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    • Antoine Briand of Sept-Îles and Canmore’s Maya Macisaac-Jones win the AltaGas Canadian Sprint Championships in Gatineau

      March 16, 2019

       Gatineau, Québec : There were large crowds out today for the AltaGas, Canadian Championships sprint competitions, at the Nakkertok Nordic Centre. Antoine Briand of Sept-Îles, Quebec set the fastest Canadian time in qualifying and nipped World Cup veteran, Toronto’s Lenny Valjas, at the line in the semis.

      The final saw a tight race, with Antoine Briand coming across as the Canadian Champion, and there was a 3-way photo finish for the other 2 podium spots. Julien Locke of Rossland BC came through for silver and Wiarton, Ontario’s Julian Smith finished with the bronze. Lenny Valjas, who had 2 gold medals already in the Championships finished 4th. Norwegian Haakon Skaanes, who had sat out the first 2 races, had the fastest “Time of the Day”.
       
      Dominique Moncion-Groulx of Gatineau was the top local skier, 8th Canadian.
       
      Antoine Briand: “I am super happy with my race. I have been dreaming of being the Canadian Champion for the last 9 months and am excited about qualifying for the World Cup finals in Quebec City next weekend.”
       
      In the Junior Men’s race, Ottawa and Nakkertok’s Pierre Grall-Johnson comfortably captured gold on his home course.  Tallon Noble of Courtenay, B.C. and Sam Hendry of Canmore, Alberta grabbed the other 2 podium spots.
      Pierre Grall-Johnson: “It was a super competitive race and it was really fun to win on my home course, with the home crowd cheering me on.”
       
      In the women’s race Canmore’s Maya Macisaac-Jones claimed her first medal of the Championships, a gold. She had dominant performances in qualifying and the heats. Dahria Beatty of Whitehorse came second and Chelsea’s Katherine Stewart-Jones, also on her home Nakkertok course, came through with the bronze.
       
      Maya Macisaac-Jones: “I felt really strong in qualifying, so just decided to go for it in the final and it worked! I am so happy to win here, it is an amazing place with awesome crowds.
       
      Katherine Stewart-Jones: “It was a super fast course, so I didn’t want to lead early because of the draft effect. I didn’t have quite enough energy at the end for the win, but overall I am pretty happy”.
       
      The top skier in the Junior woman’s race was Whistler, B.C.’s Benita Peiffer, with Shaylynn Loewen of Parry Sound, Ontario 2nd and Elizabeth Elliott of Revelstoke 3rd. Top local skiers were Tove Halvorsen of Chelsea in 5th and Bronwyn Williams of Cantley in 8th.
       
      Complete results can be found at: https://zone4.ca/race/2019-03-16/44d50b08/results/

      Sunday features the Surgenor, Junior sprint day for the younger categories, starting at 9 AM, with the ¼ finals at 11 AM. The afternoon includes an invitational race for younger racers.