—Beatty snags first national title, Harvey posts back-to-back victories—
WHITEHORSE—Dahria Beatty and Alex Harvey will etch their names in the history books as champions of the 10- and 15-kilometre skate-ski races at the 2016 Haywood Ski Nationals.
Beatty, who finished second to fellow Whitehorse resident Emily Nishikawa in Sunday’s classic races, was determined to take down the veteran in Tuesday’s 10-kilometre skate-ski race. The 22-year-old Beatty hammered the pace in her three trips around the 3.3 kilometre track to clock a winning time of 26:08.1 under ideal race conditions.
“I started second today so I went out hard and fed off the amazing cheering by so many people out here,” said Beatty. “Emily was starting her first lap when I was completing my final lap so I was getting splits on her. Today was really about who could suffer the most. I just left everything out there on that last lap and suffered as much as I could and it paid off.”
Nishikawa, who was the lone Canadian woman to race the entire year on the World Cup, laid it all out there but couldn’t muster the fuel to overcome the will of Beatty. Nishikawa, who won the first two women’s races on the weekend, finished in the silver-medal spot at 26:14.3.
“I put out another good fight, but Dahria was really strong so I’m really proud of her. It is really exciting and great to see Whitehorse athletes going one-two again so I couldn’t be happier today,” said Nishikawa, who took advantage of a day off on Monday to make a visit to her elementary school – Selkirk Elementary.
“It was super cool to get back to talk to the kids about skiing. I think it is inspiring for both of us and I thought it was really cool they are all in ski programs at school.”
Katherine Stewart-Jones, of Gatineau, Que., skied to her second straight bronze medal in women’s action with a time of 26:52.2.
Alex Harvey, of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., has been putting on a show for Canada’s next generation of elite skiers. Taking advantage of being in Canada this spring to compete in the Haywood Ski Nationals, Harvey skied to his second consecutive national title – this time in the men’s 15-kilometre skate-ski race.
Harvey, who dominated Sunday’s classic-ski race, was in tough Tuesday while battling it out with two of his World Cup teammates – Ivan Babikov and Graeme Killick.
When the dust finally settled after the top men’s skiers on the country completed four laps around the 3.75 kilometre loop, it was the 27-year-old Harvey finishing on top with a winning time of 32:36.5.
“Of course we are all a little tired being at the end of the season, but I think it is really important for us National Team skiers to come to the Nationals when the schedule allows it,” said Harvey, who had two World Cup podium performances this year.
“I think giving the up and coming skiers the opportunity to race against us, shows them the speed and technique they need to be successful internationally. I remember being a junior and juvenile and wanting to compare myself in real life to the top Canadian guys.”
Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., continued his successful spring with a silver medal. Babikov, who had three top-15 results to finish the prestigious Ski Tour Canada earlier this month posted a time of 32:54.3. It was the second podium of the week for the cagey veteran. The feisty Babikov celebrated a gold medal in the team sprint with Jesse Cockney in the opening event of the national championships.
Graeme Killick, who also turned in career-best finishes as the World Cup season came to a close, climbed onto the podium for the first time this week at the Haywood Ski Nationals. Killick, of Fort McMurray, Alta., stopped the clock at 33:34.1 to earn him a bronze medal.
Ontario’s Sadie White won the junior women’s 10-kilometre skate-ski race with a time of 27:37.8. British Columbia’s Gareth Williams won the junior men’s 15-kilometre race after clocking-in at 35:43.2.