Avalon Wasteneys of Campbell River (318) sprints across the finish line in the Junior Girls finals at the XC Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay.

Nordics shine at cross-country ski Nationals

Black Creek's Andrea Lee posts pair of top-10 finishes to lead eight-member delegation in elite competition

Campbell River, Black Creek, and the Comox Valley were well represented at the recent 2015 cross-country Ski Nationals held in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Eight athletes, all members of the Strathcona Nordics race team, made the trip and enjoyed a week of intense, high-caliber racing against the best skiers from across the country, including several National Team and World Cup racers.

Andrea Lee from Black Creek, currently training with Michigan Tech University, had an excellent week. Lee’s top performances include a ninth-place finish in the Open Women’s mass start skate and a sixth place in the Open Women’s team sprint with Avalon Wasteneys of Campbell River, who raced up in the Open Women’s category. Wasteneys also rounded out her week with an excellent performance in the Junior Girl’s classic sprint, placing top 12 in a strong field of Junior girls.

On the men’s side, Alec Stapff of Campbell River, currently training with the WinSport Jr cross-country ski team in Canmore, Alberta, skied a strong race to finish in the top 20 in the Junior Men’s classic sprint race. Stapff also teamed with Courtenay’s Tallon Noble in the team sprint, where they had the opportunity to race along side current National Team skiers fresh off the European race circuit.

Noble, a very talented up-and-coming racer, had the race of the week in Juvenile Boys mass start skate. After an equipment breakage shortly after the start of the race put him at the back of the field of more than 70 racers, he clawed his way back into contention and finished a very gutsy race in 13th place. Earlier in the week, Noble put in two seventh-place finishes in the Juvenile Boy’s skate and classic distance races.

Rounding out the team were Juvenile racers Connor McGrady and Ross Lamon of Comox and Madeleine Guimond and Maya Swift of Courtenay. All four athletes showed constant improvement thought out the week coming away with solid performances in their first event of this nature and calibre.

“It was an incredible week,” said Head coach Andrea Stapff. “I’m so proud of our athletes, they all showed grit and poise throughout the week and were true ambassadors of our sport and our club and island”.