Competitors come around the final curve at the Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Skiing Championships.

Medals galore for local cross country ski racers

The Strathcona Nordics Junior Race Team recently travelled to Callaghan Valley to compete at the Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Skiing Championships. Junior racers, aged 13 to 17, were excited to be skiing on the 2010 Olympic courses in a field of over 300 competitors from across Canada including current National Team athletes.

Their racers poured it on and came away with many top 10 finishes in the three-day event.

In the 1km skate sprint on day 1, Gabe Gledhill of Cumberland dominated with a gold medal and Aiden Noble of Courtenay took silver in the juvenile boys category. In the girls juvenile race, Amelia Wells of Victoria placed fifth and Emmy Stapff of Campbell River seventh. In the junior boys category, on a 1.2km sprint course, both Ross Lamon of Comox and Tallon Noble of Courtenay earned silver medals in their respective age groups.

On day two in the classic style 7.5km race, Gabe Gledhill earned a bronze, with Aiden Noble close behind in fourth and Stephen Lamon of Comox in sixth.  In the juvenile girls classic 5km race, Emma Wong of Courtenay placed seventh, Emmy Stapff ninth and Amelia Wells tenth.

The final day of competition was an inter-provincial relay with B.C. aiming to be the best in the west. With many of the Nordics on top 10 teams, B.C. did indeed dominate the provincial standings. In the junior division, Tallon Noble’s team took home a gold medal with Ross Lamon and Gabe Gledhill earning silver. In the juvenile boys division, Aiden Noble was part of the silver medal team while Stephen Lamon was fifth, Joe Winkelaar of Courtenay eighth and Zander Swift of Comox tenthh.  Among the girls in the juvenile division, Amelia Wells finished her weekend with a fourth place finish and Emmy Stapff tenth.

Not to be outdone by the juniors, Nordics masters women came away with an excellent weekend of results with four top 10 finishes. In the 7.5km classic race, Marilyn Atkinson of Royston won gold, Chris Bowlby of Courtenay silver, Lynn Swift of Comox sixth and Marika Galik of Royston seventh.

“Strathcona Nordics are racing extremely well this season, thanks to an intensive dry-land training season last summer and fall, and excellent snow conditions on the nordic trails of Mt. Washington this winter,” said assistant coach Brad Fraser. “At this race I observed some of our junior racers keeping the same pace as National Ski Team champions. It was thrilling to see.”

This was one of the largest contingents of racers to travel to an off-island race. The team is grateful to head wax technician Stewart Lamon of Comox.

“He nailed the waxing, despite changeable snow conditions,” said Head Coach Andrea Stapff. “I was thrilled with the performance of our racers at Westerns. They’ve been training extremely hard and their results are proof. Many will be heading off to compete at the Eastern Canadian Championships in Ottawa next. Racing will be intense but they are ready to pour it on again.”

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