Young cross-country skiers of Vancouver Island made the Strathcona Nordic race team proud with seven podium finishes at the Teck BC Cup in early January.
Athletes as young as 12 represented the Island at the first Teck BC Cup series of 2020 in Salmon Arm on Jan. 4 and 5. The Strathcona Nordic Ski Club’s team of 13 Island-based skiers competed against more than 400 athletes from across B.C.
Amelia Wells, a Saanich skier and Grade 12 student, earned two bronze medals – in the classic technique sprint race on day one and in a hilly interval skate race on day two. The young athlete attends Reynolds Secondary and the Canadian Sport School.
The classic technique sprints involved a challenging course which saw elevation changes ranging from 150 metres to 800 metres and an uphill climb to the finish line. In the U18 category, Emma Wong of Courtenay finished second and Wells finished third. Courtney athlete Hugo Henckel adeptly avoided a crash with a fallen competitor and earned a silver medal in the U16 group. Gabe Gledhill of Cumberland stayed focused through his heats to finish in third place in U18.
The Galik siblings of Royston represented the Island in the younger categories. Ben placed second while his older sisters Gillian, U12, and Maddie, U14, claimed gold and fourth place respectively.
The hilly interval skate races on day two saw athletes all begin their races at up to 30-second intervals. Demonstrating their consistency, Wong and Wells once again placed second and third in the U18 girls’ category. Gledhill placed fourth and Gavin Chatterton, U14, skied into third.
In the U12 race, Gillian earned silver and Carly Ram of Comox claimed fourth place.
Head coach Andrea Stapff was proud of the team and commended their ability to deal with the challenges faced over the weekend including poor snow conditions and road closures.
“The entire weekend was about supporting each other; it was great to see the camaraderie and effort put out by each and every athlete,” Stapff said.
The team has now set their sights on the 2020 Haywood Western Canada Cup at Ski Callaghan in Whistler where they will compete alongside skiers from Canada’s National team. For more information about the Strathcona Nordic team, visit the website at www.strathconanordics.com.