Canadian Ski Nationals (Thunder Bay, Ontario): Team sprints + 5/10 k classic
Canada’s 2018 Ski Nationals opened this past weekend at Lappe Nordic in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with classic team sprints on Saturday followed by 5- and 10-kilometer classic interval starts on Sunday.
Nakkertok topped the podium in both the open men’s and women’s team sprints. In the men’s final, Nakkertok’s Dominique Moncion-Groulx and Patrick Stewart-Jones won by 1.95 seconds over Barrie Cross Country (BXC) in 14:50.79. BXC’s Ryan Jackson and Scott Hill teamed up for second place, and Skibec’s Alexis Morin and Antoine Brand raced to third (+2.57).
The Stewart-Jones family was also a big winner on Saturday, with Nakkertok’s Zoë Williams and Katherine Stewart-Jones (Patrick’s sister) racing to first in the women’s final in 13:04.72. They finished 2.37 seconds ahead of Katie Weaver and Annika Richardson of the Hollyburn Ski Club in second place, and Marie Corriveau and Mathilde Petitjean of Club Nordique Mont-Sainte-Anne (C.N.M.S.A.) raced to third (+7.42).
On Day 2 and the first official day of Canadian Ski Nationals, Hill (BXC) took his second-straight win of the weekend, topping the men’s 10 k classic with a time of 26:45.1 for his first senior national title. He finished 7.2 seconds faster than Alexis Dumas, of the Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre (CNEPH) in second, and an early race leader, Knute Johnsgaard of the Canadian World Cup Team, placed third (+12.0)
Johnsgaard clocked the fastest split at the race’s halfway point, while Hill’s 5 k time was almost 10 seconds slower. But over the final 5 k, Hill’s lap time was nearly 22 seconds faster than Johnsgaard’s. Dumas skied a consistent race, with the fourth-fastest first lap and second-fastest second lap.
Jackson (BXC) finished fourth (+14.7), and Jess Cockney of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian World Cup Team placed fifth (+22.2). Leading the National Team Development Centre (NTDC) Thunder Bay on its home trails was Evan Palmer-Charrette in sixth (+24.8), and Lappe Nordic’s Michael Somppi (AWCA) placed seventh (+29.1). Gareth Williams of Telemark Nordic and the Canadian U25 Team finished eighth (+39.5), American Brian Gregg (CXC/Team Gregg/Loppet Nordic Racing) was ninth (+44.7), and Jack Carlyle (AWCA) 10th (+49.5).
Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt of Rocky Mountain Racers (RMR) collected her first senior national title with a 13.3-second victory in the women’s 5 k classic. She finished in 15:07.5, ahead of American Caitlin Gregg (CXC/Team Gregg/LNR) in second, while Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay) was the second Canadian and third overall (+17.9).
NTDC Thunder Bay had two in the top four with Alannah Maclean in fourth (+19.8). Annika Hicks (AWCA) followed in fifth (+22.2), Frédérique Vézina (CNEPH) was sixth (+30.8), Sophie Carrier-Laforte (Skinouk) seventh (+33.0), Maya MacIsaac-Jones (RMR/Canadian U25 Team) eighth (+37.4), Laura Leclair (CNEPH) ninth (+58.1), and Williams (Nakkertok) 10th (+1:07.2).
Nationals continue Tuesday with 10/15 k freestyle pursuits, followed by skate sprints on Wednesday and 30/50 k classic mass starts on Saturday.
Day 1: Classic team sprint
Day 2: 5/10 k classic