Yukoners boost Team Canada at World University Games

Three Whitehorse athletes are giving Team Canada a leg up at the Winter World University Games in Trentino, Italy, this week.

Three Whitehorse athletes are giving Team Canada a leg up at the Winter World University Games in Trentino, Italy, this week.

Cross-country skiers Kendra Murray and Lee Hawkings and biathlete Ryan Burlingame are getting some of Canada’s best results in their sports.

It has been a great experience, said Murray and Hawkings, who study at Carleton University in Ottawa.

“The experience has been amazing!” said Murray in an email to the News. “It is an amazing experience to race against so many international athletes, some of which have been on the world cup. Additionally, it has been really interesting to explore the area and investigate many different towns in the surrounding area and get a taste of Italian culture.”

“The experience has been absolutely amazing so far,” said Hawkings in an email. “The venue and location are stunning and the level of competition in cross-country skiing is impressive. It is my first time racing internationally and it is great to be racing against some of the best skiers in the world!

“It is a tremendous honour to be representing Canada at a Games of this scale and it is definitely a highlight of my ski career.”

Murray has finished as the second Canadian in all her individual races thus far.

The 20-year-old took 52nd in the women’s 10-kilometre skiathlon on Dec. 12, 56th in the sprint qualifier last Saturday and 62nd in the five-kilometre free on Tuesday. She also helped Canada’s relay team finish 13th in the women’s 3×5-kilometre relay on Thursday.

“The first race went fairly well,” said Murray. “It was a super tough one, as it was the first race of the season and a big race at that but I am happy with my effort and result.”

Hawkings, 22, was the third Canadian on the team of six in two races, taking 58th in the sprint qualifier last Saturday and 75th in the 10-kilometre free on Tuesday. He also raced to 72nd in the men’s 15-kilometre skiathlon on Dec. 12 and helped the relay team take 16th in the 4×10-kilometre relay on Thursday.

Burlingame, who studies at the University of Alberta, led Team Canada in the 10-kilometre sprint on Sunday, taking 45th.

The 22-year-old shot and skied to 49th in the men’s 20-kilometre last Friday, 48th in the men’s 12.5-kilometre pursuit – as the second Canadian – and helped the team take ninth in the mixed relay on Wednesday.

Burlingame could not be reached for this story.

Also on Canada’s ski team is former Whitehorse resident Mary Waddell as team leader (manager). Waddell lived in Whitehorse for three years until 2007 and worked with Cross Country Yukon.

Murray will compete in the 15-kilometre classic on Friday and Hawkings in a 30-kilometre on Saturday.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com