Thunder Bay Skiers Dominate Cross Country Ski Nationals

Open Women's Start - bib 244 Katherine Stewart Jones of Nakkertok leads the pack
Open Women's Start - bib 244 Katherine Stewart Jones of Nakkertok leads the pack

Open Women's Start - bib 244 Katherine Stewart Jones of Nakkertok leads the pack
Open Women’s Start – bib 244 Katherine Stewart Jones of Nakkertok leads the pack

Cross Country Ski Nationals

THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – Saturday marked the first day of racing action at the 2015 Haywood Ski Nationals held at Lappe Nordic Ski Centre.  The event of the day was team sprint relays; two person teams, each participant completing three legs of the relay.  The racing began with the CCUNC categories, followed by the Junior races and the day ended with the prestigious Open Category competition.

Lakehead University once again showed its strength on the trails cleaning up the CCUNC category.  Sadie White and Alannah McLean won with a significant lead over Carleton’s Kyla Vanderzwet and Kendra Murray.  Lakehead’s second women’s team, Erin Tribe and Holly Brown finished fifth just behind University of Laval.  Lakehead’s top two men’s team fought a hard battle to finish first and second.  Ben Wilkinson-Zan and Scott Hill edged out Angus Foster and Harry Seaton by less than two seconds to claim gold and silver respectively.  University of Laval finished just behind to round out the podium in third.

The Challenge boys’ field was the deepest field, with 53 teams from across the country.  The top podium with filled out with a team from Skibec in first, with a twelve second lead over Telemark and Whitehorse who had a close finish, sprinting all the way across the line.  Fergus Foster and Marti Muzyka from Big Thunder were the only Thunder Bay team to move into the finals, finishing tenth.  The Challenge girls’ raced a tight race through to the end. Nakkertok won the race followed by Highlands Trailblazers and Chelsea Nordic.

OPEN MEN's Start. bib 232 Andy Shields of Lappe Nordic leads the pack out the start gate.
OPEN MEN’s Start. bib 232 Andy Shields of Lappe Nordic leads the pack out the start gate.

The highlight of the day was the Open Men’s race in the afternoon.  The mens’ race boasted the most excitement as Lappe’s Michael Somppi and Andy Shields took the gold medal in front of an ecstatic home crowd.  Gavin Shields and Evan Palmer-Charrette fought hard to stay in the lead pack and finished in fifth, edged out by Foothills skiers Jesse Cockney and Kevin Sandau, and Whitehorse skiers, Colin Abott and Knute Johnsgaard.   Team Hardwood, comprised of Thunder Bay skiers Harry Seaton and Bob Thompson, finished 6th, and Big Thunder’s Greg Kilroy and Adam Kates finished ninth, out of a field of 24 teams.  The womens’ event was won by Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Andrea Dupont, followed in by Nakkertok’s Katherine Stewart-Jones and Perianne Jones and Whitehorse’s Annah Hanthorn and Darhia Beatty.  Lappe’s Becky Puiras and Katherine Hall posted the best local result finising 8th, followed by Big Thunder Mia Seratorre and Camille Hamm in tenth and Lappe’s Lindsay Inkila and Britt Bailey in fifteenth.  

Ski Nationals 2015 official website