—Whitehorse athletes rack up three medals on day two of national championships—
WHITEHORSE—Emily Nishikawa and Alex Harvey climbed onto the top of the women’s and men’s podiums in the classic-ski interval start races on the second day of the Haywood Ski Nationals on Sunday.
Building on an opening day team sprint title with Kendra Murray, the 26-year-old leader of Canada’s women’s program did not disappoint the hometown crowd that lined the trails at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club by capturing her second straight national title. A 2014 Olympian, Nishikawa clocked the top time of 14:47.7 in the women’s five-kilometre race.
“It is so fun to be racing on my home course. It was another great race, and I’m super happy to win my second gold medal in my home town. The volunteers are doing an amazing job, and it is a real pleasure to race here,” said Nishikawa.
Fellow Whitehorse resident, Dharia Beatty is continuing one of the best months of her career. Beatty, who is also on the national development team with Nishikawa, recently had a career-best World Cup finish on the Ski Tour Canada where she put down a stellar 15th-place result in the classic-sprint race in Canmore. Beatty continued she is one of the top women’s skiers in the country again on Sunday with a second place finish after posting a time of 14:54.0.
“It was a lot of fun today and I just love this course,” said Beatty. “I love racing five k’s so I went out hard. It was awesome to do well, and to be on the podium with Emily.”
Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Chelsea, Que., had a firm grasp on the bronze medal with a time of 15:06.5.
Meanwhile, Alex Harvey smashed the field to win the men’s 10-kilometre individual start. Coming off a fifth-place overall finish on the Ski Tour Canada, the 27-year-old demonstrated he is still in top shape, winning by nearly 90 seconds. Harvey, of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., skied into the winner’s circle with a time of 24:16.1.
“It was a great day today in Whitehorse. It is always nice to see the next generation in action,” said Harvey. “I raced on skate skis so I only double-poled. I didn’t get a chance to test the course before so it was a bit of a guess but it worked and I’m happy with the result!”
Toronto’s Lenny Valjas skied to the silver medal with a time of 25:42.6. Knute Johnsgaard grabbed the third medal for Whitehorse athletes on Sunday, winning the bronze in the men’s race after stopping the clock at 25:59.3 in the two-lap race.
Athletes will have a training day on Monday. Racing resumes on Tuesday.