Comp Canada

U.S. Skiers In­vade Canada as Sea­son Gets Un­der­way

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Julie Me­lan­son

Dec. 10-11 - Sov­er­eign Lake, B.C.

The Hay­wood No­ram Buff Sprints started off the Cana­dian com­pe­ti­tions at Sov­er­eign Lake Nordic Cen­tre, which also dou­bled as Round Two of the USSA Su­per­tour. The strong Amer­i­can con­tin­gency led on Day One, with Ju­lia Kern (Strat­ton Mountain School [SMS] T2) win­ning the Open Women's 1.2 CL sprint and Reese Han­ne­man (APU) tak­ing the vic­tory in the Open Men's race.

In the women's sprints, El­iz­a­beth Guiney and Kait­lynn Miller, both of Crafts­bury Green Rac­ing Project (CGRP), rounded out the U.S. podium, edg­ing out Cana­dian Olivia Bouf­fard-nes­bitt (Al­berta World Cup Acad­emy [AWCA]), who was the top qual­i­fier by more than two sec­onds. In the fi­nal, Bouf­fard-nes­bitt had a large lead at the top of the sad­dle climb and main­tained that to the fin­ish­ing straight, where the three Amer­i­can skiers over­pow­ered her in the dou­ble-pole dash to the fin­ish.

Han­ne­man saved his sprint legs for the fi­nal round. Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing 15th, he raced his way back to the top, lead­ing a U.S. podium sweep in the men's race, fol­lowed by Cole Mor­gan (Sun Val­ley Ski Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion Sun Val­ley [SVSEF]) and Ben Sax­ton (SMS Elite Team). A big semi­fi­nal crash left An­toine Briand (CNEPH/SKIBEC) as the only Cana­dian in the A Fi­nal, end­ing up sixth.

In the ju­nior women's race, Han­nah Me­hain (Sov­er­eign Lake) dom­i­nated the qual­i­fier by 6.3 sec­onds and com­fort­ably won all three heats to take her first win of the sea­son. Gareth Wil­liams (Tele­mark) fol­lowed suit in the ju­nior men's race, win­ning the qual­i­fier and all three heats.

On Day Two at Sov­er­eign Lake at -10°C with light fall­ing snow, the women's In­ter­val-start 10km skate saw Chelsea Holmes (APU) com­ing away with the win, 36 sec­onds ahead of Erika Flow­ers (SMS), who was fol­lowed four sec­onds later by Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) in third.

The U.S. dom­i­nated the podium in the se­nior men's races as Scott Pat­ter­son gave APU an­other win in the men's 15km skate event, pow­ered by a blaz- ing-fast open­ing lap. He fin­ished 13 sec­onds ahead of Matt Gelso (SVSEF). In third place, Tad El­liott (Vail) crossed the line 13 sec­onds later. The top Cana­dian was Rus­sell Kennedy (Can­more Nordic) in ninth.

In the ju­niors, U.S. sen­sa­tion Katharine Og­den (SMS) won the race in a time that placed her sec­ond in Open Women's. Philippe Boucher (Skibec) was the top ju­nior man.

Dec. 16-18 - Ross­land, B.C.

It was a chilly day of ap­prox­i­mately -15°C in Ross­land, B.C. as the ath­letes headed out on Day One of the Hay­wood No­ram mini-tour. With a 10/15km In­ter­val-start skate race on the pro­gram, it was a good test to see who could push them­selves against the clock, in what could be quite slow con­di­tions.

While the U.S. contin­gent was sparse com­pared to the pre­vi­ous week­end at Sov­er­eign Lake, it still set the stan­dard in the women's race as Holmes skied to a 50-sec­ond lead in the first 5km, to win by 1 minute, 49 sec­onds over Flow­ers.

Bouf­fard-nes­bitt re­tained her po­si­tion as the top Cana­dian on the Con­ti­nen­tal Cup leader board, with a bronze. Com­ing in as the sec­ond and third Cana­di­ans were ju­nior An­nika Richard­son (Holly­burn) and Kather­ine Ste­wart-jones (Nakker­tok).

In the ju­nior women's race, Richard­son was the top skier, with a 39-sec­ond lead over Me­hain. Natalie Hynes (White­horse) was third.

In the men's 15km FR race, Kennedy had a fast open­ing lap, but it was Evan Palmer-charette (Lappe Nordic-ntdc Tbay) who skied away to a 31-sec­ond win on the fi­nal 10km. In third was Erik Car­leton (Rocky Mountain Rac­ers).

Wil­liams was the top ju­nior man once again, 13 sec­onds ahead of Boucher and 22 sec­onds ahead of Reed God­frey (Can­more Nordic).

An­other chilly day of - 15° C greeted skiers for the next round of the Hay­wood No­ram Buff skate sprints that took place at Black Jack Ski Club. In the morn­ing qual­i­fiers, Bouf­fard- Nes­bitt and U. S. sprint star Andy Newell ( SMS) set the per­for­mance stan­dard. Newell, one of the top World Cup sprint­ers, was more than five sec­onds ahead of Si­mon La­pointe ( Ski­nouk).

In the heats and semis, Bouf­fard-nes­bitt and Flow­ers bat­tled, with Flow­ers com­ing out on top by half a sec­ond in the finals. Ste­wart-jones edged Holmes for third.

The men's semis saw some great com­pe­ti­tion as both top three's were sep­a­rated by less than a sec­ond. The fi­nal looked to be a close con­test, but the vet­eran World Cup skier Newell came through with a one-sec­ond win over Julien Locke (Black Jack) and Palmer-charette who were sep­a­rated by 5/100ths of a sec­ond. Third was Kennedy.

In the ju­nior women's class, it was Bend, Ore.'s Maya Seckinger (Bend En­durance Acad­emy) who claimed the win, while God­frey dom­i­nated the ju­nior men's race, a sec­ond ahead of Wil­liams.

The fi­nal day of the Hay­wood No­ram fea­tured a Pursuit-start Clas­sic race de­ter­min­ing the mini-tour cham­pion. On the women's side, Holmes led 1.37 sec­onds over Flow­ers and Bouf­fard-nes­bitt was an­other 43 sec­onds back.

In the men's race, Palmer-charette showed his strength with a com­fort­able 40-sec­ond lead over Kennedy, and fin­ished ahead of Newell al­most an­other 30 sec­onds back.

The U.S. skiers dom­i­nated the podium over the first two days, but on the fi­nal day, it was Ste­wart-jones who climbed to the top of the podium for Canada with a six-sec­ond vic­tory over Holmes in the 10km Pursuit race. Flow­ers was 48 sec­onds back, less than a sec­ond ahead of Richard­son, who was the sec­ond-best Canuck.

The se­nior men's 15km Pursuit race was won by Alexis Du­mas (Skibec), fol­lowed by Jack Car­lyle (Soo Fin­nish) and Car­leton.

Hynes won the ju­nior women's cat­e­gory and Wil­liams won the ju­nior men's race.

In the fi­nal Hay­wood No­ram mini-tour stand­ings, it was Holmes win­ning for the women's over­all and Palmer-charette tak­ing the men's ti­tle. In the over­all se­ries stand­ings, Ste­wart-jones leads the women, while Palmer-charette is the fron­trun­ner for the men.

(above) APU'S Reese Han­ne­man cruised to vic­tory in the Open Men's CL sprint race at Sov­er­eign Lake, B.C., with Cole Mor­gan (SVSEF) in sec­ond and Ben Sax­ton (SMS) in third.

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