SUDBURY, ON – SPECIAL TO NNL – With files from Amanda Holdsworth: With a strong start to the year Greg Kilroy entered this weekend’s OUA Championships with high hopes and big expectations, even if some of the other teams didn’t consider him a favorite.
Struggling with illness throughout much of last year, Kilroy didn’t even earn OUA All Star status at last season’s championships. That was then. Kilroy came into this season focused and dedicated. “I made some rookie mistakes last year” admits Kilroy “and the results just didn’t happen. This year my coaches and I took steps to make sure that I was ready.”
The consummate warrior, Kilroy put in two hard fought races to take Gold in both the men’s 7.5km classic and 7.5km freestyle races by tight 4 second margins in each, securing OUA MVP honours as the overall fastest University skier in the province. “Greg is the epitome of a hard worker,” said LU Nordic Program coordinator Adam Kates. “He is the kind of guy who you love to have on a team because he sets the tone in every workout. He came to the OUA Championships to win and the fact that he was able to fight through both races and gut out victories by such narrow margins is a testament to his tenacity and ability to dig deep when it counts.”
Lakehead freshman Ben Jones also showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Jones finished 5th in the opening classic race and won a Bronze Medal in the men’s freestyle race. Jones finished 3rd overall in the race for OUA MVP, putting 2 Lakehead men on the overall championship podium.
Lachlan Armstrong rounded out the men’s team and along with Luke Viljakainen, skied well throughout the weekend, securing top 15 finishes in both individual races. Josh Robinson, training out of Lakehead’s Orillia campus, also added stability and depth to a strong men’s team.
In the men’s relay event it was Kilroy and Jones taking silver behind Carleton’s team. Viljakainen and Armstrong dominated the B-Final to claim 6th place for Lakehead 2.
“The team came together so well this weekend” said the ecstatic LU coach Amanda Holdsworth. “To have 2 OUA MVPs and to take 5 out of 6 overall individual podium positions as well as an overall Women’s title is such a good feeling.” Added Kates, “We are getting used to strong performances year after year and are becoming accustomed to our team skiing fast when the time is right and while I am very pleased with the results I am perhaps most proud of how this team conducts themselves and how they represent their University.”
The Wolves next action takes places in Canmore, Alberta from March 12-19. The Lakehead Women shoot for their 8th consecutive National Championships Title.