It shouldn’t be any surprise that a Yukoner is producing Canada’s strongest results at the Junior World Orienteering Championships. More than half the team is made up of Yukoners.
Four of the seven athletes representing Canada at the championships this week in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, are from the territory.
The four Yukoners are Kendra Murray, Jennifer MacKeigan and Pia Blake for the females and Trevor Bray for the males. It is the first time Yukon has had four athletes on the junior national team. Yukon had three athletes last year – including Murray and Bray – and three in 2003, 2005, and 2006 as well.
After two events, Murray has twice cracked the top-100 as the top Canadian.
Murray, who is in her third and last junior worlds, placed 99th out of 147 competitors in the long distance event on Monday. She then took 19th in the B final (79th overall) in the middle distance event on Wednesday.
“It’s a mixed bag as to how I feel,” said Murray in an email to the News. “I am definitely happy that I am improving on my results and races! However, I also know that there have been silly mistakes made in all these races, and therefore know I could be doing better! A tad bit frustrating.
“But, overall, these results encourage me to train harder, as I know that I can run with the girls here, and I would do that much better if I could clean up my races, even just a little bit.”
Blake, the youngest Yukoner on the team, placed 120th in the long and 13th in the C final of the middle.
MacKeigan, who like Blake is in her first worlds, took 139th in the long and 52nd in the B final of the middle.
Bray, who is eligible to compete at two more junior worlds, came 153rd on Monday and 41st in the C final on Wednesday.
The championships will wrap up Saturday with relay races. Canada’s female relay team might as well be called Yukon’s relay team since all three racers are from the territory.
Up next is the sprint event on Friday.
“I am excited and slightly nervous,” said Murray. “Based on the training we have done here, I have a feeling that this sprint will be very technical as well as physical. This means that I’ll have to keep my wits about me and focus on the technical aspects, not just on pushing myself physically. Last year my best individual result was in the sprint, so we’ll see! It will be fun anyways!”
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