2023 Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals, University and Para Nordic Championships

photo credit Keith Hautala
photo credit Keith Hautala

he 2023 Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals, University and Para Nordic Championships, which are now into their final two days of competition at the Lappe Ski Centre. Today, we witnessed a display of mass start classic technique for U16, U18, Para Nordic Standing, and Para Nordic Sit athletes. The local athletes from Lappe Nordic and Big Thunder Nordic Ski clubs put on a commendable show by giving great results against the best in the country.

The U16 boy’s 10 km mass start race began with a large field of 85 athletes. Joël Thibault from Fondeurs-Laurentides took home the gold in a time of 28:06. It was a close race for second place, with Thierry Olivier from Mont-Sainte-Anne finishing in 28:08, narrowly beating Lucas Gitt who completed the race in 28:09. Lappe Nordic athlete Willem Abbink was the top finisher in 11th place with a time of 28:31. His teammate, Makkai Jones, also had a commendable performance, finishing in 18th place with a time of 29:09. Big Thunder Nordic’s Sam Vanlenthe gave a solid performance, finishing in 25th place with a time of 29:40.

In the U16 girl’s 10 km race, Emelie Kvick from Hollyburn Ski Club emerged as the winner in a time of 30:46, with Aleah Smith from Nelson Nordic finishing in second place and Sofia Renaud from Monte-Sainte-Anne finishing third in a tight race. Local athlete Mackenzie Thompson from Big Thunder Nordic gave an outstanding performance, finishing in 7th place with a time of 31:13. Lappe Nordic athlete Min Dobson took 23rd place, completing the race in 33:20, while her teammate Tzipi Levkoe-Stephens placed 25th, completing the race in 33:46. Big Thunder Nordic athletes Madison Nisula and Delaney Summers finished in 27th (34:10) and 28th (34:15) place, respectively.

Logan Cox from Kimberley Nordic won the Para Nordic Standing Men’s race, finishing the 10 km course in a fantastic time of 26:27. Félix Lafond from Fondeurs-Laurentides took home the silver in 34:05, while Charles Lecours from Mauriski grabbed the bronze in 34:26. In the Para Nordic Standing Women’s 10 km race, Emma Archibald from Scotia XC Club clinched the gold with a time of 38:44. Madison Mullin from Mono Nordic gave a commendable performance, taking home the silver in a time of 39:09.

In the U18 boy’s 15 km race, which had 103 athletes in the mass start, Finn Redman from Telemark Nordic emerged victorious, finishing in the top spot in 35:41. Samuel Picard from Fondeurs-Laurentides claimed the silver in a time of 36:01, while Adam Heale from Black Jack Nordic took home the bronze in a time of 36:23. Lappe Nordic athlete Edgar Sarrazin topped off a fantastic week of racing in 9th place, completing the race in a time of 36:53. His teammate Cedric Martel also had a great race, finishing in 14th place with a time of 37:24. Big Thunder Nordic’s Willem van Duyn finished in the 31st spot, completing the race in a time of 38:46.

Day four saw an impressive 87 athletes compete in the U18 girl’s 15 km event, culminating in an exciting race to the finish. Alison Mackie of Edmonton Nordic emerged victorious, beating Tory Audet of Club Chelsea Nordiq by just one second with a time of 38:41. Sadie Demars of Kimberley Nordic took the bronze with a time of 40:37, while Maaritta Puiras of Lappe Nordic finished strongly in 21st place with a time of 42:06.

In the Para Nordic Sit men’s 10 km race, Yves Bourque of Mauriski claimed the top spot with a time of 41:01, rounding off an impressive day of racing.

But the excitement isn’t over yet, as the final day of races is upon us! Friday, March 17, will feature a mass start classic technique for U20 and senior athletes, followed by club and division aggregate awards. The race order for the day is as follows: Senior women – 30 km at 9:00 am, U20 women – 20 km at 9:12 am, Senior men – 30 km at 12:30 pm, and U20 men – 20 km at 12:42 pm. Head over to zone4.ca for athlete start times and live results, and be sure to check out the livestream of the races and the complete race schedule at www.canadianskinationals2023.ca.

For those planning to attend, all events are free and take place at the Lappe Ski Centre. Come and watch the races and enjoy the newly renovated, fully accessible chalet, along with Finnish pancakes, hot chocolate, and other treats. However, parking is limited on site, so carpooling is recommended. A free shuttle service is available to nearby additional parking.

Finally, the Lakehead Superior Nordic Association would like to extend their gratitude to the government and municipal partners, as well as the presenting sponsors, who have contributed to the success of the 2023 Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals. These include the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, City of Thunder Bay, 91-5 CKPR and Rock 94, Secure Store, and Skiwax.ca.

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