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Canadian Nationals in Thunder Bay: Day 2-4 Recap (Updated)

 

In what could be the last sprint of her career, Perianne Jones (AWCA/NST-Dev. B), 30, celebrates her classic-sprint victory on Wednesday at 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals at the Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

In what could be the last sprint of her career, Perianne Jones (AWCA/NST-Dev. B), 30, celebrates her classic-sprint victory on Wednesday at 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals at the Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

(Note: This post has been updated to include comments from Michael Somppi.)

On Sunday, the second day of racing at 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ontario, local favorite Michael Somppi of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian National Development Team, originally from Lappe Nordic, racked up his second-straight gold in the men’s 10-kilometer freestyle interval start on his home trails. He beat his Lappe Nordic team-sprint teammate Andy Shields by 34.3 seconds to do so with a winning time of 23:09.4.

“The 10km skate was my best performance of the year,” Somppi wrote in an email. “I wanted the win and I started the race like it was a sprint qualifier. The conditions were fast and I did my best to keep my speed high on the faster sections of the course.”

While Shields, of NDC Thunder Bay, posted the fifth-ranked time at 5 k, he closed hard over the second half of the race to finish second ahead of Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST-Dev.) in third (+38.4).

“I didn’t let up much on my first 5km lap, then I dug super deep to hang on in the second 5km lap,” Somppi explained. ” I actually took a small fall cresting over the last big climb less than a km from the finish when I skied too close to the edge of the trail and my tip got caught in the snow bank.  It only cost me maybe 6 seconds, but it felt like an eternity trying to back up and get my ski  tip out of the snow when my legs were so lactated.

“It was tense moments waiting after I finished to see if anyone would beat my time since I was an early starter,” he added. “I was both elated and relieved when I heard I had won. It was an amazing weekend claiming the team sprint title with Andy, then winning my first National title.”

Dahria Beatty (AWCA/NST-U23) won the women’s 5 k freestyle by 3.7 seconds over Perianne Jones (AWCA/NST-Dev. B) with a top time of 13:23.4. Andrea Dupont, of Rocky Mountain Racers (RMR), placed third (+9.1)

  • Day 2: Results (scroll down for open women/men)

On Day 3, Tuesday in Thunder Bay, World Cup regulars Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST-Dev.) and Ivan Babikov (AWCA/NST-WCT) thrived on a blustery and -6 degree Celsius day to win the 10/15 k classic interval starts at Lappe Nordic.

Nishikawa started hard, building a 25-second lead over Jones on the first 5 k lap, but Jones cut the deficit to 2.3 seconds at the finish. Nishikawa won in 31:36.2, Jones took her second silver from 2015 nationals (following a second-place finish in the team sprint), and Cendrine Browne (CNEPH/NST-U23) was third (+1:04.7)

In the men’s 15 k, Babikov skied seven seconds faster than AWCA teammate Graeme Killick (NST-Dev. B) over the first 7.5 k and ended up 25.8 seconds ahead of him at the finish with a winning time of 38:31.2. Killick placed second, and Laval University’s Frédéric Touchette finished third (+37.1).

Wednesday brought colder temperatures, into the minus teens, under blue skies for the Day 4 classic sprints.

Jess Cockney (AWCA/NST-Dev. B) celebrates his classic-sprint win at 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals on Wednesday at Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

Jess Cockney (AWCA/NST-Dev. B) celebrates his classic-sprint win at 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals on Wednesday at Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

Jones and Jess Cockney (AWCA/NST-Dev. B) dominated their respective finals, with Jones winning the 1.5 k women’s sprint by 2.12 seconds over teammate Alysson Marshall (AWCA/NST-Dev.) and 4.25 seconds ahead of Dupont in third.

According to Cross Country Canada, it was likely the last sprint of Jones’ career. She narrowly edged Anita Kirvesniemi, of the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., to win her semifinal by 0.02 seconds. Both advanced to the final, where Kirvesniemi placed fourth (+4.78). Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt was fifth (+10.59), and Beatty crashed early to place sixth (+16.22).

In the men’s 1.6 k final, Cockney bested men’s runner-up Julien Locke (Black Jack) by 3.51 seconds and Norway’s Håkon Hjelstuen, of Michigan Tech University, by 3.66 seconds for his first individual win of the week.

Raphaël Couturier (CNEPH) placed fourth (+3.83), Bob Thompson (NDC Thunder Bay) finished fifth (+3.92), and Simon Lapointe (QC Ski Team) was sixth (+13.12).

Racing continues Thursday with the 1.2 k classic sprints for the juvenile and junior categories, followed by the 30/50 k freestyle mass starts on Saturday.

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