WHISTLER, B.C. – The UBC nordic ski team continued their string of excellent results at this year’s national championships, held at the Whistler Olympic Park.
The women raced a 10-kilometre classic interval start and 1.4km sprint. Kirsten Bock (100 Mile House, BC) raced to 20th in the 10km race before breaking through in the sprint. Bock showed her sprinting prowess by placing tenth in the individual sprint. Despite battling illness for the duration of the championships, she flew around the 1.4km course in just over four minutes. Her qualifying time placed her ahead of many Junior National Team and National Development Centre skiers. Solen Roth (Ottawa, ON) also produced a very solid 19th place in the sprint event. The consistent results of Roth and Bock throughout the championship, plus a top-30 placing for Katrina Dutkiewicz (Cambridge, UK) on the second day of competition, were good enough to put the UBC women into fifth place overall.
The men raced a 15km classic interval start and 1.6km sprint. Racing at noon, the men had to deal with hot temperatures and a slippery track. Robert Ragotte (Brampton, ON) was UBC’s top racer in the 15km event, coming through for 16th place. Alistair Hardy-Poirier (West Vancouver, BC) followed Ragotte in 21st. Nico Petch (Kamloops, BC) produced a strong sprint to record UBC’s best result of the day, crossing the line in 18th place. Ragotte was on his way to a top-ten finish before he crashed off course on a corner late in the race and ended up finishing 19th, one spot behind Petch. The men’s results were good enough for a sixth-place standing in the team competition, one spot behind the University of Alberta.
Perhaps the most impressive results from the championships came from Mikhail Fain, who raced in the paranordic category as a result of a serious arm injury. Fain held his own against the nation’s top paranordic skiers, including this year’s World Cup champion, winning the silver medal in the 10km race and the bronze medal in the 15km.
The end of the national championships brings to a close what was an excellent season for UBC skiers. With Petch and Roth finishing up their last year of eligibility, they will need to find athletes to fill the void they leave.