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Canadian Nationals: Somppi, Browne Take 50/30 k Titles

 

Michael Somppi (AWCA-NST) celebrates his 50 k freestyle win at the 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals on Saturday at Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

Michael Somppi (AWCA-NST) celebrates his 50 k freestyle win at the 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals on Saturday at Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

Saturday marked the final day of racing at the 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ontario. With temperatures dropping into the minus teens, under blue skies and strong winds, local favorite Michael Somppi of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian National Development Team, originally from Lappe Nordic, racked up his third gold medal in the men’s 50-kilometer freestyle mass start.

Somppi beat veteran and 2014 champion Ivan Babikov of the Canadian World Cup Team by 28.2 seconds in 2:05:18.8. Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST-Dev.) came in third (+47.2).

“I felt great skiing today,” Somppi wrote in an email. “It was a hard race but I was surprised I was able to win without going to my absolute limit. It was just an amazing feeling coming into the finish with the home crowd cheering me on. Maybe that’s what helped me feel so good today and really, this whole week.”

By the 20 k mark, the peloton narrowed down to a small group. Babikov then launched an attack with around 15 k to go. “I knew Ivan would make a strong decisive attack somewhere towards the latter stages of the race and my plan was to do my best to follow,” Somppi explained.

“He made his attack around 37 k into the race, I pushed hard with Graeme Killick to follow. We were both able to stay with him initially, but Graeme started to fade so I went by him and skied right up behind Ivan,” he continued. “The rest of the way, it was down to the two of us, exchanging the lead. When we neared the final kms, it was apparent Ivan’s legs were cramping up and as we crested over the second last big climb, I noticed I had a small gap on him. So I just blasted with everything I had left and opened up a good margin to the finish line.”

After traveling and competing on the World Cup circuit for the past weeks, Babikov explained he was not able to fully recover for Saturday’s long-distance race.

Cendrine Browne (CNEPH/NST-U23) edging out Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST-Dev.) in the women's 30 k freestyle mass start. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

Cendrine Browne (CNEPH/NST-U23) edging out Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST-Dev.) in the women’s 30 k freestyle mass start. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

“Race plan was to save as much energy as possible and push the pace hard on the last two laps, which I did but my legs were feeling very tired from the beginning,” Babikov wrote in an email. “On the last 2 k, my legs just gave up on me, started cramping very badly so I even had to double pole some sections. I feel like travel and all 180 k of racing that I’ve done in the past four weeks finally caught up to me.”

On the women’s side, Cendrine Browne of the Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre (CNEPH) and national U23 team took gold in the 30 k mass start with a time of 1:23:02.4, edging out Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST-Dev.) by inches (+0.37). Dahria Beatty (AWCA/NST-U23) finished third, 6.1 seconds after Browne.

The three women and Andrea Dupont of Rocky Mountain Racers (RMR) quickly distanced themselves from the pack. On the final lap, Browne and Nishikawa sprinted for first in a photo finish.

Browne was the bronze medalist in Tuesday’s 10 k classic race.

  • 30/50 k freestyle mass start: Results

– François Léger Dionne

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.

Lappe Nordic, RMR Claim Team Sprint Titles at Canadian Nationals

The Lappe Nordic team of Andy Shields and Michael Somppi won the team sprint at the 2015 Canadian Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The pair won Saturday’s race with a time of 14:04.59. They were followed by the Foothills Nordic team of Jess Cockney and Kevin Sandau, who trailed by 2.53 seconds. In third were Colin Abbott and Knute Johnsgaard of Whitehorse. They crossed the line 5.85 seconds behind the winning time.

“Somppi and I had a really good day,” Shields wrote in an email. “Our strategy was to have me push hard on the second and third legs to get a comfortable gap so Somppi could cruise into the finish … It’s absolutely thrilling to win for the home crowd here in Thunder Bay. A great start to the competitions for the fans. I’m glad my form came together for today’s race and it should bode well for the rest of the races.”

“It’s awesome to be home, racing on the trails I grew up skiing on,” Somppi wrote. “We’ve been thinking about this race all season and we definitely had our sights on gold so it feels great to realize that goal. I personally didn’t feel amazing out there today.  I was skiing ok, but I felt a little flat, understandably after travelling back from Europe only I’ve days ago.  Fortunately Andy Shields was crushing it out there today.  He was able to give me a sizeable lead and I just had to keep it together to bring home the win.”

In the women’s team sprint, Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Andrea Dupont won for Rocky Mountain Racers. Their time of 16:29:55 bested the second place team from Nakkertok, made up of Katherine Stewart-Jones and Perianne Jones, by 2.55 seconds. In third was Annah Hanthorn and Dahria Beatty of Whitehorse who trailed by 4.38 seconds.

