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Whitehorse skiers nab eight Buckwheat titles

A huge turnout, young champions and close finishes marked the Buckwheat Ski Classic on the Log Cabin ski trails, just outside of Skagway on Saturday.

A huge turnout, young champions and close finishes marked the Buckwheat Ski Classic on the Log Cabin ski trails, just outside of Skagway on Saturday.

The 29th annual cross-country event saw 415 skiers register for the races, eight of which were won by Whitehorse skiers.

A pair of 13-year-olds also won the two largest divisions at the event. Gatineau, Quebec’s Magalie Daoust topped a field of 128 skiers in the open female 10-kilometre race. Whitehorse’s Nichollis Schmidt squeaked out a win out of 62 skiers in the open male 10-kilometre.

Schmidt outpaced Juneau’s Noah Machakos and Whitehorse’s Liam Mather by just one second for the win.

There were also close finishes in the 25-kilometre races - both won by Deulings. Whitehorse’s Hannah Deuling won the open women’s race by a second while Whitehorse’s Marcus Deuling won the open men’s by two seconds.

A pair of high-level Whitehorse skiers also led the way in the long 50-kilometre events.

Former University of Alaska skier Marit Rjabov regained the title from 2013 in the women’s race with a time of 3:15:05.

Yukon Elite Squad skier Knute Johnsgaard won the men’s race in 2:38:46. The 22-year-old won the 50-kilometre division in 2010 and placed third in 2011.

“I haven’t done it since 2011 - it usually overlaps with nationals, but this year it didn’t,” said Johnsgaard.

“I usually only do one or two (50-kilometre races) a year,” he added. “I like it. It’s a whole different event; you really have to pace yourself. This course is really quite easy, it’s really flat compared to most 50-kilometre races I’ve done on race trails. The ones at nationals are a lot more difficult, so these are a little easier.”

Johnsgaard captured gold in the men’s 10-kilometre classic at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. in February. He also won a bronze in the open men’s team sprint with Yukon Elite Squad teammate Colin Abbott at the Haywood Ski Nationals last month in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“I’m going up to Old Crow next week to ski with the kids up there as part of my sponsorship agreement with Air North,” said Johnsgaard.

“A big thanks to Buckwheat (Donahue), he’s been running this race for a really long time and he always does an amazing job and puts on a really good show ... It’s definitely a top-notch event that’s a lot of fun.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

Top three results

Female 10-and-under (5 km)

1st Kate Mason

(Whitehorse) - 24:24

2nd Constance Lapointe

(Whitehorse) - 28:12

3rd Maude Molgat

(Whitehorse) - 30:54

Male 10-and-under (5 km)

1st Mettias Schmidt

(Whitehorse) - 23:30

2nd Noah Connell

(Whitehorse) - 24:23

3rd Felix Masson

(Whitehorse) - 25:31

Female 11-12 (5 km)

1st Sonjaa Schmidt

(Whitehorse) - 21:54

2nd Jasmine Sealy

(Whitehorse) - 23:30

3rd Eva Goering

(Whitehorse) - 24:39

Male 11-12 (5 km)

1st Damien Vialaret

(Ottawa) - 18:46

2nd Derek Deuling

(Whitehorse) - 20:05

3rd Sasha Masson

(Whitehorse) - 20:10

Open female (10 km)

1st Magalie Daoust

(Gatineau) - 36:13

2nd Naomi Welling

(Juneau) - 36:30

3rd Maura Sullivan

(Whitehorse) - 37:10

Open male (10 km)

1st Nichollis Schmidt

(Whitehorse) - 34:21

2nd Noah Machakos

(Juneau) - 34:22

3rd Liam Mather

(Whitehorse) - 34:22

Open female (25 km)

1st Hannah Deuling

(Whitehorse) - 1:34:14

2nd Amanda Thomson

(Whitehorse) - 1:34:15

3rd Sara Nielsen

(Whitehorse) - 1:39:18

Open male (25 km)

1st Marcus Deuling

(Whitehorse) - 1:15:31

2nd Hudson Lucier

(Whitehorse) - 1:15:33

3rd Mac Prawdzik

(Whitehorse) - 1:15:35

Open female (50 km)

1st Marit Rjabov

(Whitehorse) - 3:15:05

2nd Julie McVicar

(Whitehorse) - 3:24:41

3rd Kristin Daniel

(Whitehorse) - 3:41:53

Open male (50 km)

1st Knute Johnsgaard

(Whitehorse) - 2:38:46

2nd Caelan McLean

(Whitehorse) - 2:44:20

3rd Dominic Bradford

(Whitehorse) - 2:44:29