The Strathcona Nordic ski team finished the season in style at the BC Championships March 6-8 in Kelowna. The athletes put all their training to the test with great results.
“Wow, what a weekend,” said coach Andrea Stapff.
The small team of 13 junior athletes and five senior and master athletes showed great team spirit throughout the weekend. There were three days of racing, including a mass start race using free technique, an interval start classic race and a team relay.
Ben Galik, Gillian Galik and Gavin Chatterton, the three youngest members of the team, won silver medals in all their individual races. Joa MacPhail-McGrady skied a personal best race in the mass start to come 15th for the U14 boys. Maddie Galik and Carly Ram finished the season with commanding performances for the U14 girls. Maddie had an outstanding race on the first day to win silver in the mass start skate race, only four seconds off the gold. Carly finished 10th on the first day. They finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the classic race. Tallon Noble was third in the senior men classic. James Ram was eighth and Rupert Wong 10th in the 50-59 masters skate. Grant Hihn was second in the 30-39, Wong was seventh in the 50-59 and Rick Morson, third in the 60-69 masters classic race.
Anna Chatterton and Hugo Henckel both had to pull out of the first day of racing due to injuries, but came back the next day to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Noah Doeschner-Fretts kept his focus on the long 10km course to finish ninth for U16 boys. Amelia Wells finished her season with a silver and bronze medal.
The team relay races brought more hardware home for the team. The “Island Girls” Maddie Galik, Sarah Roberts and Carly Ram were second in U14 girls, and the “Island Women” Emma Wong, Anna Chatteron and Amelia Wells captured bronze for the U20 women.
The aggregate awards were also awarded over the weekend, taking the athletes’ best races from the BC Cup Series into account. Strathcona brought home eight aggregates: Ben Galik, second; Gillian Galik, first; Gavin Chatterton, second; Maddie Galik, third; Amelia Wells, second; Emma Wong, first; Tallon Noble, third; and Rupert Wong, second place. In the final club championship aggregate award, Strathcona Nordic ski team placed sixth of 17 clubs from all corners of the province to cap off an excellent weekend.
Wong of Comox has been on top all season and finished the same way with gold medals in both of her individual races. She also recently returned from Europe where she raced with the BC Ski team.
“The competitive atmosphere around skiing in Europe was familiar, yet on a completely different level,” said Wong. “Training in ski areas with hundreds of kilometres of trails and fantastic views, and racing with a diversity of high-level athletes was an incredible and unforgettable experience.”