HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
The dynasty continues for the Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club at the Canadian cross-country ski championships.
For the 11th consecutive time, the nordic skiers from Nakkertok were the dominant athletes in the aggregate club standings, which listed a total of 64 clubs.
Olympian Katherine Stewart-Jones gave Nakkertok a positive start at Whistler, B.C., by winning the first two women’s senior races. On the opening day, she captured the interval start free five-kilometre race by 23 seconds over national teammate Dahria Beatty of Whitehorse in 12 minutes, 21 seconds.
Stewart-Jones made it two wins in two races, when she excelled in the women’s interval start classic 10-kilometre test with a time of 31:11.8 and finished 37.5 seconds ahead of Beatty. But she later scratched the remainder of her race schedule because of illness.
That withdrawal opened the door for Nakkertok teammate Hannah Shields, who entered the women’s team sprint with Zoe Williams and placed second in 13:16.26. Beatty and Sonjaa Schmidt of Whitehorse Ski Club earned the victory in 12:34.15.
Williams, who won two gold medals at the Eastern Canadian nordic championships, also produced a bronze in the women’s sprint, was the fourth Canadian in the women’s 45-kilometre marathon and also was sixth and eighth respectively in the interval start 10-kilometre classic and five-kilometre free.
Katherine Mason teamed with Magalie Daoust to win gold in the CAN open race (8×750 metres) in 13:21.88 and also took the bronze medal in the U23 45-kilometre endurance race in 2:17:40.4. Daoust also was the women’s classic sprint bronze medallist.
Racing in the women’s junior class, Katya Semeniuk won bronze medals in the 22.5-kilometre race in 1:03.30.2 as well as the challenge girls’ A race (4×750 metres) with Clara Hegan.
Nakkertok’s Addison Frank was called to the podium twice in the girls’ U16 class for a silver medal with Claire Allan in the challenge race in 6:50.90 and a bronze in the interval start classic five-kilometre test in 18:49.6.
Luke Allan showed his versatility by racing to silver medals in the men’s junior 22.5-kilometre marathon in 52:24.4 and the classic sprint.
Beijing Olympian Antoine Cyr of Skinouk collected one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. He was the top Canadian in the men’s senior interval start classic over 15 kilometres in 40:30.6, and finished second in the classic sprint and the 45-kilometre marathon in 1:40:40.4. His bronze medals were achieved in the interval start free 10 kilometres in 23:19.9 and the CAN open with Antoine Gauthier in 12:04.15.
Chelsea Nordiq’s Laura Leclair, who also represented Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics, was third in the women’s senior 45-kilometre marathon in 2:11:04.4.
In the Canadian Colleges and University Nordic Championships division, Katherine Mason of Carleton University placed first the women’s 45-kilometre marathon in 2:17:40.4, while Lakehead University’s Guillaume Pelchat took first place in the men’s team sprint (8×750 metres) with Conor McGovern in 10:39.15. Pelchat also earned a silver medal in the 22.5-kilometre endurance race in 53:13.0.
University of Ottawa’s Emma Archibald was a double gold medallist in the women’s para standing class, winning the five-kilometre free race in 18:26.8 and the sprint.
Magalie Daoust of the University of Ottawa was runner-up in the interval start classic over 10 kilometres in 35:46.2 and the 22.5-kilometre race in 1:05:45.5 as well as placing third in the interval start five-kilometre free race in 13:55.7.
Nakkertok’s Dominique Moncion-Groulx of Université Laval won silver in the interval start free covering 10 kilometres in 24:11.8 and the team sprint (8×750 meters) with Alexis Dumas before earning bronze in the 45-kilometre marathon in 1:47.52.3.
Mats Halvorsen was the silver medallist in the men’s interval start classic 15-kilometre race in 43:03.5, while the University of Ottawa’s Shilo Rousseau and Zoe Pekos combined for bronze in the women’s team sprint (8×750 metres) in 12:48.58.
Rousseau and Pekos were both fresh off of medal-winning performances at the March 13-17 Canadian Biathlon Championships in Prince George, B.C.
There, Rousseau was a quadruple champion in the junior women’s 7.5 km sprint, 10 km pursuit, 10 km mass start, and she combined with Troy Martel to win the junior mixed relay for Ontario.
Pekos was a quadruple bronze medallist in the women’s 7.5 km sprint, 10 km pursuit and the mixed relay with Trevor Kiers.
A pair of Chelsea Nordiq teammates also hit the podium at the biathlon nationals.
Ella Niedre won silver in the senior girls’ 7.5 km individual race, and Isabelle Caza won bronze in the senior girls’ 6 km sprint.
