Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club was out in full force this past weekend with 51 athletes aged 8-13 clinching the club banner at this year’s Ontario Youth Championships at home in Sault Ste. Marie. A total of 184 athletes from 14 clubs across the province were in attendance.
The championship banner is awarded to the club with the highest score over the course of the weekend. Points are awarded for race finishes and podium standings. The win is a team effort, with contributions from every skier who participated, in both freestyle and classic technique. The full list of athletes, and race results, are available online.
Podium standings are a sea of blue and green with 14 medals for SFN athletes. Saturday’s freestyle interval start races produced U14 girls bronze for Kate De Beer; U12 boys (2010) gold for Jasper Tchir; U12 boys (2011) gold for James Elgie and silver for Finn Aho; U10 boys podium sweep for SFN’s Benjamin Campbell (gold), Xiaokang Cui (silver), and Nathan Slagel (bronze); U10 girls gold for Gwendolyn Tchir, and silver for Evelyn Teresinski. Sunday’s classic mass start races saw U14 girls gold for Kate De Beer; U12 boys (2010) gold for Jasper Tchir; U12 boys (2011) gold for James Elgie; U10 boys bronze for Benjamin Campbell; U10 girls gold for Gwendolyn Tchir and silver for Evelyn Teresinski.
Cross Country Ski Ontario technique awards were handed out to Samuel Phaneuf and Declan McLarty.
This strong showing is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all Soo Finish Nordic athletes under the guidance of many volunteer coaches, including Ian Sinclair, Trisha Westman, Joe Reich, and Anna Reich. Big thanks to wax techs Ray Gingras, Helen Lindfors, Trevor Tchir, Erik Kary, Luke Kahtava, Brad Phaneuf, and many helping hands.
Community support for this event was strong, with valuable contributions from the City of Sault Ste. Marie, SSM Downtown Association, Algoma Bicycle Company, Vélorution Bike & Ski, Exit Realty, Freshii, A&W (121 Great Northern Road location), Metro (Churchill Plaza & Northern Avenue locations), Pino’s Get Fresh, Pita Pit, Booster Juice, Northern Superior Brewery, and the Sault Area Hospital Volunteer Association.
These races stand out for Ontario’s youth cross country ski community as a measured and safe return to routine. The March 2020 provincial youth championships took place the weekend before COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began, and are a defining memory of ‘normal times’ before a two-year drought of closures and cancellations.
With the help of over 90 volunteers, Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club was able to put on a safe, outdoor event within the province’s health and safety guidelines to welcome back a much-loved competition.
Hiawatha Highlands offers over 50 km of groomed ski trails that cater to skiers of all ages and abilities in Algoma’s great outdoors.
Link to SooToday article