After two days of races, the Yukon cross-country ski team has just one medal from the Arctic Winter Games at the Whitehorse Nordic Centre. But it had a slew of top-10 finishes and the Yukon’s strongest event has yet to come.
“Thursday is our best event – the distance classic,” said Yukon head coach Alain Masson. “That’s usually the best event for Yukon skiers.
“With this bunch, which are the younger, less-experienced athletes, we didn’t expect to win that many medals. But we’ve had some good results. Some of them surprised us (finishing) in the top-10, which is nice to see.”
The Yukon’s only medal thus far is from Fabian Brook, a bronze in Monday’s five-kilometre freestyle race in the junior male event. Brook also took fifth in Tuesday’s 750-metre sprint.
The Yukon’s Holly Bull came close to making the podium, placing fifth on Monday and fourth in the sprint on Tuesday in junior female.
“Fabian and Holly are definitely more experienced. They are ones who travel with us to many of the other events this year,” said Masson.
Though not climbing podium step quite yet, the Yukon’s up-and-comers can see the world is at their feet. The Yukon had a record five skiers compete at the World Junior and U23 Championships in Erzurum, Turkey, just over a week ago. The Arctic Games could be merely a stepping-stone for the young ski team competing for the Yukon this week.
“So far I think it’s been a great experience for some of the younger skiers who are at the event for the first time,” said Masson.
In addition to Brook’s and Bull’s results, juvenile male Caelan Pangman McLean placed ninth and then 13th for the Yukon’s best finish in Tuesday’s race, one spot up from teammate Marcus Deuling.
Junior female Katie Peters finished eighth both days. Juvenile female Eliza Paul claimed 11th for the Yukon’s best finish in her category on Tuesday.
The Yukon’s midgets squeaked into the top-10 as well. Natalie Hynes took 10th before moving up a spot on Tuesday in midget female. Simon Cash raced to 10th Monday and Ian Hogeboom-Burr captured seventh in the sprints for males.
Thursday’s classic distance event is 10 kilometres for juniors, 7.5 for juveniles and 2.5 for midgets. Relay races take place Friday.
Both Brook and Bull will be representing the Yukon once again at the Haywood Ski Nationals, the Canadian championships, beginning March 17 at Mont Ste. Anne in Quebec.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org