2017 Canadian Ski Nationals (Canmore, Alberta): Classic sprints
Emily Nishikawa won her second-straight race at Canadian Ski Nationals in Canmore on Wednesday, topping the women’s 1.3-kilometer classic sprint in slushy conditions for her second national title in as many days.
Nishikawa, of the Canadian World Cup Team, initially posted the third-fastest qualifying time, 2.92 seconds behind qualifying winner Andrea Dupont (Rocky Mountain Racers), while junior Katie Weaver (Hollyburn Ski Club/NST Junior Team) qualified second (+0.43).
Nishikawa went on to win both her quarterfinal and semifinal before besting five others in the women’s A-final in 4:00.86 minutes. Dahria Beatty, of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian U25 Team, finished 2.79 seconds later in second place and Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay/NST U25 Team) followed in third (+3.14). Also reaching the A-final, Annika Hicks (AWCA) finished fourth (+21.37), and Sophie Carrier-Laforte, of the Pierre Harvey Training Centre (CNEPH) placed fifth (+45.63) and Alannah MacLean (NTDC Thunder Bay) did not start.
“Today with these soft, slushy conditions, it kind of played into my favour,” Nishikawa told FasterSkier in person on Wednesday. “I love classic sprinting, I always have. To pull enough energy together today was really great.
“It’s my fifth race in six days, so I’m really tired, but I couldn’t be happier right now,” she said. “To win two back to back national titles yesterday and today is really cool.”
In the junior women’s A-final, Annika Richardson (NTDC Thunder Bay/NST Junior Team) took the win in 4:05. Her Hollyburn club teammate, Weaver placed second (+4.48) and NTDC Thunder Bay teammate Lisle Compton finished third (+7.4). Also in the A-final, Zoë Williams (Nakkertok/NST Junior Team) placed fourth (+11.37), Hannah Mehain (Sovereign Lake Nordic/NST Junior Team) fifth (+25.75) and Catherine Reed-Métayer (Skibec/Quebec Ski Team) sixth (+1:05.44).
In the senior men’s 1.3 k sprint, Moritz Madlener beat his University of Denver teammate Dag Frode Trollebø by 0.5 seconds for the A-final win in 3:12.56. Madlener started the day by qualifying in third, 1.6 seconds behind Trollebø, the fastest qualifier, while Joey Foster (Team Hardwood) qualified second (+0.88).
Madlener went on to win both his quarterfinal and semifinal. So did Evan Palmer-Charrette (NTDC Thunder Bay), who qualified 14th and ended up third in the final, 3.76 seconds behind Madlener. With Madlener hailing from Germany and Trollebø from Norway, Palmer-Charrette was the top Canadian, ahead of Antoine Briand (CNEPH) in fourth (+10.53), Knute Johnsgaard (AWCA/NST U25 Team) in fifth (+12.65), and Michael Somppi (NTDC Thunder Bay) in sixth (+13.4).
“I tucked in behind the two guys from Denver,” Palmer-Charrette explained of his tactics in the final. “I knew they were going to put in a surge on the climb. I went inside to try and go past them, but they were smart, took the two outside tracks, which were still there; inside was really soft. I cut over to get behind them, but I lost a couple metres and just wasn’t able to get that back.”
Despite finishing behind them, Palmer-Charrette as the first Canadian earned his first national title at the age of 22, after rebounding from compartment-syndrome surgery last summer.
“[I] trained really hard after that,” he said. “It’s been a great year. … Awesome to be Canadian champion, surprise for sure in a classic sprint for me. Definitely not quite the Canadian field you’d see at a lot of Canadian nationals, a lot of guys sick and injured after World Cups on the weekend, but awesome nonetheless.”
Most notably, Canadian World Cup sprinter Len Valjas did not race.
Étienne Hébert (Quebec Ski Team/NST Junior Team) won the junior men’s A-final in 3:22.09, edging Nicolas Beaulieu (Orford/Quebec Ski team) by 0.55 seconds, and third-place finisher Larkin Wasmuth (Fort Saskatchewan Nordic Ski Club) by 0.68 seconds. Michael MacIsaac-Jones (AWCA) was in contention for a podium before crashing in the soft snow just before the finish. He ended up fifth (+11.63), behind American Nick Matelich (Bridger Ski Foundation) in fourth (+10.55) and ahead of Antoine Blais (Quebec Ski Team/NST Junior team) in sixth (+16.77).
The next senior races will be the long-distance freestyle mass starts on Saturday.
— Gerry Furseth contributed reporting