“Team sprint day was a great start to nationals. After being overseas racing it feels great to be back racing with my home club,” Dupont wrote in an email. “Maya, my teammate, had a super strong last lap and put us in a solid lead. It was a fun day and great to see so many club with strong teams.”

“The race was a little hairy at times,” Perianne Jones wrote. “The course wasn’t the widest for skate sprinting with so many girls close together, so there was quite a bit of contact, which was fun and something Canadians don’t get to experience much!”

Results: men | women

Photos

Ammar and Babikov take National Titles in 30/50 k Classic Race at Canadian Nationals

Blowey and Klister, the Canadian Nationals and Cross Country Canada’s mascots, respectively, hang out on the final day of Canadian Nationals. (Photo: Kevin Sandau/Twitter)

Amanda Ammar of Team Ninja and Ivan Babikov of the Alberta World Cup Academy and National Team (AWCA-NST) skied to resounding wins Saturday in the final race of Canadian Nationals on the Blow Me Down trails in Newfoundland.

In the 30 k mass start classic race, Ammar dueled it out with Emily Nishikawa (AWCA-NST) for much of the race before throwing the hammer down in the final lap to win by 55 seconds. The two racers created a huge gap on the rest of the field. Chisa Obayashi of Japan was the third place finisher, 4:51 back.

On the men’s side, Ivan Babikov (NST) took home top honors in the 50 k race.  After skiing in the pack for much of the race, Babikov surged ahead of the rest of the field in the sixth of seven laps.  He held onto that lead and finished with a 42 second lead on the other racers. Kevin Sandau (AWCA-NST) snagged second place, while Graham Nishikawa (AWCA-NST), recently returned from guiding at the Paralympics, placed third, 53 seconds back.

Aggregate results (the overall standings for Canadian Nationals) have yet to be announced.

Women’s Results

Men’s Results

Emily Nishikawa, Cockney Win Canadian Nationals 5/10 k Classic

The women's 5 k classic interval start podium on Sunday at Canadian Nationals with winner Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST), Dasha Gaiazova (NST) in second and Amanda Ammar (Team Ninja) in third. (Photo: Cross Country Canada/pic.twitter.com/yIgcWP4vqa

The women’s 5 k classic interval start podium on Sunday at Canadian Nationals with winner Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST), Dasha Gaiazova (NST) in second and Amanda Ammar (Team Ninja) in third. (Photo: Cross Country Canada/Twitter)

Emily Nishikawa and Jesse Cockney snagged the top spots in today’s 5/10 k interval start classic races at Canadian Nationals at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Nishikawa, of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and National Senior Development Team (NST), just narrowly pulled off the win over fellow 2014 Olympian and World Cup Team member Dasha Gaiazova, winning by 1.6 seconds.  Amanda Ammar of Team Ninja, who also competed in Sochi, was third, 27 seconds back. Today’s race saw five out of the seven members of the women’s Olympic team race. All five finished in the top six.

On the men’s side, Olympian Cockney (AWCA-NST) squeezed out the win by 1.1 seconds over Kevin Sandau (AWCA-NST). Knute Johnsgaard of Yukon Elite finished third, 10 seconds back.

Racing will continue Tuesday with a 10/15 k freestyle interval start race.

Women’s Results

Men’s Results

Event Website

The men's 10 k classic interval start podium at Canadian Nationals in Corner Brook, Newfondland: with winner Jesse Cockney (AWCA/NST), Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST) in second, and Knute Johnsgaard (Yukon Elite Squad) in third. (Photo: Cross Country Canada/Twitter)

The men’s 10 k classic interval start podium at Canadian Nationals in Corner Brook, Newfondland: with winner Jesse Cockney (AWCA/NST), Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST) in second, and Knute Johnsgaard (Yukon Elite Squad) in third. (Photo: Cross Country Canada/Twitter)

Classic Team Sprints Kick Off Canadian Nationals

Day 1 of Canadian Nationals at the Blow Me Down ski club in Newfoundland. https://twitter.com/BMDtrails/status/444942990587342848/photo/1

Day 1 of Canadian Nationals at the Blow Me Down ski club in Newfoundland. (Photo: Blow Me Down Trails/Twitter

The 2014 Canadian Nationals are officially underway with the kick-off classic-team sprints, which took place Saturday morning.

