2017 Canadian Ski Nationals (Canmore, Alberta): Days 1, 2 & 3
On the third day of Canadian Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alberta, World Cup skiers Devon Kershaw and Emily Nishikawa — both fresh off World Cup Finals in Quebec City — picked up victories in the men’s and women’s classic interval starts on Tuesday.
Kershaw won the men’s 15 k in 45:05.3 minutes, 44.6 seconds ahead of two University of Denver (DU) skiers Dag Frode Trollebø and Moritz Madlener.
Both of Tuesday’s second- and third-place men’s finishers reached the podium at NCAA Skiing Championships earlier this month. On Tuesday, Trollebø, who’s originally from Norway, finished second, 44.6 seconds behind Kershaw. Madlener, of Germany, was another 2.2 seconds back in third (+46.8). World Cup skier Graeme Killick was the second Canadian in fourth overall (+1:09.2), and David Palmer, of the Black Jack Ski Club, placed fifth (+1:22.5).
“It was so hard, hot, and the conditions were vicious,” Kershaw said, according to a Cross Country Canada (CCC) press release. “I cramped up with five kilometres to go. It was a really hard day. But this is my home. I love Canmore and I think it is important for the kids to see that even after a hard World Cup season you should come and support the national championships.”
“That was a massive effort for me,” he added. “The conditions were just really, really slow, but I wanted to do this race to end the season.”
Nishikawa won the women’s 10 k classic by nearly 1 1/2 minutes in 29:07.6. American Mary Rose, of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) finished second (+1:24.8), Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay/Canadian U25 Team) was the second Canadian in third overall (+1:27.9) and Frédérique Vézina, of the Pierre Harvey Training Centre (CNEPH), placed fourth (+2:44.7).
“It was great to be back racing today in Canmore and see so many friendly faces out there,” Nishikawa said, according to CCC. “It was tough racing today, having raced three races last weekend in Quebec and then travel, but I was so happy to be able to race.
“I had great skis and was able to have another solid race,” she added. “It is always an honour to win a National Title. I love racing at Nationals.”
“I think it is really important for the next generation to get a chance to compete against, and meet National Team athletes,” she continued. “When I was a juvenile racing at Nationals, I was so inspired to be able to meet some of my idols who were on the National Team, so it’s important to me that I am here.”
While many of the 30 Canadians that competed at World Cup Finals last Friday through Sunday flew directly to Canmore for nationals, the races started without them, with a brand-new collegiate relay cross event on Saturday, March 18, and 10/15 k freestyle interval starts (for the open class) on Sunday, March 19.
The relays put university teams head to head on obstacle courses, with two skiers per team.
The women’s relay win went went to the University of Alberta’s Ember Large and Kathryn Stone, with a team name of “Largely Stoned” as a play on their last names. They won in 13:05.1, just 1 second ahead of Jenn Jackson and Makaila Hudson, representing Lakehead University, in second. The Rouge et Or (University of Laval) first team of Christel Pichard-Jolicoeur and Camille Burbidge Izquierdo placed third, 15.3 seconds back.
In the men’s relay, Rouge et Or/University of Laval, with Alexis Turgeon and William Dumas, took the win in 10:36.7, 17.5 seconds ahead of Lakehead’s first team, Noah Thompson and Gavin Shields, in second. Christopher Weller and Carrington Pomeroy of Carleton University’s first team reached the podium in third (+33.5).
On Sunday, Madlener won the men’s 10 k skate by 6.8 seconds over Graham Nishikawa, a guide for the Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team, in 23:58.0. Another DU skier, Eivind Romberg Kvaale placed third (+13.4), ahead of Jack Carlyle (Alberta World Cup Academy) in fourth (+20.3). Michael Somppi (NTDC Thunder Bay) was the third Canadian in fifth overall (+25.3).
Retire biathlete Zina Kocher won the women’s 5 k skate by 14.6 seconds over Jenn Jackson (Lappe Nordic) in 13:08.7. Sun Valley took third through sixth with Deedra Irwin in third (+34.1), Kelsey Phinney in fourth (+35.2), Annie Pokorny in fifth (+38.6), and Rose in sixth (+41.7).
Racing continues at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Wednesday with classic sprints. The sprints on Wednesday and Thursday will be streamed live on YouTube. Details here: skinationals2017.com.