(Sherbrooke, Quebec) - Sarah Cullinan of Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club put in strong performances against tough competition at the Haywood Canada Cup Eastern Canadian Championships this past weekend at Bishop's University located in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Racing in challenging conditions due to the cold and difficult courses, Cullinan came away with 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal in her age category (Under 16). Big Thunder Nordic and Lakehead University Varsity Nordic Ski Team's Head Coach, Adam Kates, stated, "Another very solid weekend for the team at a very competitive race against the best skiers in Eastern Canada. Sarah Cullinan led the Big Thunder charge with 2 gold medals and 1 silver, showing that she is one of the best skiers her age in the country and a total fighter on every inch of a race course.”
Friday, February 7th kick-started the competition with a free technique prologue for the U16 and U14 categories and free technique sprints for all other categories. Cullinan placed an impressive 2nd place in the 3 km prologue while teammate Anna Stewart, racing up a category in the Under 20 1400 m skate sprints, placed a strong 2nd. Alex Randall, also of Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club placed in the top 20, placing 18th in the Under 18 1100 m skate sprint.
Saturday showcased the individual start classic technique races. Stewart put in another solid performance, crossing the line in 4th place overall in the Under 18 Women 10 km classic. Cullinan proved again that she is one of the top racers in her age category in Eastern Canada, placing 1st in the Under 16, 5 km classic event. Matthew Randall of Big Thunder Nordic put in a strong race, crossing the line in 47th in the Under 16 category. Brother Alex Randall placed 44th in the U18 Men 15 km classic.
On the final day of competition, Sunday, February 9th, it was a mass start free technique. The race was delayed due to very cold temperatures but the skiers toughed it out and put in yet another day of strong performances. Sarah Cullinan came away with the gold medal in her age group, Under 16 girls 7.5 km while Anna Stewart yet again put in a great race placing 3rd in the Under 18 women category 15 km skate race. Alex Randall cracked the top 30, placing 24th in the Under 18 men 15 km while brother Matthew crossed the line in 55th in the Under 16 boys 15km. Coach Kates said of Stewart, "Anna Stewart was in good form again, racing up a category and picking up a silver medal in the U20 sprint. She finished the weekend with a very gutsy bronze medal in a cold and difficult course against stiff competition.”
Overall, it was a great weekend for Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club. Head Coach Adam Kates expressed his thoughts, "I'm really happy with how the team continues to perform and how great the supportive vibe is at each race. Two more big races coming up for our program with the Ontario University Association (OUA) Championships and the Ontario Winter Games before heading to nationals to compete against the rest of the country in the season finale.”
The following races are next on the agenda for local Thunder Bay athletes:
- Ontario University Association (OUA) Championships: February 21st, 22nd, 23rd in Sault Ste.Marie, ON
- Ontario Winter Games: February 27th - March 1st, 2020 Orillia, ON
- 2020 Canadian Ski Championships: March 25th - April 2nd Vernon, BC
The Haywood NorAm Race Series is the premier Canadian domestic racing series and makes up the balance of Canada's FIS Continental Cup Series used to determine Continental Cup World Cup entrant.Full results can be found on www.zone4.ca