Rac­ing the clock

Two Martock rac­ers ad­vanc­ing to U14 Can-Ams in Maine

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY ASH­LEY THOMP­SON KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Ash­ley.Thomp­son@kingscountynews.ca

Two ski rac­ers train­ing out of Hants County are about to find out how they stack up against the best of the best in their class within the east­ern di­vi­sions of Canada and the United States.

Martock Ski Race Club rac­ers Mitchell Larkin and Shane Som­mer will ad­vance to U14 East­ern Can-Am Cham­pi­onships at Su­gar­loaf Moun­tain in Maine from March 29 to April 1 after record­ing solid sea­sons in the At­lantic cir­cuit.

Larkin was thrilled to re­ceive word that he’d be rep­re­sent­ing At­lantic Canada at the high- level event. “It’s been what I was push­ing for all sea­son,” the 14-year-old Lower Vaughan res­i­dent said in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“It was very ex­cit­ing.”

The King’s-Edge­hill School stu­dent is out on the snow ev­ery day of the week when­ever pos­si­ble. He started the sea­son off with a de­ci­sion put more em­pha­sis on hav­ing fun with ev­ery race, rather than fix­at­ing on per­fect tech­ni­cal runs.

“It’s about the ex­pe­ri­ences,” he said.

Strong sea­son

Larkin is no stranger to the podium. He counts a first-place fin­ish in a gi­ant slalom event hosted dur­ing a speed camp at Crabbe Moun­tain, N.B. among the high­lights of his lat­est ski sea­son.

Over­com­ing nerves in or­der to fo­cus in a high-pres­sure race is all part of the rush, Larkin said.

“You’re ac­tu­ally try­ing to chan­nel out a lot of the other stuff that’s go­ing on in your life… it’s just you against the clock and you’re not re­ally think­ing about any­thing else.”

Larkin sus­pects the com­peti­tors hail­ing from ar­eas with big­ger moun­tains closer to home might have more ex­pe­ri­ence on the larger slopes un­der their belts go­ing into Can-Ams, but he ex­pects Martock’s rac­ers will be able to gain some ground on the flats.

Re­gard­less of the out­come, Larkin is con­fi­dent the ex­pe­ri­ence will prove ben­e­fi­cial as he works to­ward con­tin­u­ally evolv­ing as a com­pet­i­tive ski racer.

“We get to ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter rac­ing, bet­ter snow, a bet­ter hill, bet­ter pitch,” he said, not­ing that his coaches with the Martock pro­gram have pro­vided help­ful point­ers to aid in his de­vel­op­ment ev­ery stretch of the way.

“It’s great to have some con­nec- tions from peo­ple who have been rac­ing a long time,” he said.

Sec­ond time at Can-Ams

Som­mer, a racer hail­ing from Port Wil­liams, will be at­tend­ing Can-Ams for a sec­ond time.

“You’re ex­posed to rac­ing against guys that are bet­ter and guys that are stronger and dif-

fer­ent… there is al­ways sort of an un­known ele­ment to it,” he said, not­ing that they are not as fa­mil­iar with the com­pe­ti­tion at the larger events as they are dur­ing an At­lantic com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s a lot dif­fer­ent than our cir­cuit here. The ath­letes here don’t in­ter­act as much.”

The 13-year-old has ded­i­cated count­less hours to dry­land and on­snow train­ing, and he’s happy with the re­sults he’s earned this win­ter.

“This sea­son I’ve been re­ally lucky and I’ve just had a lot of good fin­ishes,” he said.

Som­mer is go­ing into the big com­pe­ti­tion in Maine know­ing that he’s gained some solid skills through­out the lat­est rac­ing se­ries.

“I just try and take it as easy as pos­si­ble and not re­ally over­think it, just treat it as I would any other event,” he said of Can-Ams.

Thom Oul­ton, a par­ent-coach with the Martock Ski Race Club, praises Larkin and Som­mer as hard-work­ing ath­letes with ex­cep­tional at­ti­tudes.

“They en­cour­age each other to do bet­ter than where they’re at, and it’s fun to watch,” he said.

“It’s be con­tin­u­ous, steady im­prove­ment.”

Oul­ton is ex­cited both rac­ers have an op­por­tu­nity to face come new com­pe­ti­tion at Su­gar­loaf.

“They should be in for a pretty good com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

“The pool of ath­letes there is re­ally the top ath­letes for their age group in East­ern Canada and the (East­ern) United States.”

Oul­ton said he’s thor­oughly en­joyed work­ing with such ded­i­cated rac­ers.

“It’s re­ally a plea­sure. They are real keen­ers. They come to the hill ready to go at what­ever the task is that you have laid out for them - and it re­ally shows.”

SUB­MIT­TED

Martock Ski Race Club ath­letes Mitchell Larkin, left, and Shane Som­mer, right, will soon cap off a strong sea­son with a Can-Am com­pe­ti­tion at Maine’s Su­gar­loaf Moun­tain.

SUB­MIT­TED

Mitchell Larkin of Lower Vaughan will rep­re­sent the Martock Ski Race Club will soon make his Can-Am de­but.

SUB­MIT­TED

Shane Som­mer of Port Wil­liams is pre­par­ing for his re­turn to the U14 East­ern Can-Am Cham­pi­onships.

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