The Strathcona Nordics ski club recently travelled with a team of nine athletes from Campbell River and the Comox Valley to Red Deer, Alberta to compete in the Western Canadian Championships.
Over 400 athletes from as far East as Ontario, competed during three days of racing on the weekend of Jan. 29.
The races were held at the River Bend Golf & Recreation area. The host club spent over 300 man-hours preparing the courses and moving snow due to an unusual low snowpack of only 10 cm.
The first day of racing was a distance race using free technique. The Strathcona athletes had no problem with the hilly course winning five medals. Ben Galik (U12) and Carly Ram (U16) both won gold in their age categories. Gillian Galik and Talia MacPhail-McGrady finished second and third respectively for the U14 girls and Gavin Chatterton took the silver medal for the U16 boys.
The second day of racing was a Sprint race, again using free technique. The sprint used a zero-elimination “King’s Court” format. Under this format, men and women are competing head-to-head in heats. The U16 and U18 categories were also combined, making for some intense and challenging heats.
Hugo Henckel used his strength and agility to finish in first for the U18 boys. Rory Bratrud also in U18, qualified in 12th position, but worked his way up the ladder to finish in 10th. Anna Chatterton had a great qualifier finishing in third for U18 women. For the U16 girls Maddie Galik qualified in third and Carly Ram in seventh. Gavin Chatterton (U16) qualified in second place. Gillian Galik demonstrated her speed to take the gold medal in the U14 category. Teammate Talia MacPhail-McGrady (also U14) qualified in fifth position. Ben Galik, the youngest member of the SNSC team, finished with the gold medal for the U12 boys.
The last day of racing was a distance race using Classic technique. The organizers again had to work magic with the grooming and so little snow. The athletes had to be strategic on the course to avoid areas of ice and even some grass.
Hugo Henckel finished with a bronze medal for the U18 boys. Gavin Chatterton won his second silver of the weekend in the U16 category. Gillian Galik finished in first place for the U14 girls and Ben Galik rounded out his weekend with a third gold medal for the U12 boys.
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Campbell Rivercross country skiing