Daria Gaiazova and Brent McMurtry Celebrate Gold at Haywood Ski Nationals in Whistler

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March 26, 2013, Whistler, BC (ISN) – Canada’s National Ski Team athletes cranked up the heat at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Whistler B.C. on Tuesday as Daria Gaiazova and Brent McMurtry won gold in the women’s and men’s individual start classic-ski races.

Having just returned home from the World Cup Finals on the weekend, the 29-year-old Gaiazova fought off jet lag and fatigue from a long season on the elite circuit to shatter the women’s field with a time of 32:13.4 in the women’s 10-kilometre race.

“The skis were amazing – like insanely good today. Joel (Jacques) absolutely nailed it,” said Gaiazova. “When you have good skis it is easy to give a little extra because you get fired up. The goal was to mentally force myself to go hard and I’m happy I was able to do that.”

Warm conditions and heavy snow on the trails forced the nation’s top Nordic skiers to dig a little deeper on Tuesday. Gaiazova was joined on the national podium by World Cup teammate, Perianne Jones of Almonte, Ont., in second spot at 35:39.4. Alysson Marshall, of Salmon Arm, B.C., skied to the bronze medal with a time of 35:46.7.

Japan’s Chisa Obayashi clocked the second fastest time at 25:27.6, but international athletes cannot medal at the national championships.

Meanwhile, Calgary’s Brent McMurtry won the first individual national title of his ski career in the men’s 15-kilometre classic-ski race. McMurtry, who kicked off the national championships by winning gold in the team sprint with Jesse Cockney on the weekend, clocked the time to beat at 41:26.9.

“It was super hard out there. I just tried to ski technically well and stay as relaxed as possible,” said the 26-year-old member of the National Ski Team. “The time gaps were big out there but there were lots of rabbits to chase down. I’m happy with the way I felt. This means a lot to me today.”

Two Whitehorse athletes snagged the final spots on the podium. David Greer finished 44.3 seconds off the leading mark to claim the silver, while Graham Nishikawa crossed the line 53.3 seconds behind McMurtry to lock up the bronze.

Rune Malo Odegaard, of the United States, did post the second-fastest time of the day 41:49.7, but is not eligible for the medals.

Earlier in the day it was Sophie Carrier-Laforte, of Skinouk, who won the junior girls 10-kilometre race with a time of 32:13.4. Thomas Hardy, of Larch Hills Ski Club, won the junior boys 7.5-kilometre start with a time of 20:29.7.

In Para-Nordic racing, it was New Brunswick’s Louis Fortin taking the men’s 7.5-kilometre standing category with a time of 33:37.6, while Ottawa’s Margarita Gorbounova clocked-in at 33:27.0 to win the women’s standing race. Chris Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., clocked a time of 29:35.0 to win the men’s 7.5-kilometre sit-ski race. Emily Suchy, of Revelstoke, B.C., won the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski championship after stopping the clock at 20:38.1.

The Haywood Ski Nationals continue on Wednesday with the junior and juvenile sprint races. The elite sprinters will be back in action on Thursday. For complete results in all race categories, please visit us at: www.zone4.ca

Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities, AltaGas, Statoil and Canadian Pacific – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2ten, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com.

Complete Haywood Ski Nationals Results: www.zone4.ca