Over 250 young cross-country skiers from across B.C. and Washington State descended on the Sovereign Lake ski trails above Vernon for the B.C. Midget Championships, Feb. 16-17.
The races were for skiers ages 10 to 13. Several kids from the Telemark Nordic and the Sovereign Lake ski clubs did very well in this event, in which most one-year age classes had 30 to 45 athletes.
They were: Kai Redman, Eric Urness, Ayla Musselman-Bell, Simon Heidt, Chloe Shivers, Sylvia Achtem, Finn Redman, Evan Edwards and Alessia Galvagno.
On Sunday, the 300-meter sprints and relays were held. Again our local skiers put up some great results.
The final event, held after the sprints, was the team relay. The Klister Sisters, a team made up of Telemark skiers Chloe Shivers, Sylvia Achtem, Aya Sentesy and Alessia Galvagno, took second place in the girls race. In the boys race, The Alex Project of Evan Edwards, Rowan Musselman-Bell, and Kai and Finn Redman took third place.
The boys named this team after their coach Alex McDonald.
— The annual Payak race was held Feb. 26 at Callahan Valley. Several local skiers made the trip to enter one of the various distances offered, from 15 to 50 kilometers.
Fresh snow and soft conditions made the racing tough, especially for those using free technique.
Vernon's Hannah Mehain, who is one of the top under-23 skiers in Canada, was second in the women's 30K event in one hour 33 minutes.
Telemark’s Gareth Williams, a member of the Canadian team, won the 50K event in 2:32. Alex McDonald was fifth.
Also placing well in the 30K was Vernon’s Mike Bell, wining the 65-69 class in 2:00, and James Williams, Gareth’s father, placing 26th out of 122 men in the 30K and fifth in his 50-54 age class in 1:44.
CANADA WINTER GAMES
Telemark skiers Ian Williams and Tallon Noble were part of the B.C. Team. The feature race was the mass start classic technique, 10K for women, 15K for men. Rossland’s 18-year-old Remi Drolet won the men’s race and his 16-year-old sister, Jasmine, won the women’s race. Williams finished eighth in the 50 skier field, just ahead of Noble in 10th.
— One of Kelowna’s young cyclists that I have written about in the past is Jacob Rubuliak. Besides being a great cyclist, he is also an amazingly fast long-track speed skater. Jacob, 16, won gold at the B.C. championships and finished sixth in the men’s 5,000 against a field of 18-20-year-old skaters at the Canada Winter Games.
Kelowna's Emily Young and Salmon Arm's Natalie Wilkie both did extremely well. Emily took seventh and eighth place in her biathlon events, and three top-10 results in cross-country skiing.
Natalie won silver in the long-distance race and finished fourth in her first two cross-country races.
Emily was an Olympic-level wrestler until a serious injury in a match made her right arm virtually useless. Natalie is only 18, so I expect many more medals and even greater performances from these two women over the next few years.
To be sure, cycling season seems a long ways away with the frigid weather we’ve been having.
However, things will warm up eventually, won’t they?
Meanwhile there are cycling events being held in warmer climes, and our local pro cyclist, Jordan Cheyne, had an excellent race in California. It was cool in California, with snow on the ground at the higher elevations for Jordan, and his KHS cycling team.
They were at the UCLA Road Race, a 125K race consisting of six laps of just over 20K each, with a climb of about 2,000 feet per lap. Jordan, in his previous race for the team, had acted as a domestique, pulling his teammates to the front so they could attack at the finishing sprint. This time, he was riding for himself and he made the most of it finishing second ahead of his Canadian teammate James Picolli.
A great start to his season.
The Hypothermic Half Marathon on Kelowna's Greenway lived up to its name this year as it was cold, -2 with fresh snow to run through. Surprisingly, even with the snow and frigid temperature, 65 runners turned up for what is basically just a fun run.
First overall was Kelowna's Brian Turnham, followed by West Kelowna's Emanuela Bandol and Penticton runner Brett Barnes.
“It's always great to have a race in your hometown and, with the race-day conditions, we treated it like a long run. We all socialized after the race and enjoyed the included brunch,” said my friend Janice (The Racer) Bradshaw.
The next race in the Canadian Tire Road Race series is the Spring Run Off 10K in Kamloops on March 17.
The Cherry Blossom Triathlon is an ideal first triathlon or tune-up. The race is May 5, but if you want to enter, you better hurry. It is already 80 per cent full for this year.
Cherryblossomtriathlon.com has registration information.
Bill Stephens is a Kelowna writer, athlete and volunteer. His column appears regularly.