Carly Ram in action at Whistler Olympic Park. Photo supplied

Carly Ram in action at Whistler Olympic Park. Photo supplied

Comox Valley Nordic skier wins two gold medals at nationals

The Strathcona Nordic Ski Club is fresh off the final event of the season, the 2022 Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships and U.S. Super Tour Finals. Held at Whistler Olympic Park, the event was a nine-day Nordic festival with over 700 racers from across North America, including several 2022 Olympians and Paralympians from Canada and the U.S.

Twelve Strathcona Nordics had several stellar performances, placing 15th overall in national standings out of 61 clubs.

Carly Ram of Courtenay won gold medals in the 3.3km and 10km skate races, along with a 14th in 5km classic and ninth in the 1km classic sprint. She finished second in overall aggregate standings in the U16 age group out of 80-plus athletes. She teamed with Anna Chatterton of Campbell River to finish fourth, and reached the podium in the Challenge Girls (combined U16 and U18) team sprint, an exciting event with the top 15 teams from qualifiers skiing two laps each, alternately, of a fast and at times chaotic 750m sprint course.

Amelia Wells and her teammate from the University of Calgary won the Canadian College and University Nordic Championships (CCUNC) team sprint event. Wells is a club member studying in Calgary and skiing at the Alberta World Cup Academy training centre. She was also second in the 5km skate, fourth in the 22.5km skate, fifth in the 10km classic and eighth in the 1.4km classic sprint. Wells was third overall in the CCUNC women’s aggregate standings.

Further notable results came from Anna Chatterton in the U18 girls category with three top 25 placings: 13th in the 5km skate, 17th in the 15km skate and 24th in the 1km classic sprint. Her brother Gavin had three top-30 placings in the U16 boys category: 17th in the 5km skate, 22nd in the 10km skate and 29th in the 1km classic sprint.

Madelaine and Gillian Galik of Royston were 11th (and second fastest qualifier) in the U16 girls 1km classic sprint for Madelaine and 10th in the Challenge Girls team sprint with her partner and sister Gillian. Gillian, a U14 skier, placed 11th in the U16 5km classic, 26th in the 3.3km skate and 28th in the 1km classic sprint.

In U18 boys and U20 mens, Jakob Kainz, an international student from Austria attending Vanier, was 11th in the 10km classic, 19th in the 1km classic sprint and 24th in the 10km skate. He and Hugo Henckel were 11th in the Challenge Boys team sprint final. Hugo placed 10th in the 1km classic sprint.

Campbell River’s Gavin Johnston, coming off a win at the Canadian Biathlon Championships, finished 25th in the 10km and 22.5km skate races.

Rounding out the results was a 43rd placing for Rory Bratrud of Comox in the U18 boys 1km classic sprint, and a solid week of racing experience for two younger U14 athletes, Talia MacPhail-McGrady of Comox and Everett Wells of Victoria, who seized the opportunity to put themselves on the line against the best U16 athletes in the country.

“I couldn’t be happier,” coach Andrea Stapff said. “This is the best overall performance from a group of athletes from our club to date at these championships. A double national champion, a national CCUNC champion and so many top performances across the group speaks to their commitment and hard work. I’m proud of each and everyone. It was a long and at times challenging week with crazy weather ranging from sun to snow to torrential rain, and these athletes persevered and rose to the occasion. I’d also like to express my gratitude to assistant coach Marika Galik, and wax technicians Kurt Galik and Jim Bratrud. It takes a community and these folks along with an incredible group of parents, are what make it all happen.”

Comox Valleycross country skiing