JONATHAN DAVID COMPLETES CANADA’S WORLD CUP QUEST AT HOME
Ottawa’s Jonathan David and the Canadian men’s soccer team completed their journey to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto with a 4-0 win over Jamaica.
David’s feed to Tajon Buchanan for Canada’s second goal just before halftime allowed the home side to breathe easier as they easily earned the final point required to clinch their ticket to Qatar.
With eight wins, one loss and four draws, Canada has topped the standings in the final round of Concacaf regional qualifying. David scored the second-most goals during the final round, trailing only teammate Cyle Larin.
The 22-year-old Louis-Riel high school grad is now set to make his World Cup debut from Nov. 21-Dec. 18, along with all of Team Canada, which has appeared only one in the World Cup finals back in 1986.
GEE-GEES CAPTURE TWO BRONZE MEDALS AT U SPORTS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees head coach Dave Heinbuch was “pleasantly surprised” with how his team performed at the three-day Canadian university short-course swimming championships at Université Laval.
The Gee-Gees produced two bronze medals, one RSEQ conference record, multiple team records and personal-best times and an individual national award.
Ottawa placed fifth in the men’s team standings, while the women’s team was eighth.
Malorie Kanaan, a fifth-year backstroke and freestyle swimmer and law master’s student, won the U Sports national award for academics, sports and community service excellence. She was nominated for the national award after being selected by the RSEQ conference.
Alexandre Perreault soared in the 50-metre butterfly final with a time of 23.73 seconds, which earned him the bronze medal.
“That was amazing,” Heinbuch said in a phone interview. “He did it from lane one. The men’s heat was particularly fast and to win a medal was a real positive.”
Perreault, who also had three seventh-place results including helping the men’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team of Allen Zheng, Nathan Schiffmann and Louis Bertrand to a team record 3:20.69, felt the same way.
“Getting on that podium is the one thing everyone wants going into the U Sports,” he said in a university press release. “I felt like it was the weight on the shoulders that was causing a little bit more stress than what was needed. Now, that it’s gone, I’m really happy.”
Gee-Gees teammate Hugh Lemesle of Nice, France, earned his bronze medal in the men’s 50-metre breaststroke in a team record 27.49. Will Barrett of the Gee-Gees narrowly missed a medal, placing fourth in 27.53, while a third Gee-Gee swimmer Jamie Demers took sixth in 27.83.
In the men’s 100-metre breaststroke, Barrett was fourth in an RSEQ and team record 59.81, while Lemesle was sixth in 1:00.50. Lemesle qualified for three breaststroke finals and also was fifth over 200 metres in 2:10.35.
“Going under one minute breaks that mythical barrier. It was a real good performance,” Heinbuch added about Barrett.
Brendan Van Herk swam in three A finals with a sixth-place showing in the men’s 200-metre butterfly in 1:59.86, while teammate Judson Nickerson was seventh in 2:00.86. Van Herk also was seventh in the 200- and 400-metre individual medleys in 2:02.06 and 4:19.26.
The Gee-Gees men’s 4×200-metre freestyle relay team of Bertrand, Noah Wagner, Schiffmann and Colin Shearer was seventh in 7:25.34.
Adelle Yamashita-Ball performed well in her final university championship.
She was eighth in the women’s 800-metre freestyle in 8:55.94 and won the 400-metre freestyle B final to place ninth overall in 4:17.41. She also was a vital part of three relays – sixth in the 4×200-metre freestyle with Taylor Elliott, Rachel McInnes and Amy Meharg (8:18.50), eighth in the 4×100-metre freestyle with McInnes, McKenna Spurrell and Amanda McCallum (3:53.09) and ninth in the 4×100-metre medley with Talea Claassens, Lauren Shearer and McInnes (team record 4:14.33).
Shearer missed the bronze medal in the women’s 50-metre breaststroke by 0.11 seconds, when she was fourth in 31.79. She also was eighth in the 200-metre breaststroke in 2:32.45. Abigail McKinley was sixth in the women’s 200-metre butterfly in 2:19.00.
MIKE WOODS WITHDRAWS FROM CYCLING RACE IN SPAIN
An ailing Michael Woods of Ottawa is taking more time off the pro cycling circuit, after withdrawing from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Spain.
After racing the first five stages with finishes of 44th, 52nd, 40th, 107th and 136th, the Israel Premier Tech team determined Woods needed time to rest and recover and not ride.
“After a complicated return from an illness recently, (Woods) hasn’t felt himself this week,” his team posted on Twitter. “So, the team has decided the best course of action is to take the time needed to fully recover and prepare properly for the upcoming goals.”
After a 36th-place showing in the opening stage of the five-stage Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol in mid February, Woods didn’t start the second stage. But he rebounded a week later and finished second overall in the four-stage Gran Camino with a first and a second in two stages.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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