Haywood RACE Report: Cendrine Browne and Knute Johnsgaard crowned skiathlon champions at Haywood NorAm in Mont Sainte-Anne

    January 9, 2018

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    Day 2 of the 2018 Haywood NorAm & Olympic/World Jr-U23 Selections continued today after the weekend’s pause due to extreme cold temperatures. Athletes, coaches & all the volunteers were quite please with the balmy -11.5C as we started the day of racing.


    Today’s event was a skiathlon, consisting of a classic portion on a 2.5km loop followed by free technique, looping a different course on a 2.5km loop as well.


    A group of 55 Junior Women gathered at the start line to kick off the day with a 5km (2x2.5km) classic mass start, followed by a free technique 5km (2x2.5km).

    Lisle Compton of Kenora Nordic & Natalie Hynes of Whitehorse had a consistent strong race going head to head for the classic portion with India McIsaac of Rocky Mountain Racers following just a second behind at the exchange. But it was Natalie Hynes & India McIsaac who transitioned the fastest and they were able to keep that lead right to the finish line going 1-2, with Alexandra Racine of Orford finishing 3rd.

    Junior Women Podium (M. Walker)

    The Senior Women group of 25 athletes followed at the start as the snow was falling in beautiful Mont Sainte-Anne nordic centre for their 15km event. A great surprise today was the return of one of the best junior athletes in Canada a few years back, now senior, Anne-Marie Comeau of Université Laval. Anne-Marie had to pause from skiing due to a shoulder injury and has been very successful in track running for the past 2 years. As they say, you never know how much you miss something until it’s gone…Anne-Marie realized she needed skiing back her life. This was her second xc ski race this season, and she led the Senior women skiathlon classic race right thru the exchange brilliantly, chased by one of the best distance skiers in Canada, Cendrine Browne. Dahria Beatty of Whitehorse, Maya Macisaac-Jones of RMR, Laura Leclair of Chelsea Nordic & Katherine Stewart-Jones of Nakkertok were in the chase group 20 seconds later in transition. Cendrine had a difficult exchange leaving in 20th position but managed to catch up in no time. Cendrine, Dahria & Laura had the fastest skate leg of the day, while Anne-Marie was able to keep to the front for the first 2 laps of the free technique portion. On the last leg, Cendrine turned on the heat to finish 12 seconds ahead of Anne-Marie Comeau, with Dahria Beatty coming in 3rd 8 seconds later.


    Senior Women Podium (M. Walker)


    The Junior Men battled over a 20km course, with 3x2.5km loops each of classic & free technique. Antoine Cyr of  Skinouk had a solid first half with a 28 second lead at transition over local Félix Longpré of  Club Nordique Mont Sainte-Anne amongst 64 athletes in total. Étienne Hébert of Montériski had the third fastest time of the 10km classic portion, with teammates Reed Godfrey & Sam Hendry of Canmore Nordic hot on his heels. Félix Longpré had the best skate leg ahead of Antoine Cyr, with Thomas Manktelow of Canmore Nordic coming back from 11th all the way to 3rd fastest time.  The finish was an exciting one as Antoine Cyr battled at the front for the win with Félix Longpré and Thomas Manktelow in 3rd, who fought right to the end in a sprint for a photo finish with Étienne Hébert of Montériski.


    Junior Men Podium ( Mario Walker)


    The final skiathlon race saw 41 senior men toe the line for the 30km event, as the snow was falling quite heavily.  The classic portion was exciting and stayed tight at the front until transition with Jess Cockney of Foothills Nordic, Knute Johnsgaard of Whitehorse & Jack Carlyle of Soo Finnish at the front. 13 athletes came thru at the exchange within 3 seconds of eachother with a chase group close behind. Knute was first onto the skate course, followed closely by Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier of Fondeurs-Laurentides, Philippe Boucher & Alexis Dumas of Skibec. Over the 15km free technique course, there were a few changes in the lead and once again we saw a great battle to the finish where Knute Johnsgaard clinched the top of the podium followed by Graham Nishikawa of Whitehorse and Gareth Williams of Telemark in 3rd.





    As per CCC’s selection criteria, it appears that Junior Woman Natalie Hynes from Whitehorse, Junior Man Antoine Cyr of Skinouk, U23 Woman Anne-Marie Comeau of Université Laval & U23 Man Gareth Williams of Telemark have punched the first tickets to represent Canada at the 2018 World Junior-U23 Championships happening in Goms, SUI from January 27th to February 4th. The team selections will be announced later this week.

    Credit: Mario Walker

    The Juvenile & Junior Boys & Girls categories all raced a 5km free technique mass start event in the afternoon. Guillaume Pelchat of Pembroke Nordic & Anaïs Paradis of Club Nordique MSA stepped on the top of the podium for the Juvenile, while Erik Schlyter of Big Thunder & Nina Seemann of Stratton Mountain School took the Junior titles.




    The races continue tomorrow with a Free Technique Individual Sprint.   


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