The medal haul has begun.
After just three days of racing, Whitehorse skiers have won a bevy of medals, including four golds, at the Haywood Ski Nationals this week at Mont Ste-Anne in Quebec.
Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa has already twice climbed the podium.
Nishikawa won gold in senior women’s 10-kilometre free on Tuesday. She finished third in the five-kilometre classic race on Monday, taking silver as the second-fastest Canadian in the national championships. (Only Canadians are eligible for medals at the championships.)
“It’s been really challenging conditions so the results are different from usual,” said Whitehorse head coach Alain Masson. “It’s so soft and so warm – especially today it was 15 (Celsius). The snow is like mashed potatoes. It doesn’t suit every skier’s style.
“Overall it’s been good … We’re looking forward to Saturday’s (long-distance) classic mass start. That should be the next day where we have chances at some good results.”
Monday was a particularly successful one for Whitehorse. In addition to Nishikawa’s silver, Knute Johnsgaard won gold in junior men, Dahria Beatty won gold in junior women and Fabian Brook won gold in junior boys.
Also on Monday, Janelle Greer came seventh for junior women and Kathryn Peters seventh junior girls. In open men, Graham Nishikawa placed sixth and David Greer ninth.
“Fabian Brook winning the gold – it’s his first-ever medal at nationals,” said Masson. “Kathryn Peters has been amazing so far.”
Tuesday’s results also saw Janelle Greer win bronze in the junior women 10-kilometre free and Johnsgaard take fourth in the junior men 15-kilometre free.
David Greer came fifth in the 15-kilometre open men category. Peters came fourth in the junior girls 10-kilometre free.
“That was probably (David Greer’s) best race ever,” said Masson. “He was close to some of the best skiers in Canada – Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw from the national team. The national team came back yesterday (from the World Cup in Europe.)”
The Haywoods opened with team sprints on Saturday. Graham Nishikawa and David Greer captured silver in the open men. They were on their way to a gold when Nishikawa sidestepped a puddle and lost the lead.
Whitehorse skiers occupied three of the top six spots in men’s race. Whitehorse skiers John Parry and Johnsgaard snagged fourth place and Colin Abbott and Ray Sabo crossed the finish line in sixth.
In the open women team sprint, Emily Nishikawa and Janelle Greer were 16 seconds from bronze, taking fifth in the open women category.
The Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club has 18 skiers competing at the Haywoods against 600 of Canada’s best cross-country skiers.
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