West­ern Cana­dian Cham­pi­onships

SkiTrax - - News - By Jenn Jack­son

Mild weather greeted ath­letes for the Cana­dian West­ern Cham­pi­onships at the River­bend Re­cre­ation Area in Red Deer, Alta. from Jan. 19-21. The fourth stop for the 2017-18 No­ram, the cir­cuit also dou­bled as a test event for the 2019 Canada Win­ter Games.

In the open­ing skate sprint, Olivia Bouf­fard-nes­bitt (Fon­deurs Lau­ren­tides/rocky Moun­tain Rac­ers) won both qual­i­fy­ing and fi­nal rounds ahead of Zina Kocher (Foothills Nordic) and An­nika Hicks (Canmore NORDIC/AIAWCA). Rus­sell Kennedy (Canmore Nordic) had the top time for the men, ahead of Jesse Cock­ney (Foothills Nordic), but the fi­nal would see their places re­versed, as Cock­ney took the win ahead of Kennedy and Pa­trick Ste­wart-jones (Nakker­tok).

Day Two saw rac­ing ac­tion un­fold with Clas­sic Mass Starts. A lead group of nine skiers formed in the men’s 15km af­ter lap one, but a steady pace grad­u­ally saw ath­letes falling off un­til only Kennedy, Cock­ney, Andy Shields (Lappe Nordic) and Scott Hill (Bar­rie XC) re­mained head­ing out for the fi­nal lap. At the line, it was Shields with a nine-sec­ond gap over Kennedy and Hill, but the re­sults were later re­vised and Hill dis­qual­i­fied for wear­ing the wrong bib, giv­ing Cock­ney third place. Commissaires were crack­ing down this week­end, hand­ing out writ­ten rep­ri­mands to 15 of 42 men in the race.

The three main pro­tag­o­nists from Friday’s sprint re­turned to the fore in the women’s 10km Mass Start. Bouf­fard-nes­bitt, Kocher and Hicks re­mained to­gether, along with Lau­rence Du­mais (Founders Lau­ren­tides/aiawca) un­til things started to heat up to­ward the end of the race. Hicks made a de­ci­sive fi­nal move to take her first No­ram win of the sea­son. She was fol­lowed closely by Bouf­fard-nes­bitt and Kocher 23 sec­onds back. Af­ter two days of in­tense In­di­vid­ual-start rac­ing, vis­it­ing Team BC took a slim 130-point lead of 3,337 to Al­berta’s 3,207 go­ing into the fi­nal day of com­pe­ti­tions for the West­ern Cham­pi­onship ti­tle. Saskatchewan was in third with 484 points aided on Day Two by a strong Para-nordic show­ing.

The Open Men’s race ini­tially saw a close com­pe­ti­tion be­tween On­tario and B.C. in the skate three-per­son re­lays. On the fi­nal leg, how­ever, it was day-be­fore win­ner On­tario’s Andy Shields (Lappe Nordic) who skied to the win by a 20-sec­ond mar­gin over B.C.’S Greg Kil­roy (Tele­mark). Al­berta took the bronze. Shields was joined on the On­tario team by Hill (Bar­rie XC) and Michael Somppi (Lappe Nordic).

The Open Women’s race was dom­i­nated by the Al­berta team of Hicks ( Canmore NORDIC/AIAWCA), Kocher (Foothills Nordic) and Emma Cam­i­ci­oli (Rocky Moun­tain Rac­ers). A young B.C. team fin­ished sec­ond, while Al­berta also had the third-fastest team across the line.

The fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion of the Hay­wood No­ram West­ern Cana­dian Cham­pi­onships came down to the wire, and had to wait un­til the end of the day af­ter the Mid­get re­lays were com­pleted. Af­ter the rac­ing con­cluded, Al­berta came back strong to be crowned 2018 cham­pi­ons with an 80-point lead over B.C.

Se­nior men's 15km CL podium

Se­nior women's 15km 10km15km CL podium

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.