Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec – On the fourth day of competition at the 2012 Haywood Ski Nationals, Julian Freitag of Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club captured the silver medal in the Junior Boys skate sprint event. Freitag qualified in sixth position and comfortably won both his quarter final and semi final heats before narrowly beating Léandre Fournier Lacombe of Quebec to come in second behind Benjamin Wilkinson-Zan of Ottawa, ON in the finals. Also qualifying for the heats in the Junior Boys category was Kieran Armstrong and Angus Foster.
Big Thunder Head Coach, Adam Kates was very impressed by Freitag’s performance, ” Julian has been focusing on winning a medal in particular event since the beginning of the season so it was very rewarding that everything that he has been working towards came together on the right day. He took ownership of his focus and preparation and controlled every heat by skiing strong and hard at the front of the pack in what were some of the most challenging conditions I have ever seen. Overall it was an amazing performance and proved that Julian is one of the best junior sprinters in Canada. I am definitely proud of his effort and how he handled himself out there today.”
Basia Gunka, Junior Girl, found herself in 19th position after the qualification round, but was eliminated in the quarter final. Juvenile Girl skiers Sadie White, Mia Serratore and Camille Hamm, and Juvenile Boys Fergus Foster and Tony Gunka also qualified for the heats.
Organizers of the event continued to struggle with warm temperatures and skiers with the challenging snow conditions. Temperatures soared above 20 C, and heat start times had to be delayed for the stadium area to be drained of standing water.
The competition continues tomorrow with the Open Men and Women Sprints. Thunder Bay’s Lakehead Varsity athletes as well as members of the National Development Centre teams will be joining members of the Canadian National Ski team on the trails for the 1.4 km skate sprint event. NST athletes returned home to Canada on Monday from the World Cup Circuit.
photo credit Martin Kaiser