A large contingent of local skiers from the Larch Hills Junior Race team competed in the 2017 Cross Country Nationals held at Canmore’s Nordic Centre, site of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, March 18–25. The event attracted more than 1000 athletes, coaches and parents from across the country and internationally.
Day 1 saw the Larch Hills boys’ team of Konrad Van Varseveld and David Bakker place 21st in the two-person obstacle-filled Relay Cross Free Technique, while locals Rachel Bates and Rachel May finished the race in 9th place.
Day 2 was the Interval Start Free Technique Race. Finishes to note were Alexander Corbett, 17th in the 10km Junior Boys race, ,Rachel May, 19th in the 5km Junior Girls, and Natalie Wilkie, 5th , and Maggie Beckner, 15th , in the Juvenile Girls 5 km race.
Day 4 saw strong finishes by Larch Hills skiers in the Interval Start Classic Technique race, with Natalie Wilkie finishing 13th, Rachel Bates 19th and Maggie Beckner close behind at 21stin the Juvenile Girls 5km race and Konrad Van Varseveld 12th in the 7.5 km Junior Boys. In the 10 km Junior Girls, Rachel May posted a 16th place finish.
On Day 6, the Juvenile Girls once again posted great results in the Sprint Classic Technique, with Rachel Bates the top Larch Hill Skier in 9th place, Maggie Rodwell 16th, and Megan Hart hot on her heels at 17th. Rachel May had an impressive finish in the Junior Girl race, placing 5th overall, with Trond May doing well at 10th in Juvenile Boys.
Day 8 was the final day of racing and the Mass Start Free Technique race went well for Larch Hills skiers. Alexander Corbett finished 17th on the Boys 30 km course. Natalie Wilkie, who placed 5th overall, was the top local skier in the 7.5 km Juvenile Girls, with Maggie Beckner and Rachel Bates also skiing well, finishing 18th and 19th. Calvin Hepburn had a good result in the Juvenile Boy 10 km race, finishing 27th.
Once all the racing was done, aggregate points based on the skiers’ top four individual race results were tallied. Rachel May placed 7th in 1999 Girls, with Natalie Wilkie taking the bronze aggregate in 2001 Girls andshowing the best overall result for the Larch Hills Team. Rachel Bates finished 9th in the same category; and Maggie Beckner 10th and Maggie Rodwell 12th in 2002 Girls. Alexander Corbett had a great week, finishing 12th in 1997 Boys; while Konrad Van Varseveld, 5th in 2000 Boys, had the second top overall result for Larch Hills. In 2002 Boys Trond May finished 13th and Calvin Hepburn, 15th.
Larch Hills Junior Race Team shone nationally, bringing the skiing season to a very successful finish. Full results can be found on www.zone4.ca.