After only two days of racing, Whitehorse skiers have captured five medals at the 2016 Haywood Ski Nationals, being held all week at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club.
It’s good to be back racing on her home trails, said Emily Nishikawa, who has captured two gold medals so far.
“It is so fun to be racing on my home course. It was another great race, and I’m super happy to win my second gold medal in my home town. The volunteers are doing an amazing job, and it is a real pleasure to race here,” she said in a press release.
The Whitehorse team, which won a total of eight medals at last year’s nationals, skied to four medals in Sunday’s individual start classic technique races.
Nishikawa, a 2012 Olympian, won gold in the senior women’s five-kilometre with a time of 14:47.7.
Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty took the silver just 6.3 seconds behind Nishikawa.
“It was a lot of fun today and I just love this course,” said Beatty, also in a release. “I love racing five-Ks so I went out hard. It was awesome to do well, and to be on the podium with Emily.”
Whitehorse’s Kendra Murray notched an eighth place finish with a time of 16:36.5.
Whitehorse’s Knute Johnsgaard, who is on the national development team with Nishikawa and Beatty, won the bronze in the senior men’s 10-kilometre at 25:59.3. Olympian Alex Harvey of Quebec took the gold and World Cup veteran Lenny Valjas of Toronto took the silver, just 17 seconds ahead of Johnsgaard.
Whitehorse’s Natalie Hynes added another gold in the junior girls five-kilometre race. She crossed the finish line with a time of 16:27.0 in a tight race with the top seven racers finishing within a minute of each other.
Amanda Thomson came within a couple seconds of adding a fifth medal for the Whitehorse club. Thomson placed fourth in the juvenile girls five-kilometre classic, just 13.7 seconds behind the gold medalist and 1.6 seconds behind the bronze winner.
Nishikawa and Murray teamed up for gold in Saturday’s team sprints with room to spare. They won the open women’s event, completing the 8.4-kilometre course in 21:44.314, 1:08.404 in front of the second-place team from Quebec’s Nakkertok club.
Johnsgaard and Whitehorse teammate Colin Abbott took sixth in the open men’s race, just 6.679 seconds behind the winners from Alberta’s Foothills Nordic Ski Club.
Hynes and Hannah Deuling placed fifth in the challenge girls team sprint and Michael Kischuk and Simon Cash claimed eighth in the challenge boys event – both as Whitehorse’s top teams in each division.
Monday is a training day with no races. The individual start free technique races will get rolling at Tuesday 10 a.m.
This week’s cross-country ski championships includes over 470 top skiers and 100 coaches from 30 ski clubs from across Canada.
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