Elite Amateur Sport Skiing

HIGH ACHIEVERS: 6 national capital region nordic skiers qualify for world championships

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By Martin Cleary

Cross-country skier Jasmine Lyons of Nakkertok Nordic will have double duty, when it comes to the world championships over the next six weeks.

The Ottawa skier, who attends the University of New Hampshire, was named Monday to the Canadian teams for the world U23 cross-country ski championships, which start Saturday in Whistler, B.C., and the world senior championships Feb. 21 to March 5 in Planica, Slovenia.

At last week’s Canadian world championship team trials in Prince George, B.C., Lyons was a standout racer and the top Canadian in the classic 20-kilometre and skate 10-kilometre races in both the women’s and U23 classes.

In the classic sprint, she was second in the U23 class and the fifth Canadian overall.

“I’m stoked about it,” Lyons said in a phone interview about being selected for two world championships. “It was definitely a goal to qualify for the U23 team. It was what I was planning for.

“It will be difficult (to compete in two world championships). I have talked to my professors and they are most accommodating.”

A third-year bio-med student, Lyons expects to miss four weeks of school, while competing at her two worlds. She represented Canada at the 2022 world junior championships in Norway.

“I hope to use the world U23s to qualify for the Canadian (senior) team. But I have no expectations for the world seniors. I’m going to get the experience,” she added.

Lyons will be joined at the world senior championships by Katherine Stewart-Jones of Chelsea, PQ., Nakkertok Nordic and the Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy, and Club Skinouk’s Antoine Cyr. Stewart-Jones and Cyr have scored personal-best results on the World Cup circuit this season.

The Canadian team for the world junior championships, which run Saturday through Feb. 4 in Whistler, will include Nakkertok’s Luke Allan of Dartmouth College, Nakkertok’s Anna Stewart of the AIAWCA and Ry Prior of Chelsea Nordiq and AIAWCA.

“I’m super excited,” Allan, 19, said in a phone interview Monday night from Whistler. “It has been a life-time goal of mine. I hope to make Canada proud with good results.”

At the Canadian trials, Allan placed second in the classic sprint and the 20-kilometre classic mass start as well as third in the skate 10-kilometre race.

“Overall, I was very satisfied and hope for much more at Whistler,” the national development team member added about his trials’ races.

The world junior and U23 races will be held at the site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Canadian team raced on those courses last March at the national championships.

“I really enjoyed those courses,” Allan added. ”They’re really hilly with twists and turns, but they are fun. It has given me confidence.”

Stewart was the second junior in the women’s classic 20-kilometre race and sixth in the skate 10-kilometre race. Prior was fourth in the men’s junior sprint, 10th in the skate 10-kilometre race and 20th in the classic 20-kilometre race.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 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 High Achievers “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 martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

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