The Black Jack ski community put on another seemless show, as they welcomed close to 200 skiers to the Rossland track for the Haywood/Teck NorAm cross-country ski races on the weekend.
The race featured the elite of North America’s cross-country skiers as the participated in a whirl wind of heats and finals, that local officials and volunteers pulled off without incident or delay.
“The organizers should get a pat on the back for doing an extremely good job,” said Black Jack ski coach Dave Wood. “From the organizer that put on a hell of a good event to the athletes, it was a great weekend for the club.”
In addition to the organizers great performance, Black Jack skiers also had a pretty good week despite their youth.
After finishing 14th in the sprints, Black Jack skier David Palmer turned in an incredible ski on Sunday taking second in the junior men’s 15-kilometre race.
“So far this season, he’s coming up to another level,” said coach Dave Wood. “Because of his ranking from last year, he was seeded way back in the field.”
Palmer was seeded 48th but turned in an impressive 15th position overall and second in his category. The Black Jack skier came from almost 13 seconds back to slash the lead on the third and final lap of the 15 K race, but he couldn’t quite catch Knute Johnsgaard, losing to the Yukon skier by a mere second.
Former Black Jack racers Geoffrey Richards and Rebecca Reid also picked up second-place finishes in the Junior men’s and women’s sprint races on Saturday.
Richards, who now trains in Whistler, finished behind Johnsgaard of Whitehorse in the sprint final and also collected a fifth-place finish in the junior men’s 15-km race on Sunday.
In the senior men’s sprint quarterfinal, favourite Philip Widmer of Canmore was involved in a spectacular crash coming round the hair-pin turn and colliding with Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) teammate Mathew Wylie to eliminate both from contention.
“If you’re not concentrating, things can happen,” said Wood.
Jesse Cockney ended up taking the race beating out Brent McMurty and Kevin Sandau. However, Sandau would exact some revenge, winning the 15-K for the second week in a row with McMurty coming second and Graeme Killick third.
Reid who now skis with the AWCA performed well after finishing fifth in Sovereign Lakes race last week.
She posted her second place behind Maya MacIsaac-Jones in the sprint and followed that with a sixth place finish in the Junior Women’s 10-km. event Sunday, 22nd overall.
Jessica Diggins of the U.S. beat out AWCA’s Alysson Marshall to win the event for the second week in a row. Jennie Bender of the U.S. finished third.
Other Black Jack results include Peter Locke finishing in 21st, Shawn Degroot 23rd, Julien Locke in 25th and Nick Underwood in 26th place for the junior men’s 15-km event.
In junior women’s 10-K, Jill Reynolds came 14th and Susanne Fraser 17th. In Juvenile girls Megan Heximer placed fifth while Robyn Locke came in sixth. Anika Nykanen nabbed second and Sage Robine placed third in midget girls 2 category, while Mychaela McLean and Bronwyn Moore finished fourth and fifth respectively in midget girls 1.
The Black Jack racers next big race is in Whistler next month, as the club competes in the World Junior Under-23 Trials at the Callaghan Valley Cross-Country Ski Club.