Lakehead University on Podium, Big Thunder Nordic Strong Showing at Haywood Ski Nationals


Alannah MacLeanQuebec City, QB – The first day of competition got underway at the 2012 Haywood Cross Country Ski Nationals in Quebec City, QB, with fog hanging over the Plains of Abraham for the team classic sprint competition. Amid challenging snow conditions, the Lakehead University Thunderwolves and Big Thunder Nordic Ski club athletes proved that they can compete with the best in Canada.

Lakehead University came away with three of six podium positions, with Andrea Lee and Alannah MacLean claiming gold in the Canadian College and University Nordic Championships (CCUNC) women’s event, Harry Seaton and Leif Lennie picked up silver, and Ben Jones and Greg Kilroy brought home the bronze in the men’s event.

Leif LennieDaphne and Moira Haggarty teamed up for a powerful fourth place finish. This is a great start to the National Championships as the women’s team looks to reclaim the overall CCUNC title, which was won last year by the University of Laval, and the men make strides to contend for the overall men’s banner.

Bronze medallist, Greg Kilroy was very excited with his team’s placing, “Ben (Kilroy’s partner) skied a key 2nd and 3rd leg and when I saw him coming to tag me off in 3rd position, I knew we had a chance at a medal. I skied my final lap very hard and tactically, holding off the Carelton Ravens. This is my first nationals medal and it feels so good. This has been one of my goals and dreams for a long time and it is even better that I was able to do it with a temmate of mine. Everyone on the Lakehead team gave it their all and there was a good sense of teamwork on the course. This is such a great way to start the Championships and we hope to keep the momentum going for the rest of the week.”

Big Thunder athletes competed in the Challenge and Open events, qualifying four teams for the finals. Challenge boys Angus Foster and Julian Freitag finished an impressive fourth, sharing the slushy trails on the historic course with teammates David Ek and Fergus Foster, who rounded out the heat finishing 10th. Challenge girls Camille Hamm and Sadie White faced stiff competition in the finals, coming in 11th. In the Open Men’s category, Dudley Coulter and Chris Hamilton secured a spot in the final heat as well, going head to head with National Ski Team members, and finished a strong 10th.

The week long competition moves to Mont Ste. Anne on Monday for a short-distance classic event.

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Photographs by Martin Kaiser

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