekend at a Haywood NorAm in Duntroon, Ont.

Whitehorse cross-country skiers had an extremely productive weekend at a Haywood NorAm in Duntroon, Ont.

Topping the list of accomplishments was Whitehorse siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa securing spots on Team Canada for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, later this month.

Graham, 29, is the first male skier from the Yukon to make it to the world championships.

“I’m just taking it all in. I think it will be an absolutely amazing experience, one way or another,” said Graham. “I’m just excited Emily gets to come along as well.”

Emily, 23, is the first female Yukoner to make the worlds since Olympian Lucy Steele-Masson competed in 1997.

“It’s a great honour to get selected for the world championships,” said Emily. “I’m really excited about this trip. I think it’s a great opportunity and it’s cool my brother was also selected.”

The Nishikawas, who are members of Canada’s senior developmental team, made the worlds team with medal performances at two sets of trials, in Thunder Bay, Ont., Jan. 3-6 and in Duntroon, Ont., this past weekend.

In Thunder Bay, Emily won gold in two distance races and a bronze in a sprint for senior women, Graham won gold in the senior men’s 30-kilometre classic and placed fourth in two other races.

This past weekend, Graham captured bronze in a classic sprint on Saturday and then gold in the 15-kilometre free with a large 32.7-second lead over the second-place finisher on Sunday.

Emily skied to silver in Saturday’s sprint for open women, but fell ill and missed Sunday’s 10-kilometre free race.

That wasn’t all the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club had to celebrate following the weekend.

Lee Hawkings claimed gold in the men’s 1.6-kilometre sprint in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) division on Saturday. He then snagged 41st overall in Sunday’s 15-kilometre free race, placing third for OUA.

Whitehorse’s Kendra Murray won bronze in the junior women’s sprint on Saturday and then placed 19th in the open women’s 10-kilomtre free on Sunday, finishing second for OUA.

Dahria Beatty, who is still a junior level skier, took 11th in Saturday’s sprint for open women. She also raced to 18th in open women for Sunday’s 10-kilometre race – fourth for junior women.

Logan Potter placed fourth in the Saturday’s sprint for OUA men and 77th in Sunday’s 15-kilometre race – 19th for OUA.

Also in attendance were three members of the Yukon Elite Squad racing in the open men division.

David Greer claimed seventh in Saturday’s sprint and ninth on Sunday; John Parry was 12th on Saturday and 16th on Sunday; Knute Johnsgaard was 15th on Saturday and 12th on Sunday.

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