For the first time since the Gordon Taylor Trophy was introduced in 1969, three names will be etched on it this year.
The trophy, given to the fastest male and female on the long course at the Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships, will see Kendra Murray added for the female category, and Marcus Deuling and Caelan McLean sharing the honour following a tie between the two junior men skiers at the championships.
Deuling and McLean tied for first with a time of 23 minutes and 54.6 seconds on the 7.5-kilometre course at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club on March 11.
So whose toe really crossed the line first?
“I was just looking at my toe, trying to get it as far forward as I could,” said Deuling. “I think that’s going to be one of those mysteries we never know.”
The race between the two couldn’t have been much closer. Deuling outpaced McLean by 0.7 seconds on the first lap. McLean was 0.1 seconds faster on Lap 2 and 0.6 seconds on Lap 3.
McLean, 19, also won the Gordon Taylor Trophy in 2015.
“Today’s race was fun. It was good to have Marcus in it because we both pushed each other and the tie added some extra excitement,” said McLean. “Marcus and I have been very close in speed for many years and raced many times against each other. Because of this I found it special to be able to share the trophy today.”
It was Deuling’s first time winning the trophy. The 20-year-old recently finished his second season skiing NCAA for the University of Alaska Anchorage.
“It was nice having Caelan out there pushing me and it’s just nice to get out and burn the engines a little,” said Deuling. “We switched leads all the time. He’d try to attack and push me and I’d have to respond. It was fun working together.”
Murray, who was in open women, took the win with a time of 28:41.8. The 23-year-old, who also won the trophy in 2011, has skied for Canada at two world championships — the World University Games in 2013 and the FIS World U23 Championships in 2016.
“It was pretty good. I haven’t done a whole lot of races this year — I haven’t been feeling fantastic — so it was nice to get out and have some fun and it was as fast as I can,” said Murray.
The Gordon Taylor Trophy wasn’t the only award given out following the championship that saw 33 skiers take part in the mass start skate technique races.
Curtis Cash and Kate Mason won the Schiffkorn Trophy as the fastest male and female midget (14-and-under) skiers.
Mason completed the five-kilometre course in 22:46.4 to win by over four minutes. Cash finished in 20:54.6 to win by over three minutes.
McLean won the Schiffkorn Trophy in 2010 and 2011. He and Deuling, who are both members of the Yukon Ski Team, will compete at the Haywood Ski Nationals next week.
Murray will miss the nationals for her first time since 2009.
“I haven’t been feeling well enough to train up to my potential this year, so I wasn’t feeling ready to go to nationals,” said Murray. “It’s kind of sad, but that’s OK.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com
Midget girls (5 km)
1st Kate Mason — 22:46.4
2nd Isla Hupe — 27:19.3
3rd Bella Mouchet — 29:49.8
Midget boys (5 km)
1st Curtis Cash — 20:54.6
2nd Noah Connell — 23:57.3
3rd Mettias Schmidt — 24:51.3
4th Robin Elliot — 25:04.9
Community juvenile girls (2.5 km)
1st Emma Tom Tom — 16:32.9
Juvenile girls (5 km)
1st Sonjaa Schmidt — 21:05.5
2nd Sofia Bond — 23:00.9
3rd Dahlia Lapointe — 23:08.4
Juvenile boys (5 km)
1st Derek Deuling — 16:40.8
2nd Nichollis Schmidt — 17:23.5
3rd Sasha Masson — 18:02.8
4th Victor-Emile Thibeault — 19:12.7
5th Romeo Champagne — 19:52.9
6th Jamie Phillips-Freedman — 20:59.0
7th Jude Slater — 22:35.9
Junior girls (5 km)
1st Amanda Thompson — 20:27.5
2nd Mira Mason — 20:52.9
3rd Regan Fuerstner — 20:53.7
Junior boys (5 km)
1st Michael Kishchuk — 17:39.8
Junior men (7.5 km)
1st Marcus Deuling — 23:54.6
1st Caelan McLean — 23:54.6
Open women (7.5 km)
1st Kendra Murray — 28:41.8
Masters women (7.5 km)
1st Laura Salmon — 35:27.0
Masters men (7.5 km)
1st Brian Horton — 26:49.1
2nd Simon Pulfrey — 27:16.2
3rd Jean-Paul Molgat — 28:03.1
4th Rob McConnell — 29:37.9