Whitehorse skiers were scooping up medals in B.C. while another posted a season-best result on the World Cup scene over the weekend.
Yukon Ski Team’s Dahria Beatty, Knute Johnsgaard and Natalie Hynes climbed the podium for the second weekend in a row at the Haywood NorAm and Buff Sprints at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in Vernon, B.C.
On the other side of the pond, Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa skied to 39th for her best finish on the FIS World Cup circuit this season.
“It was a good couple of weekends,” said Beatty. “I was able to win with a nice big margin on Sunday, which is a nice way to finish the 2015 racing.”
The 21-year-old placed seventh in the senior women’s free sprint Saturday and then captured her third gold in two weekend by winning the women’s 10-kilometre free on Sunday. She claimed first with over 30 seconds to spare, clocking a time of 30:30.2 in the individual-start race.
“I was the fourth last starter, so my coaches were able to give me splits on the rest of the field, other than the people behind me,” said Beatty. “At five kilometres they told me I was 20 seconds ahead of everyone else and I was able to expand that lead.
“I knew I was having a good race and that helped me to keep pushing harder.”
Johnsgaard claimed two medals with bronze in the senior men’s sprint Saturday and silver in the 15-kilometre free Sunday at 39:43.2.
“I was getting splits throughout most of the race that I was in second or third place,” said Johnsgaard. “I was happy to finish second.”
Hynes, who collected three medals in three races in a NorAm the previous weekend, won silver in the junior girls five-kilometre free on Sunday – just 6.6 seconds behind first place. She also claimed fifth in Saturday’s junior girls sprint race.
Other Yukon results from Saturday include Colin Abbott placing 14th in the senior men’s sprint and Kendra Murray 15th in the senior women’s sprint. On Sunday Simon Cash placed 12th in the junior boys 10-kilometre free, Hannah Deuling 15th in the junior girls five-kilometre free, and Annah Hanthorn 20th in the women’s 10-kilometre free.
Nishikawa cracked the top-40 for her first time this season with 39th in the women’s 15-kilometre individual start skate-ski race on Saturday in Davos, Switzerland. The 26-year-old, who is the lone Canadian woman on the World Cup circuit, finished in 35:40.3. Her previous best on the season was 52nd in the 15-kilometre skiathlon in Norway on Dec. 5.
With their pockets full of NorAm medals, Beatty and Johnsgaard will next put their speed to the test in Europe.
Early in the New Year the two will race in the Continental Cup series (OPA Cup) followed by FIS World Cup races later in January.
“I feel like I’ve made a lot of improvements in my skiing technique this year, so I’m excited to see if that can transfer over to international competition,” said Beatty. “The World Cups are always so competitive, it’ll be amazing to get more experience and stay in the mix as long as possible.”
“I’m really happy. I’ve felt strong every weekend of racing so far and everything is right on schedule,” said Johnsgaard. “Now I get the opportunity to go to Europe. So I’m hoping everything stays on track, I stay healthy, and if all goes well I should be en route to good results in Europe. That’s what counts for big marbles.”
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