SUDBURY, ON – SPECIAL TO NNL – With files from Amanda Holdsworth: In what is becoming a familiar story line over the past number of years, the Lakehead Women’s Nordic Ski Team claimed the 2011 OUA Nordic Skiing Championships in Sudbury, Ontario this past weekend. The win marks the 7th consecutive championship title taken by the lady wolves and continues to add to the argument that they are the most dominant team in OUA sporting history.
Led by first year head coach Amanda Holdsworth, who is quickly establishing herself as a leader for whom the team steps up their game, the women got off to a lightening start in the opening 5km classic race. Andrea Lee, a freshman from Black Creek B.C. dominated the event by over 1 minute and was joined on the podium by Thunder Bay locals Daphne Haggarty and Kara Jaspers who tied for second place with identical times. Lakehead’s Brit Bailey, a former OUA MVP, crossed the line in 4th place to cap a dominant performance by the women’s team. Lakehead’s Katherine Hall and Amie Mathews added to a strong day finishing 12th and 15th respectively. “What an amazing way to start off the championships” said Holdsworth from her Sudbury hotel room. “Everyone skied so well and to have the women finish 1-4 is just incredible. They work so hard and are such a great group of kids… they deserve this.”
The second race saw Lee again ski away from the pack with Haggarty finishing a decisive second. Jaspers finished 4th and Baily 6th while Mathews and Hall added depth, ending up 11th and 18th respectively.
Daphne Haggarty summed up the vibe surrounding the team: “I felt really strong, fit and fast, that I could work hard and even harder and it felt good! It was such a fun trip and I was really proud to be part of such a hardworking, supportive, and successful team!”
In the final event of the championships, the Team Sprint Relay, it was Lakehead’s lead team of Lee and Haggarty grabbing Gold with Jaspers and Bailey, skiing for Lakhead 2, close on their heals earning Silver. In a tight battle for the Bronze it was Hall and Mathews narrowly losing out to Laurentian 1 and settling for 4th place.
While physical prowess definitely played a role, so too did the Wolves technical team. “Our wax technicians Kim Armstrong and Robin Crowley gave our team the best skis out there, without a doubt.” Said Holdsworth. “They worked late nights and early mornings to ensure that our team had every advantage possible and their hard work showed on the results page.”
In the overall standing it was a Lakehead sweep of the podium with Lee claiming MVP honors and Haggarty and Jaspers taking the remaining podium positions. In a close finish it was Brit Bailey locking up 4th spot with a nod for an OUA All Star.