Paige Latta of Vernon pushes up a hill during the Classic ski event at the Eastern Championships in Quebec. (Photo Submitted)

Paige Latta of Vernon pushes up a hill during the Classic ski event at the Eastern Championships in Quebec. (Photo Submitted)

Nordic medal haul for Vernon

Sovereign Racers have been busy attending several competitions all over the country.

Sovereign Racers have been busy attending several competitions all over the country.

Prince George was host to two events; the Biathlon BC Cup, and the Cross Country BC Cup. Both weekends saw chilly temperatures, but great ski conditions, as the Caledonia Nordic facility had recently received some much needed snow.

Danica Ariano enjoyed a great start to her first Biathlon BC Cup of the season, finishing first in the Sprint event, with a decent shoot and a solid ski. Her win saw her head out first on the second day of racing in the Pursuit. Skiing hard out of the gate, Ariano was aggressive and focused on each of her five 1.5-km loops.

On the range, she cleaned three of her four targets, shooting 90 per cent for the race, and taking the win.

A small group from the race team made the long drive to PG the next weekend, where the snow was still good, but chilly temperatures forced the cancellation of the midget and younger categories.

The four Junior racers did their best to stay warm in between Sprint heats on Saturday, taking warm-ups off to race, putting them on in between heats, and helicoptering their arms to try to keep the circulation going, while the thermometer stayed put at -16.

Hannah Stocker and Clara Hardy raced their way into the Junior girls B final, with Stocker taking second and Hardy fourth.

Lucas Sadesky skied his way to fourth in the Juvenile 1 boys while Torin Andrews captured a silver in the A final. Not to be left out, assistant coaches, dads and weekend wax techs Paul Hardy and Chris Andrews,skied in the 5-km open Men’s classic time trial Saturday, with Hardy finishing fourth overall and Andrews nudging ahead of a couple of his unnamed race buddies.

Sunday brought slightly colder weather and a longer, hilly terrain. On a tough 5-km course, Hardy put together a gritty race to clinch gold, while Stocker was seventh. Sadesky dug deep to ski the fastest second lap of his race, on a challenging 3.75-km course, and take the win, with Andrews coming in for the silver.

The dedicated dads skied a long and chilly 15 km skate course Sunday, finishing with icicles hanging from beards and in the bottom of their lungs. Andrews edged out his ski buddies again, and Hardy collected a hard earned silver medal that afternoon.

Two other Sovereign racers opted out on the drive to Prince George, and instead took a flight to Ottawa, to take part in the Eastern Championships, held at the Nakkertok Nordic Club in Quebec.

Paige Latta and Ian Oliphant had great success on the weekend, as they tested their stuff against a deep, competitive field. Latta, who is known for her quick and aggressive attack on the sprint course, challenged herself by racing up in the Junior Women’s category, and snagged second place in the A Sprint final. The second day of racing saw her in fine form as she skated to a fifth on the 7.5 km course. Latta found the podium again in the final event, crossing the line in second after a hard fought race in the 10-km Classic ski.

Oliphant competed in the Prologue on the first day of competition; a fast, challenging 3-km race that stresses both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. He finished 15th, just 30 seconds behind the leader. He put in another solid ski for a 15th in the 7.5 km Skate race, and finished off the competition with a gutsy fifth in the 10-km Classic race.