Racing on the Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook Newfoundland, Kevin Sandau and Olympian Jesse Cockney, both of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and National Senior Development Team (NST) edged out Russell Kennedy (AWCA) and Phil Widmer (AWCA-NST) by 0.8 seconds for the win.  The Whitehorse duo of Colin Abbott and Knute Johnsgaard were also close, just 1.3 seconds back.

On the women’s side, Dahria Beatty (AWCA) and Olympian Emily Nishikawa (AWCA-NST) blew open the race with a stunning 20 second gap on the rest of the field. Marlis Kromm (AWCA) and Olympian Heidi Widmer (AWCA-NST) finished in second, while Whitehorse skiers Annah Hanthorn and Kendra Murray had a strong race to snag the third spot on the podium.

Racing will continue Sunday with a 5/10 k classic interval start race.

For more info, visit www.skinationals2014.com.

Canadian Nationals: Gruber Tops Kocher in Women’s 30 k

WHISTLER, B.C. — After finishing second in Thursday’s classic sprint to Canadian Dasha Gaiazova, Swiss National Team skier Bettina Gruber took the big prize at Canadian Nationals on Saturday, winning the women’s 30 k freestyle mass start in 1:18:41.1.

National-team biathlete Zina Kocher was the top Canadian in second, 40.3 seconds back. Heidi Widmer of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) was second Canadian and third overall (+59). Brittany Webster (Highlands Trailblazers) placed fourth and Chisa Obayashi of Japan was fifth. Gaiazova did not race.

Results

Canadian Nationals: Koos Edges McMurtry in 50 k Freestyle Mass Start

WHISTLER, B.C. — American Torin Koos outlasted his competitors on the last day of Canadian Nationals at Whistler Olympic Park on Saturday, winning the men’s seven-lap 50 k freestyle mass start by 0.4 seconds over Brent McMurtry of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA).

Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation/Rossignol) completed the course in 2:04.55.2, and McMurtry was the first Canadian and second overall in reportedly his last race as a full-time skier. Kevin Sandau (AWCA) was the second Canadian in third (+1.7), and Brian McKeever of Canada’s Para-Nordic Ski Team placed fourth (+2.1).

Results

Canadian Nationals: Gaiazova Rolls to Second-Straight Title, Valjas Tops Men’s Sprint

WHISTLER, B.C. — Fresh off a four-month stint on the World Cup, Dasha Gaiazova racked up her second-consecutive victory in as many races at Canadian Nationals on Thursday in the women’s 1.4-kilometre classic sprint at Whistler Olympic Park.

The fastest qualifier by 4.83 seconds over Canadian World Cup teammate Perianne Jones, Gaiazova rose to first in the A-final ahead of Switzerland’s Bettina Gruber in second and Jones in third. Alysson Marshall of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) was the third Canadian in fourth overall, and the Academy rounded out the rest of the A-final with Marlis Kromm in fifth and Heidi Widmer in sixth.

In the men’s 1.6 k classic sprint, Canadian World Cup Team member Lenny Valjas came out in his first race back from Europe to win the qualifier by 4.92 seconds over American Torin Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation/Rossignol).

Valjas went on to dominate the A-final, beating AWCA athletes Graham Nishikawa and Phil Widmer, who were second and third, respectively. Also from the Academy, Jess Cockney was fourth, Norway’s Rune Ødegård (University of Colorado-Boulder) finished fifth, and Knute Johnsgaard (Yukon Elite Team) was sixth.

 

Final results: women | men

Qualifiers: women | men

 

Canadian Nationals: McMurtry, Gaiazova Tally Classic Interval Start Wins

WHISTER, B.C. — Brent McMurtry of the Alberta World Cup Academy notched his second victory in three races at Canadian Nationals, winning Tuesday’s 15-kilometre classic interval start in 41:26.9 minutes, 22.8 seconds ahead of Norwegian Rune Ødegård (University of Colorado).

David Greer of the Yukon Elite Team was the second Canadian and third overall (+44.3) and Graham Nishikawa (AWCA) was fourth (+53.3).

In the women’s 10 k classic interval start, Canadian World Cup Team member Dasha Gaiazova romped the field by nearly 1 1/2 minutes in 34:04, beating Japan’s Chisa Obayashi by 1:23.4.

Gaiazova’s teammate Perianne Jones was third overall (+1:35.2) and Alysson Marshall (AWCA) was the third Canadian in fourth (+1:42.5).

Results: men | women

Gregg Tallies 5 k Victory at Canadian Nationals; Widmer Notches Second-Straight Title

American Caitlin Gregg of Central Cross Country (CXC) put down the fastest time of 12:02.8 in Sunday’s 5-kilometer freestyle interval start at Canadian Nationals to take the overall victory in Whistler, B.C., beating University of Colorado-Boulder senior Eliska Hajkova by 10.9 seconds.

