Yukon skiers win two divisions at westerns

Whitehorse's Caelan McLean sometimes uses his full name, Caelan Pangman McLean, when he competes in cross-country skiing.

Whitehorse’s Caelan McLean sometimes uses his full name, Caelan Pangman McLean, when he competes in cross-country skiing.

He does it in honour of his grandfather, Harry Pangman, who competed for Canada in cross-country skiing at the 1932 Olympic Games.

Apparently speed can be hereditary.

McLean was one of two Whitehorse skiers to win a division at the Western Canadian Championships over the weekend in Grande Prairie, Alta.

The other was Dahria Beatty in junior women.

McLean, 15, was the aggregate winner in the juvenile boys division with a fourth-place finish in the short 2.4-kilometre free race followed by two gold in the two distance races.

“It was better than I thought,” said McLean. “The first day I finished fourth and it gave me a sense of how I could do.

“Saturday, that was a bit of a surprise. I was hoping for a medal, but I didn’t quite expect to get gold and win by about 26 seconds.”

“Doing races like that was neat, because … there were like 37 people in my category,” he added. “There’s just so many more people there, especially in the mass-start, compared to Whitehorse where’s there’s like five.”

For the second year in a row, Beatty was a triple gold winner at the westerns.

Beatty, 18, was the top junior woman in all three races and finished 10th overall in the open women division.

“I was happy with the fact that I won junior,” said Beatty. “I wasn’t feeling great, so I was hoping to do a little better against the open women.”

In the sprint, “They combined the senior and junior and only two juniors made it into the B final. So there was just the two of us competing for first (in junior women) … It made it more head-to-head.”

The Yukon’s top skier in the open male division was David Greer in sixth place overall, placing sixth in the sprint, fourth in the classic and eighth in the 30-kilometre free. Greer was joined in the top-10 by Yukon Elite Squad teammates Colin Abbott in ninth and Knute Johnsgaard in 10th overall in the “mini-tour” event.

Elite Squad’s Fabian Brook was seventh overall for junior men.

“I really wanted to be on the podium in the 15-kilometre classic race,” said Greer in an email to the News. “Fifteen-kilometre classics are my best event and there hasn’t been many of them this season so I was looking forward to it. I had a decent race and finished fourth, not quite was I was hoping for but still a decent race nonetheless.

“The 30-kilometre skate didn’t go very well. I haven’t had good luck in 30-kilometres so far this year, my legs felt tired and I just ran out of energy with about five kilometres to go.”

Other strong Yukon results include Marcus Deuling placing fourth in the five-kilometre classic for juvenile boys. Juvenile girl Eliza Paul and junior girl Nahanni Sagar both took in top-20 results.

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