DUNTROON – St. Marys DCVI ski team laid their lungs on the line at the WOSSAA Nordic ski championships here last Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Highlands Nordic Centre (south of Collingwood).
Most athletes agreed that the first 1.5 k.m. uphill portion was challenging, but allowed for an easier second half of the course.
Lydia Taylor placed first individually in the Junior girls category, the first Saluki to cross the line after racing 3.5 k.m. in a time of 14 minutes, 58 seconds. Lili Smith took the bronze medal (only four seconds behind Taylor in 15:02), with Jaydn DeBoer (15:17), Kaitie Gratton (17:22) and Melanie Martin (17:23) helping to secure a gold medal for a team. The Salukis then flew in the relay event, also placing first, and all five members will advance to OFSAA this week.
DCVI Senior girl Grace Hutton claimed the silver individual medal, completing her 6 k.m. race in 23:17, with her teammates Hazel Taylor (fifth in 24:41) Jenna Dufton, Vanessa Vernooy and Emily Vink hot on her heels. They combined to finish second as a team. The Sr. Salukis were hungry to advance to OFSAA, so in the relay these girls turned on the rockets to earn the silver medal in the 4X800-metre sprint.
Hutton first in Senior boys
The Senior boys battled through their tough 7.5 km event. Joe Hutton pulled it together to win the race, crossing the finish line in 22:31. Teammates Liam DeNeve (fifth in 26:16), Jarod Medd (sixth in 26:28), Mackenzie Forman and Sam Bolton filled in the gaps to allow Salukis to win the team event and capture the gold in the relay, too. Sean Slater (13th) snuck into the overall individual standings to qualify for OFSAA as well.
In the Junior boys category, there was little doubt that DCVI’s Ethan Aarts would handily win. He did in a blistering time of 17:40. What followed was anything but miraculous. Teammates Jake Littlejohn was second (20:10), Adam DeNeve third (20:15), Scott Standeaven fourth (21:24), Owen Wrigley fifth (21:26), Curtis Taylor sixth (21:34), Carter Reid eighth and Aaron Vernooy 10th. The St. Marys Juniors secured the gold-medal win as well as the silver!
To sum this up, DCVI skiers won three individual titles, three team titles, and both the overall Junior and Senior titles last Tuesday at WOSSAA.
Good luck to the 26 team members from DCVI who qualified for OFSAA, which is being held in Duntroon Thursday, Feb. 28 and Friday, Mar. 1.