Not even temperatures topping out at -18 C could slow down athletes in the classic sprints at Lappe Nordic Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on Saturday, where tickets to major events were on the line.
According to press releases from Cross Country Canada, the nation’s governing body, winners of Saturday’s races were all but guaranteed places on the country’s team headed to the U-23 and World Junior Championships in Estonia later this month.
Patrick Stewart-Jones (Nakkertok Nordic) can start packing after winning the junior men’s sprint, while Foothills’ Heidi Widmer should also be making that trip. She has won two events at Lappe Nordic this week, including Saturday’s junior women’s race.
Dasha Gaiazova (NST) secured her ticket to the 2011 World Championships in Oslo when she won the pursuit on Thursday. But she saw no reason to let off the throttle on Saturday, and cruised in to win the classic sprint as well. Perianne Jones (NST) finished second to Gaiazova in both races, but she’s already sealed her place in the group headed to Norway, thanks to a qualifying sprint she won in December. (While Jones didn’t win that race outright, she was the first Canadian finisher.)
Alysson Marshall (Larch Hills) was third in the sprint final on Saturday, but first among the U-23 women, which means that she will almost certainly travel to U-23’s in Estonia, along with Emily Nishikawa (Whitehorse), who was the top U-23 female in Thursday’s pursuit.
There was no selection for the Oslo World Championships in the men’s sprint race, as Canada used a sprint in December in British Columbia as its qualifyier. George Grey (NST) also clinched a spot in that group with his win in Thursday’s pursuit race at Lappe.
Brent McMurtry (Foothills) won Saturday’s sprint final, while Stefan Kuhn (NST) was second. Jess Cockney (Foothills), who was third, should be a part of the Canadian U-23 team, along with Kevin Sandau (Foothills/NST) who was the top U-23 athlete in Thursday’s pursuit.
Men’s results here
Women’s results here
Junior men’s results here
Junior women’s results here
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.