Over 500 athletes took to the start line at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre last weekend to compete in what was the first stop on the Haywood NorAm race series, a national-level competition for cross-country ski racers across Canada and the U.S.
These races partially served as a qualifier for athletes to attend the Winter Olympics and were also deemed good practice for many volunteers as the Nordic club prepares to host Ski Nationals in March 2020.
Races saw Olympians such as Kris Freeman (USA), Brian Gregg (USA), Caitlin Gregg (USA), as well as countless members of Canada and U.S. National Ski Teams. There were a number of Vernon athletes competing including Junior National Ski Team member Hannah Mehain.
“This race weekend is always a fantastic start to the season,” said Sovereign Lake Nordic Club Head Coach Eric de Nys. “Many first-time experiences for local athletes which is all part of building a strong future.”
Another one of those local athletes is Junior woman Paige Latta, who placed 17th in Saturday’s sprint qualifiers and ultimately finished 21st in the heats on home turf.
“I felt good in the qualifier and went out strong pushing over the hills into the finish,” said Latta. “The home course was challenging but fun and made for a good battle with other competitors during the heats.”
Former U.S. Ski Team member and Olympian, Andy Newell, also competed at Sovereign Lake over the weekend and won first place in Saturday’s sprint races.
The Sovereign Lake Nordic Ski Team, along with most Canadian cross-country ski racers, will travel to Canmore, Alberta this week for the next stop on the Haywood NorAm as well as the World Jr/U23 trials.
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