From March 11 – 19 University of Alberta: Augustana x-country skiers showed that their training over the last year has paid off. Augustana athletes took part in four separate races challenging their speed and endurance in both the distance races and the team sprint formats. In the 5km free skate distance Kat Stone lead the Augustana team with an astounding 19th place finish over all and a was able to bring home the bronze medal in the Canadian College & University Nordic Championship (CCUNC) category. Kat also finished well in the CCUNC category 10km classic distance finishing 6th. Lauren Brookes also put in a fantastic finish in the CCUNC standings with a 6th place finish in the 5km free skate distance. This was Lauren’s first trip to these Championships after changing her focus from biathlon to skiing this past year. “This was my first Cross Country Nationals so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous but also very excited to compete. I went without much expectation in terms of results, just looking to gain experience and see what I could do with the season’s training behind me”, said Lauren Brookes after returning from a successful first Championships.
The two girls were able to combine their speed in the team sprint to finish with the silver medal in the 2×3 1.2km sprint relay race. The girls were a close 5.5seconds behind the gold medal team from Carleton University; Lakehead University took the bronze.
The Augustana women’s team was also represented by second years Kalli Green who came home with a 17th place finish in the CCUNC category in the 10km classic, and Emma Norris, as well as freshman Johanna Ferry, and Ilona Gyapay.
Augustana’s men also demonstrated that they are among some of the top university skiers in the country. Freshman Andrew Pohl finished with the silver CCUNC medal in the 15km classic format finishing 17th in the overall Canadian standings. Finishing just 1.21 off Pohl was Augustana third year Andrew Brisbin who finished 5th in the CCUNC standings. Kieran Baird also a third year at Augustana finished 11th in the CCUNC standings. In the 10km free skate distance Augustana’s men once again showed their standing in the university rankings with Jon Skinstad finishing in 5th, Andrew Pohl in 7th and Andrew Brisbin in 10th.
Augustana’s men were also dominant in the CCUNC 2 x 3 1.2km relay team sprint standings. Third years Keiran Baird and Andrew Brisbin paired together to finish with a bronze medal. “The win was fun and unexpected” said team silver medalist Kieran Baird. Augustana’s second team was paired with graduating athletes Jon Skinstad and Nils Lokken finishing right behind them in fourth. The University of Calgary took home the gold, with Carleton University taking home the silver in the CCUNC category.
The Augustana men’s team was also represented throughout the week by Kai Skinstad, and Joel Gervais.
Coach Joan Skinstad came back from Championships very pleased with how her team performed. “In a much stronger field Augustana is holding its own and is now making the podium” said coach Skinstad. Augustana’s standing in not only the CCUNC categories but also the National categories “speaks well to the degree of program we have here at Augustana” and the strength of our team. Augustana finished 2nd in the Men’s team CCUNC aggregate results with the women’s team finishing 4th. Andrew Brisbin and Kat Stone both finished 4th in the individual aggregate results with Andrew Polh finishing 5th.
If you ask these skiers whether now is the time that they take some much earned time off the resounding answer is…”NO THERES’S STILL SNOW ON THE GROUND!!”
By: Alicia Hurley