The Yukon Ski Team brought a big team to a giant championship last week.
Eight-teen skiers – a big team by Yukon standards – competed at the Eastern Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships near Ottawa.
The championship, held at the Nakkertok ski club, was the largest Haywood NorAm event ever, with just under 800 skiers on the trails.
If the huge turnout was problematical enough, “they had rain and freezing rain the week before, so it made it a bit challenging snow conditions for all the teams,” said Yukon Ski Team head coach Alain Masson.
The Yukon team collected six medals, including two from Dahria Beatty, a member of the national team.
Beatty, 21, won silver in the open women 10-kilometre free last Saturday, just 9.1 seconds behind the gold medalist.
She then sped to gold in the pen female 15-kilometre classic mass start with a time of 46:54.48.
Midget male skier Nichollis Schmidt was Yukon’s other two-time medalist. Schmidt was the only on the team to make the podium in the sprint races on Feb. 5, placing second in the three-kilometre free for skiers born in 2001.
He then picked up a gold in the five-kilometre free (2001) on Saturday and 11th – fourth for his age – in the six-kilometre classic Sunday.
Hannah Deuling added a third medal for Yukon Saturday with silver in the Junior B female five-kilometre free (1999). Deuling also placed fifth in the Junior B female three-kilometre sprint (1999), one spot ahead of teammate Mira Mason, and 11th in the junior female 10-kilometre classic Saturday – fourth for her age.
Yukon’s Knute Johnsgaard was twice edged off the podium with fourth-place finishes, before snatching up a bronze. The national team skier placed third in the open men 20-kilometre classic mass start race on Sunday. He finished in 53:05.7, just 13.46 seconds back from the winner.
Whitehorse’s Kendra Murray, who will compete at the FIS Nordic World Junior/U23 Ski Championships in Romania in a little over a week, placed seventh in the 10-kilometre free and sixth in the 15-kilometre classic in open women.
Yukon’s Simon Cash placed fourth in the sprints and ninth in the 7.5-kilometre free in the junior B (1998) race, and fifth in the junior men 15-kilometre classic.
Racing in open men, Yukon’s Colin Abbott placed ninth in the sprint, sixth in the free race and ninth in the classic race.
Whitehorse’s Caelan McLean placed 25th overall – fourth for his age – in the open men 20-kilometre classic mass start.
Other top Yukon results include: Michael Kischuck fifth in the junior B 7.5-kilometre free (1999); Mira Mason sixth in the junior B female three-kilometre free (1999) and Amanda Thomson sixth and Regan Fuerstner 10th in the same race for 1998; Alexis Gee 10th in the junior B female three-kilometre free (1998); and Hannah Jirousek 17th – 10th for 2000 – in the juvenile female 7.5km classic.
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