Morning Star Staff
Hannah Mehain of Vernon used a pair of gold and one silver medal to win the overall Junior Girls Division aggregate at the recent Cross-Country Ski National Championships in Thunder Bay.
Mehain also posted a seventh-place at Lappe Nordic Centre. She was accompanied by her Sovereign Lake teammates Michelle Metza, Eric Embleton, Aidan Andrews, Carson Bassett, Emma Smedley, Paige Latta, Ian Oliphant and coach Darren Derochie, wax technician Ralph Smedley and team logistics people Theresa Korobanik and Mae Hooper.
Day 2 was golden for Mehain as she topped theJunior girls five-kilometre interval start free technique in 14 minues and 22 seconds. She was only 59 seconds back of the Open Women’s champion.
Said Derochie of Mehain’s first gold: “She was physically prepared and the mental tools were well practiced. She was calm and committed and her heart and mind were in the right place to just go out there and focus on what she had to do.”
Mehain gave props to Derochie for preparing her for success.
“In order to be powerful, one first must be relaxed,” she said. “This is what Darren has been telling me all along and I am just starting to understand. During my race I was thinking…calm in the mind, relaxed in the body and ski every inch of the course to the best of my ability.”
On Day 4, the technique changed to classic and Mehain took silver in the 10-km. Metza placed 42nd in the same category.
Latta, also experiencing her first nationals, had her best race placing 20th while Smedley was 31st in the Juvenile Girls 5-km. Both the Junior and Juvenile Boys skied the 7.5-km course with Embelton placing 53rd out of 78 competitors and Oliphant 42nd, Andrews 52nd, and Bassett 54th in a field of 74.
In the Classic 1.3-km short sprints qualifier on Day 6, Mehain qualified second in the Junior Girls category while Smedley was 14th out of 63 skiers in the Juvenile Girls. In the afternoon heats, Mehain was seventh and Smedley 26th. Embelton and Oliphant were ninth in the sprint team semifinal and 34th in the final.
overeign showed continued impressive results on Day 2 with Smedley 19th and Latta 36th out of 67 skiers in the Juvenile Girls category.
Andrews placed 26th, only 95 seconds behind the leader, with Oliphant placing 30th and Bassett 53rd out of 74 skiers in the Juvenile Boys category.
Metza skied to a 44th in the Junior Girls and Eric Embelton was 42nd in the 10-km Junior Boys.
With 80 skiers in his category and racing his first nationals, Embelton skied well considering the tough competition.
“Nationals was really fun and there was a lot of good competition,” he said. “I can’t wait until next year.”