The Lakehead Thunderwolves women’s nordic skiers will have a chance to complete a decade of dominance next weekend.
Lakehead will be vying for their 10th consecutive women’s title, and third straight men’s crown, at the Ontario university championships in North Bay on Feb. 22-23.
The team is getting a last chance tune up on the trails of the Lappe Nordic Centre this weekend, by participating in an Ontario Cup event.
One senior member of the team, Alannah MacLean, showed she is in top form by winning the women’s 7.5 kilometre classic event in a time of 25:01 on Sunday.
The race gives MacLean, who is also a member of the National Development Centre Thunder Bay, an opportunity to evaluate her physical status after a busy season that has included races in Norway.
“This was a good tune up and it gave me a good idea of where my body is now,” she said.
Lakehead skiers rounded out the top-five on Saturday, as MacLean was joined by Thunderwolves teammates Jennifer Jackson, Daphne Haggarty, Erin Tribe and Moira Haggarty.
On the men’s side, Harry Seaton led the pack with a victory over teammates Greg Kilroy and Leif Lennie in the men’s 10 kilometre classic.
Seaton, a former NDC member, has redirected his focus to his educational career and primarily only racing locally. He is the two-time defending champion in the 50 kilometre distance in the Sleeping Giant Loppet.
“I’m really happy to be racing well heading into those races because those are really important to our team and our program,” he said.
The mix of sprints and longer distances bodes well for the mixed format the Thunderwolves will encounter in North Bay, according to head coach Amanda Holdsworth.
“This race is really important for our OUAs and to get prepped for that and what it will be like skiing a longer race,” Holdsworth said.
“We’ve done quite a few sprints this year so it’s great getting the longer endurance races in.”
While Holdsworth already knows which six men will be competing next weekend, she was using this last chance to decide between two female skiers for the sixth and final spot.
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