After Hajkova, a Czech Republic native, Heidi Widmer of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) was the top Canadian in third, 22.4 seconds behind Gregg. For Widmer, it was her second-straight national title in as many days of racing at the 2013 championships after she and Marlis Kromm (AWCA) took the team sprint title for their club, Foothills Nordic.

Nakkertok’s Alana Thomas was the second Canadian in fourth overall (+32.7), edging Alysson Marshall (AWCA) by 1.7 seconds. Marshall was the third Canadian in fifth.

Results

McKeever Continues Unbeaten Streak, Winning 10 k Free for First National Title

Brian McKeever after winning his first national title in Saturday’s 10 k freestyle interval start at 2013 Canadian Nationals in Whister, B.C.

Coming off a perfect season on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup, including a sweep of World Cup Finals in Sochi, Russia, Brian McKeever rolled to another victory at home in Canada on Sunday.

The 33-year-old won the 10 k freestyle interval start on the first day of individual racing at Canadian Nationals in Whister, B.C. Visually impaired and competing on the IPC circuit with guide Erik Carleton, McKeever topped the men’s field on his own in 21:18.1. Graham Nishikawa of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) was 11.7 seconds back in second, and his teammate Graeme Killick placed third (+23.0).

Results

Canadian Nationals: Cockney/Murtry Defend Title; Kromm/Widmer Run Away with Team Sprint Win

Phil Widmer of Canmore Nordic (l) leads Jess Cockney (Foothills) and Alex Mahoney (Rocky Mountain Racers) through Canada Corner at Whistler Olympic Park on Saturday during the freestyle team sprint semifinal at 2013 Canadian Nationals. (Photo: Gerry Furseth)

WHISTLER, B.C. — Canadian Nationals at Whistler Olympic Park kicked off Saturday with the 2×3-kilometer freestyle team sprint in sunshine and fast tracks.

Marlis Kromm and Heidi Widmer took the women’s title for Foothills Nordic with a clear victory. Hardwood’s Mary Thompson and Erin Tribe took second over Michaela Howie and Zoe Roy of Rocky Mountain Racers.

The men’s event was tighter, with four teams arriving in the final straight together.  Phil Widmer led into the final 100 metres but crashed after tangling with Jess Cockney. In the end, Foothills Brent McMurty and Cockney defended their their team title, and Whitehorse took silver and bronze with David Greer and Knute Johnsgaard in second, and Colin Abbott and Graham Nishikawa in third. Canmore Nordic’s Russell Kennedy and Widmer took the wooden medal in fourth.

Results: women | men

Canadian Nationals Schedule

The road to 2013 Canadian Ski Nationals in Whistler, B.C. (Photo: Gerry Furseth)

Today was the first official training day for Canadian Nationals at Whistler Olympic Park. The venue welcomed cross-country skiers with blue skies, fast snow and warm sunshine that didn’t soften the tracks.

Racing starts on Saturday and continues through the following Saturday.

Saturday: Freestyle team Sprint

Sunday: 5/10 k freestyle individual start

Tuesday: 10/15 k classic individual start

Wednesday: 1.4 k classic sprints (younger athletes)

Thursday: 1.6 k classic sprints (open & older juniors)

Saturday, March 30: 20/30 k freestyle mass start

Over 600 athletes are registered. In addition to the expected Canadians, there are a sprinkling of Americans, Norwegians, and biathletes (who stuck around after Canadian Biathlon Nationals ended on Wednesday).

Virtually all of the top Canadians are registered. Lenny Valjas, Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov, Michael Somppi, Dasha Gaizova and Emily Nishikawa are in Falun through Sunday for the World Cup Finals with most expected to race in Whistler on Tuesday. Perianne Jones will also be there, Kershaw and Harvey will be skipping Nationals (Kershaw might be attending as a spectator), and Babikov will make a decision after Sunday’s pursuit.

A final decision hasn’t been made, but it is likely that zone4.ca will have live timing on race days.

Canadian Nationals Video

Here is a great video of Canadian Nationals by Zacharie Turgeon of the Skinouk Ski Club. Worth a watch.

Championnats canadiens 2012 from Zacharie Turgeon on Vimeo.

Canadian Nationals: Crawford Locks Up 30 k Classic Title

After skiing with the same three women throughout Saturday’s 30 k classic mass start at Canadian Ski Nationals, Chandra Crawford broke away early in the last lap to win in 1:36:51.66.

