2017 FIS Nordic Junior & U23 World Ski Championships Canadian Cross Country Ski Team

    January 12, 2017

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    From January 30th – February 5th, the world’s best, young cross-country skiers will gather at Soldier Hollow, Utah to compete at the World Junior & U23 Championships. Soldier Hollow was the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games where Beckie Scott won a history making gold medal for Canada, in the pursuit competition.
    Event Website

    The venue was also the site of an unofficial World U23 Championships in 2004, where some young Canadian skiers claimed some medals. Drew Goldsack won sprint gold and first year senior Chandra Crawford claimed silver in the women's event, just ahead of a young Justyna Kowalczyk. Devon Kershaw and Drew Goldsack skied to bronze in the team sprint as did Chandra and team-mate Dasha Gaiazova. Chandra of course went on to win a gold medal in the sprint, 2 years later at the Torino Olympics. It will be interesting to look back through the next Olympic cycle, to see how this year’s team has fared internationally.

    The last and only time the World Juniors were held in the U.S., 1986, Lake Placid, Canada’s best performance was a 4th place finish in the 15k by Mississauga’s Jane Vincent.

    Selections were based on the results of the 3 races at the U.S. National Championships, a great opportunity to race at altitude on the Championship courses against deep fields of competition. The top Canadians were automatically selected to the team, and Dahria Beatty and Maya Macisaac-Jones were preselected based on scoring World Cup points, this season and last.

    The rest of the selections were a bit of a challenge, with a lot of competition for places on the team. The variable weather conditions also made ski preparation sometimes difficult. It is always good to have a challenge with selection with so many promising athletes. While some may not have made the final team, there will be many more opportunities to prove they can represent Canada on the World stage.

    The Junior team is represented by a mix of experience, including Philippe Boucher who will be attending his 3rd World Junior Championships, and 16 year old Remi Drolet attending his first after skiing to a dominant win in the 10k classic race at the trials. Drolet credited some good altitude preparation for his performances. “I wasn’t quite expecting to qualify, but knew after I had a good race the first day, that the opportunity was there if I skied well in the mass-start. I am proud to be representing Canada at the Championships and will ski as hard as I can”.

    On the junior women’s side Annika Richardson, Canada’s Youth Olympic Games representative in 2016, was the top Canadian in the sprint and classic distance races, showing good promise for a successful World Junior event.

    On the final day Canada managed a podium sweep versus the U.S. team on the junior men’s side and 3rd and 4th in junior women (minus the U.S.’s Katherine Ogden who claimed silver in the open 20k). These types of performances with our southern counterparts, suggest the team should be ready to compete with the rest of the World at the end of the month.

    Junior Women
    1. India McIsaac, Rocky Mountain Racers
    2. Annika Richardson, Thunder Bay NTDC - Hollyburn
    3. Claire Grall-Johnson, Nakkertok
    4. Natalie Hynes, Whitehorse
    5. Lisle Compton, Thunder Bay NTDC - Kenora
    Alternate: Benita Peiffer, Whistler Nordic

    Junior Men
    1. Gareth Williams, Telemark
    2. Étienne Hébert, Montériski 
    3. Remi Drolet, Black Jack
    4. Ryan Jackson, Team Hardwood
    5. Reed Godfrey, Canmore Nordic
    6. Ty Godfrey, Canmore Nordic
    7. Antoine Blais, Skibec
    8. Philippe Boucher, CNEPH - Skibec

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    India McIsaac - Annika Richardson - Claire Grall-Johnson - Natalie Hynes - Lisle Compton

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    Étienne Hébert - Rémi Drolet - Gareth Williams - Philippe Boucher - Ryan Jackson - Antoine Blais

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    Reed Godfrey - Ty Godfrey
     
     
    The U23 team is led by Dahria Beatty, having skied to 25th and 26th place World Cup results so far this season. Her best result was a 4th place overall result in the sprint against a strong U.S. contingent.
     
    “It has been amazing to start the season with a World Cup top-30 result in both sprint and distance. I am really looking forward to carrying that positive energy forward into the championship events. The US Nationals has been a bit turbulent for me with the volume, altitude and challenging conditions but this was never a week I was planning to peak for and there has been lots of good learning from it and some decent results as well. I am confident that when I come back in 3 weeks I will be racing faster and smarter thanks to this week of races!”

    On the men’s side there have been several athletes rising to the top of the Canadian group, with some good potential for breakthrough performances at the Worlds.

    U23 Women
    1. Dahria Beatty, AWCA - Whitehorse
    2. Maya Macisaac-Jones, AWCA – Rocky Mountain Racers
    3. Katherine Stewart-Jones, Thunder Bay NTDC – Nakkertok Nordique
    4. Frederique Vézina, CNEPH – Mont Ste. Anne
    5. Jenn Jackson, Lappe
    Alternate: Isabella Howden, Team Hardwood
     
    U23 Men
    1.     Evan Palmer-Charrette, Thunder Bay NTDC – Lappe
    2.     Julian Smith, Thunder Bay NTDC – Georgian Bay Nordic
    3.     Scott Hill, Team Hardwood
    4.     Julien Lamoureux, CNEPH - Montériski 
    5.     Alexis Dumas, CNEPH - Skibec
    Alternate: Thomas Hardy, Telemark

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    Dahria Beatty - Maya Macisaac-Jones - Katherine Stewart-Jones - Frédérique Vézina - Jenn Jackson

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    Evan Palmer-Charette - Julian Smith - Scott Hill - Julien Lamoureux - Alexis Dumas
     
    ‘’This is the largest team we have put together outside of Canada to compete at the U23-WJC. The team of 22 athletes represents the work and dedication of 3 training centres and 12 clubs from across Canada.’’ said a very enthusiastic Thomas Holland, CCC High Performance Director.

    Athletes who participated at US Nationals have now returned to the comfort of to their respective home training grounds. The U23-Junior World Championship Team will reunite in Canmore, Alberta for a camp starting on January 22nd, up until their departure for the big event in Utah on January 27th, 2017. 
     
     
    Best Wishes to all the selected athletes and staff for a successful Championship in Soldier Hollow, Utah! We look forward to cheering for Team Canada!

    You can follow the action as always on CCC’s Website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram