Four Yukon athletes have qualified for the cross country World Championships. The athletes competed at qualifiers at Prince George, B.C. Jan. 18-21.
Wednesday was the Classic Sprints at the Junior and U23 World Trials in Prince George B.C. and it was an exciting one for Yukon skiers. The conditions were not what our skiers are used to but they put that out of their minds and raced their hearts out!
Dahria Beatty had a nail-biting final. At the halfway point she was in fourth place and the second Canadian. When she came around the corner into the finish chute, she was in third and first Canadian, and crossed the finish line in that position and that qualified her for World Champs.
Sasha Masson and Sonjaa Schmidt have both qualified for U23 worlds in Whistler next week. Schmidt was the faster qualifier, which earned her a spot on the team and Masson was the fastest U23 male and sixth fastest in Open Men.
Constance Lapointe and Sophia Giangrande both had great races. Lapointe qualified 14th and Giangrande qualified 26th out of all the women. The girls raced in the quarter finals against lots of fast women and both finished third in their heats and were hoping to be lucky loser to advance onto semifinals but unfortunately both of their heats were not fast enough. Lapointe finished fourth in U20 women and Giangrande in sixth.
Thursday was the Mass Start 20km Classic race and three Yukon athletes raced that day. Masson is no newbie to 20km races but this is the first season for Giangrande and Lapointe and they both had amazing races. The mass start for the men’s race had a lot of excitement with one of the male athletes falling and a couple of athletes not looking where they were going and ended up in a tangled mess with the fallen athlete. This course was also very difficult with athletes falling left, right and centre.
Masson finished third in U23 Men and fifth in Open Men. Lapointe had another fourth place finish in U20 Women and Giangrande finished in 17th in U20 Women. Friday was a rest day for everyone and they were back to racing on Saturday.
Saturday was the Interval start 10km Skate race. Giangrande was the first starter out of the Yukon skiers followed by Lapointe in Women’s U20. Masson raced a 10km Skate as well. The conditions were fast and clear for the girls but big snow flakes decided to make an appearance for Masson’s race, but that didn’t slow him down. All skiers had to do two laps of the 5km course and it was a tough one. The course had lots of hard climbs and technical downhills which they couldn’t really recover on. Lapointe finished ninth in U20 Women and Giangrande 32nd. Masson finished second in U23 Men and third in Open men. He was 1.5 seconds behind the skier in second.
It was a successful trials for Yukon skiers with four athletes qualifying for World Champs. Beatty is going to Senior World Champs next month in Slovenia. Masson and Schmidt made the team for U23 World Champs in Whistler, B.C. starting next Saturday. Lapointe made the team for U20 World Champs which are also in Whistler, B.C. next week.
– Submitted by Jen MacKeigan, Assistant Coordinator and Coach, Cross Country Yukon