CANMORE – THUNDER BAY – Andy Shields of the National Development Centre-Thunder Bay claimed his second victory on Saturday, at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alberta. Andy was the winner of the penultimate event of this year’s national championship winning the Junior 30km freestyle event in a time of 1:18:28.2 just 4.2 seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
The race went according to plan for Andy “I went at a good pace with the lead pack for most of the race and then with 5km to go I made my key moves and secured my win.” Always ambitious, this race and the aggregate championship was the aim from the beginning for Andy “My goal at the start of the season was to win the junior aggregate award at nationals and I’m very happy to achieve that today. I’m very happy with my performance.”
Another impressive performance from the National Development Centre-Thunder Bay was Michael Somppi, who was 4th in the 50km Senior Men’s race. Somppi has struggled this week to acclimatize to Canmore’s higher altitude, today however, he felt stronger, “I’m really happy with my result and it was a great way to finish off the championships by having a very strong performance.” Michael remained with the elite lead pack, which included two Vancouver Olympians, for the majority of the race and moved up from 6th to 4th over the final 10km.
Lakehead University Thunderwolf, Ben Jones also picked up a bronze medal in the Junior category of the Canadian Collage and University Nordic Championship.
Now that the Canadian race calendar is complete some of the National Development Centre athletes along with the most of North America’s top racers are heading to Idaho next week for the US national Distance Championships.