Whitehorse finishes third in Haywood Nationals

After fourth-place finishes the last two years, Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club was back on the podium at the conclusion of the Haywood Nationals on Sunday in Whitehorse.

After fourth-place finishes the last two years, Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club was back on the podium at the conclusion of the Haywood Nationals on Sunday in Whitehorse.

The local club, which was third behind first place Nakkertok Ski Club and Foothills Nordic Ski Club, saw a handful of its skiers medal over the past week, but none more than Dahria Beatty, 16, winning a gold, silver and two bronzes.

Although still eligible for the juvenile girls division, Beatty raced in the junior category and was the overall champion.

“I felt like I would be able to compete with these girls if I was feeling well and I have been,” said Beatty. “I had a cold when I came back from Europe and it took a long time to get rid of it. I was happy I was in good form for the races.

“I pushed as hard as I could and whatever result I got I was going to be happy with as long as I felt I went as fast as I could.”

Beatty, who won gold at the start of the week in the team event with Janelle Greer, came third in her first ever 15-kilometre race on Sunday.

“The first (7.5-kilometre) lap I wasn’t feeling so great but I managed to keep with the lead group, and then I felt better on the second lap,” said Beatty. “Unfortunately I got a little tangled up on the second lap and fell, but I managed to catch back up to the majority of the lead pack.

“We both had really fast skies and we both stepped out of the track and got tangled up together. We weren’t hurt or anything, but we lost some time. It was one of my teammates I went to junior worlds with.”

Strong in long and short events, Beatty also came third in Friday’s sprint after qualifying in second place.

“I had a good position in my heats,” said Beatty. “I was in fourth for most of the final, but the girls that was in first, her pole came off, so we all moved up a position. But that’s what sprinting is, sometimes that happens.

“Usually sprinting isn’t as strong for me, so I was happy that I was able to be in there with those girls.”

Also in the junior female category, Whitehorse’s Heidi Brook was 16th overall (sixth in the born-in-1992 segment) and Kendra Murray was 24th (third in the 1993 segment).

Whitehorse’s Knute Johnsgaard, 17, also generated an overall win, coming first in the 1992 segment of the junior male division and seventh overall. Johnsgaard wrapped up the week of competition with a second place finish (first in 1992) in the 20-kilometre classic on Sunday, narrowly beating teammate Colin Abbott, who finished third.

“It was a mass-start, so it was pretty cool to know where (in the standings) you are and to ski with a big pack like that,” said Johnsgaard. “I skied with my teammate Colin Abbott pretty much the whole race, always pushing each other.

“With two or three kilometres to go, Colin and I broke ahead, but we couldn’t catch the guy ahead of us. It was a great race.”

Partnered with Jeff Wood in the junior male’s team sprint event a week earlier, the two battled back from fifth to take gold. Wood finished 20th overall in the junior male division, fourth out of the 1992 men.

Finishing her first appearance at nationals with her best result, Whitehorse’s Katie Peters, 15, came 10th in the juvenile girls’ 7.5-kilometre race on Sunday, putting her in 18th overall for 1994 girls.

“I thought it went really well – I felt really focused,” said Peters. “I was thinking about the race the whole time; my mind wasn’t wandering off. I just wanted to catch everyone in front of me that I could see.

“I was between 10th and 15th for most of it and at the end I think I was in eighth, but in the last downhill a couple passed me. I almost hit a tree, but I made it.”

Other top results for Whitehorse included Emily Nishikawa finishing seventh overall in the open women’s division and David Greer coming 13th in the open men.

In the 1995 segment of the juvenile boys, Whitehorse had some grouping with Trevor Bray, Caelan McLean and Marcus Deuling taking up the 11th, 12th, and 13th spots while teammate Tristan Sparks was 15th.

In the 1995 segment of the juvenile girls, Emily Wilson, Nahanni Sagar and Moya Painter filled spots 18 to 20 and Pia Blake was eight overall in the 1996s.

“It’s been amazing – the setup here and all the volunteers, it’s definitely the better of the two nationals I’ve been to,” said Johnsgaard. “I’d like to thank all the volunteers and everyone else who helped make this happen.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com