She was 13.74 seconds ahead of runner-up Britt Ingunn Nydal of Norway. Nydal’s teammate, Ragnhild Haga was third (+54.42). Dasha Gaiazova placed fourth and Perianne Jones was fifth.

Results

Canadian Nationals: Harvey, Kershaw Break Away in 50k, Finish Together

Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey broke away from the pack on lap 4 of 10 in the 50 k classic mass start at Canadian Ski Nationals and finished together with the same time (2:15:45.95) about 2 1/2 minutes in front of Ivan Babikov in third.

Kershaw and Harvey snowplowed before the line with their arms around each other’s shoulders to finish in what officials ruled as a tie.

Results

Canadian Nationals: Harvey Rolls to Sprint Victory

MONT SAINTE-ANNE, Québec — Alex Harvey of the Canadian National Ski Team and Mont Sainte-Anne’s Club Nordique won his second straight race at Canadian Ski Nationals on Thursday, edging teammate Devon Kershaw in the A-final of the 1.4 k freestyle sprint.

From the qualifier to the heats, Harvey finished first and capped the day with a 0.17-second victory over Kershaw. Alberta World Cup Academy athlete Phil Widmer followed in third (+1.58) and Len Valjas (CNST) was fourth.

Also in the A-final, Baptiste Gros of France finished fifth and Sindre Bjornestad Skar (Norway) was sixth.

Freestyle sprint brackets/results (scroll down for senior men)

 

Canadian Nationals: Crawford Claims National Title in Skate Sprint

MONT SAINTE-ANNE, Québec — Two years after she won a national title in the freestyle sprint in Whitehorse, Chandra Crawford of the Canadian National Team dominated the event at Canadian Ski Nationals again, winning the 1.4 k skate sprint by more than a second on Thursday.

Crawford won the qualifier, quarterfinal and semifinal before topping teammate Dasha Gaiazova by 1.37 seconds in the A-final. American Jennie Bender (Central Cross Country) finished third (+2.44).

U.S. Ski Team member Ida Sargent was fourth, Britt Ingunn Nydal of Norway placed fifth and Alysson Marshall was sixth.

Freestyle sprint brackets and results

Canadian Nationals: Quotes from Top Sprint Qualifiers

MONT SAINTE-ANNE, Québec — A few of the top finishers in Thursday’s 1.4 k freestyle sprint talk about the qualifier and morning conditions on the newly salted trails at MSA.

(Note: The temperature at 11 a.m. was around 12 degrees Celsius/54 Fahrenheit and expected to reach a high of 19/66).

Alex Harvey, 1st in men’s qualifier:

On preparing for Thursday’s sprint:

“I had a really busy day yesterday. I was out in the sun all day doing a commercial [for] one of my sponsors, nasal spray … hydraSense.”

On the conditions at Mont Sainte-Anne:

“They did a really good job with the course. It was fast.”

On racing:

“I had the crowd again behind me so it was good. I started maybe a bit too hard; I was pretty dead in the end. The last little uphill I didn’t have much jam, but I think it was enough to hold off Phil [Widmer, 0.02 seconds behind in second].

On game plan before the heats Thursday afternoon:

“We’re going back to my house, dry our stuff and eat a little bit.”

Chandra Crawford, 1st in women’s qualifier:

On the firmer conditions:

“It really lifted my spirits to feel the fast snow under my feet.”

On recovering from a long trip back from Europe:

“The travel’s hard and the jet lag’s hard … but you just do it. You just wake up in the morning and get after it. Those things can affect you a ton or you can almost kind of act like it’s not [a problem].”

On advice:

“One thing Liz Stephen told me this winter was, ‘Don’t get out of bed until you’re ready to make it good.’ So I do that in the morning, set some intentions to deal well with life’s adversity, not so much plan the day but just go, and whatever happens out there I’m going to really respond well.”

On the significance of Thursday’s sprint:

“I’m excited. I love nationals, I love skate sprints, I love classic sprints. Yeah, going for it … everyone here is gunning for it.”

Sophie Caldwell, 2nd 

On ranking second amid Canadian National Team athletes in the qualifier:

“I was pretty surprised but it felt good. … I sat out the skate race earlier this week. I love sprinting, but we had two sprints at [U.S.] nationals and then one carnival with a sprint so I haven’t done much sprinting so I was excited.”

On the conditions:

“It’s pretty firm, actually. Some parts it’s kind of icy and some parts it’s got a soft layer on top, but it’s pretty fast.”

On the course:

“There’s probably the biggest hill in the beginning. There’s a lot of flat and another little hill at the end.”