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Local skiers get off to good start in Canmore

More than 50 skiers and support staff are competing Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore.
Gavin Shields and Noah Thompson Relay
Gavin Shields and Noah Thompson competing in Canmore, Alta.

CANMORE, Alta - In the Canadian College and University National Championships division (CCUNC), Lakehead University Thunderwolves took 2nd (Noah Thompson and Gavin Shields) and 4th (Noah Taylor and Geoffrey Way-nee) in a field of nine men’s teams. Then Jennifer Jackson and Makaila Hudson grabbed second for the Thunderwolves in the women’s CCUNC category.

In the hotly contested Challenge Boys category, Big Thunder 1 (Kai Meekis and Fred Serratore) skied to ninth place, while Aleksi Luoma and Martti Muzyka of Big Thunder 2 were 27th out of a whopping 76 teams. The Challenge Girls category also was a large one, and Heidi Stewart and Charlotte Johnson were 22nd out of 71 teams.

Going for the glory, the Lappe Lads (Mike Somppi and Gavin Shields- skiing a second time) placed 3rd in the Open Men category. Big Thunder 2 ( Graham Ritchie and Leif Lennie) were 12th and Big Thunder 1 (Erik Schlyter and Aidan Carr) were 21st out of 30 teams. In the Open Women, the Lappe Lasses (Jenn Jackson - also doing double duty with a fresh partner, Hannah Shields) placed 2nd of 16 teams.

Race action continues on Day two with over 700 skiers competing in a short distance interval start free style race.

Over 50 Thunder Bay athletes and support staff are among the 900 or so Canadian athletes and crew who have descended on the picturesque town of Canmore, Alta. to compete at the 2017 Haywood Ski Nationals March 18th to 25th.

National Team Development Centre (NTDC) athletes began arriving midweek. Many of these athletes have skied these trails numerous times. By next week they will number 13 athletes plus four coaches and waxers.

Lappe Nordic Ski Club’s five athletes are accompanied by their coach Kevin Shields and Lappe Nordic Club president Rod Somppi. Rod has been busy getting updated on the latest advances in race timing, since he will be the Chief of Timing for the 2018 Ski Nationals, which will be held back home in Thunder Bay.

Finally, several of the Thunder Bay athletes will be donning the distinctive yellow and blue suits with the wolf paw on the back. They will be skiing for the Lakehead University Thunderwolves in the Canadian College and University Championships (CCUNC) competition. These races also are part of the Ski Nationals and the Lakehead University Thunderwolves were the CCUNC Champions in 2015 and 2016.