Rhys Evans (#505

Revelstoke Nordic racers enjoy success at Western Canadian Championships

By Sally Thomson

Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club

The Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club was on the road again last weekend, sending 21 competitors to the Canadian Western Championships/BC Cup #2 race held by the Telemark Ski Club in West Kelowna. The event covered a range of ages for club athletes, including Junior girls (1993/94), Juvenile girls (1995/96), Midget boys/girls (1996-98) and Pee Wee boys/girls (1998-2001).

This event attracted almost 500 competitors from Manitoba westward, including sightings of national team members Perianne Jones, Drew Goldsack and George Grey, Olympic medalist Chandra Crawford and Paralympic medalist Brian McKeever.  

The first day of events featured a free technique sprint varying in lengths of 400 m, 600 m and 1300 m for competitors midget-aged and older. Sprint events, by nature create their own storm of excitement with a flurry of athletes all scrambling on the course for dominance, steeped in uncertainty and unpredictability. The event begins with a qualifier, skied independently, acquiring a base time in which to establish race heats, including quarter, semi and B and A finals.

Brittany Evans placed ninth out of 30 in the initial sprint qualifiers among Jr. girls, giving her a foothold and setting high expectations for a strong outcome. However, in an unusual and unfortunate moment, Brittany’s pole broke moments after a fast and furious start. A coach standing course-side tossed her a pole (a random act of sportsmanship which has become a standard in Nordic competitive sport) and Brittany fought back as best she could, narrowly missing an advancement.

Such was a similar outcome for brother, Rhys Evans, who clocked an amazing 5th place in qualifiers but was stripped of his chances early, boxed in by other competitors in his heat while on a critical hill climb on the course. Another strong finish from Megan Evans, who was first in the B finals and placed third among B.C. athletes born 1996. Close behind Megan was teammate Hanna Thomson, whose qualifying time wasn’t stellar but skied to fourth place among B.C. athletes born 1995.

On day two of competition, Megan and Hanna placed fifth and sixth overall among juvenile girls respectively in a 2.7 km classic event. New to the race circuit this season is the introduction of this short distance event, designed to be physically demanding, requiring turbo speed in combination with the ability to turn-over technique efficiently. These results entitled both Megan and Hanna to bronze medals each within their own age groups among B.C. athletes. The 1.5 km event was not lost on Alanna Brittin, whose tenacity among Pee Wee girls earned her 11th place overall in a field of 37 competitors and earned her a bronze medal among B.C. athletes for girls born 2000.

On day 3 of competition, competitors skied a mass start free technique event of longer duration, facing off with a technical course that the Telemark club is well known for. Heavy snowfall throughout the day was an added hurdle for competitors.

Our local club skiers felt quite at home, familiar with the work ethic needed to skate in soft, new snow conditions. The course descents in these conditions were negotiated by our team with ease. This is no surprise given that our team shred at RMR in their free time removing any hesitation and reinforcing fast execution of downhill techniques.

For categories Junior girl/boy and older, results from the previous two days were used to create a staggered or handicapped start. Brittany started with a handicap 1:51 seconds off the leader in what seemed hopeless in 14th position. With superhuman determination, she passed six girls on the five km course to finish in eighth, clocking a fourth overall best time for that event. On the same course, Rhys finished sixth overall, with a mere 34 seconds separating him from first place.

In a field of 38 competitors, Megan Evans didn’t disappoint, with yet another great race, this time finishing with two silver medals overall and placing second among B.C. athletes born 1996. Hanna Thomson finished in seventh position in the same event and bronze among B.C. athletes, Juvenile girls 1995. Once again, Alana proved herself as a contender decisively taking fourth place overall and second among B.C. athletes 2000 in the Pee Wee girls event.

Unique to this multiple day event was that it was prologued, a term to describe a series of time trials earning athletes points for successes over three days of competition. Megan Evans was awarded an aggregate bronze medal for a consistent performance over three events among Juvenile girls 1996.

***

Make cross country skiing competitively a part of your fitness! All ages, skiing abilities, members/non members are welcome to join us for some home style competition this Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Nordic club for the annual Team Scream Relay. The race starts at 11 a.m., with registration from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and trail fees charged for non members. The theme is western fashion costume. Choose to ski in tandem a classic or free technique style event, ski solo both events as a pursuit (both techniques). A lunch will follow along with a lodge opening ceremony. For further information, visit www.revelstokenordic.com.

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