It’s a good thing Darren Derochie pays attention to everything.
The Sovereign Lake Nordic Ski Club head coach and former Olympian gets credit from skier Hannah Mehain for helping her achieve a pair of silver medals at the season-ending Haywood Nationals Canadian cross-country ski championships at the Whitehorse Nordic Centre.
Mehain, who had just come back from a successful experience at the World Junior Championships in Romania, won silver in the exciting spring event, followed by an amazing performance on the last day of competition in the 7.5-km classic race.
“A large part of the success that I had at Nationals was due to Darren’s diligence in making sure that all the details were taken care of,” said Mehain, adding that a key part of Derochie’s skill set is his ability to understand and address each individual athletes’ needs.
The 10-day national championships brought together the best skiers from across Canada, including 11 of Sovereign’s finest athletes: Mehain, Eric Embleton, Aidan Andrews, Carson Bassett, Ian Oliphant, Samantha Loewen, Michelle Metza, Emma Smedley, Paige Latta, Madison Land and Clara Hardy.
Derochie, together with his dedicated crew of eight volunteer support staff, put in countless hours managing ski waxing and testing, on course support, pre-race massage, and nutritional needs, in order that the athletes could focus on their individual preparation and the job of racing.
All 11 achieved individual victories by pushing personal limits, honing in on technical prowess developed over seasons of dedicated training, and realizing new confidences in their ability to be among Canada’s best.
Derochie’s leadership with his athletes has been instrumental to the teams’ success. Every athlete on the junior development squad had top-five and top-10 finishes in season races, with many reaching the podium repeatedly.
“Darren is a coach that inspires,” said Oliphant, who won the second overall aggregate award for the BC Cup circuit this season.
“He gets the most out of his athletes technically, physically and mentally and in such a demanding sport, the right leadership is critical to long- term athlete development, a goal that Derochie is committed to.”