It's both a busy and exciting time for the Nipissing Lakers Nordic ski team.
The Lakers had representation at a couple different events the past few weeks, including the World Junior/U23 Championships, NorAm races and Olympic Winter Game trials.
The team sent three varsity athletes and one Northern Ontario Division Junior Laker to two weekends of ski racing at Silverstar and Blackjack; Alex Maycock, Kayden Sim, Ryan Williams and Hudson McCubbin.
Maycock brought back the team's standout results, consistently among the top junior men in North America.
Maycock qualified for the heats in both the classic and skate technique sprints, missing the semi-finals by thousandths of a second in Silverstar, and by 1/100th of a second at Blackjack, stoking the desire to make those incremental gains as we build through the season.
Lakers head coach Toivo Koivukoski said he was impressed with the results and is proud of the way the skiers representing Nipissing and the Lakers performed throughout the various events.
"This was the first year that the Lakers team supported a contingent of racers at the early season NorAm races in B.C. This was a test of some of our up and coming skiers against the fastest domestic racers in North America, including several of the top NCAA teams, Dartmouth, University of Denver, and Alaska Pacific University," he said. "It was good for our student-athletes to jump in the deep end of the pool straight away this season, seeing what is necessary to take steps towards the next level."
Lakers skier Alex Maycock took some time to look back and reflect on his recent performances.
"Sovereign Lake is always a challenging venue with its significant altitude around 1,700m. I always enjoy racing there, and I find that I can push my limits and dig for more on the fun climbing courses," he said. "I was quite happy to be competitive with the top skiers in North America both days and I learned the importance of chasing for every thousandth of a second as I missed the semi-finals by such a small margin"
"My racing at Rossland only improved over the three race days, as I steadily improved both my results and quality race feelings through the weekend. The demanding courses with steep up-hills and twisty downhills kept us on the balls of our feet throughout," Maycock added. "The skate sprint day was a big success of mine being less than six seconds from my category win in the qualifier, and skiing some very strong head to head heat races as well."
The team is now at the WorldJunior Trials in Mt. St Anne, QC, with the goal of representing with Lakers Pride and punching a ticket to have a team athlete represent Canada at the World Junior Championships in Switzerland.
"I see real value in sending our skiers to the start line against National Team and National Development Centre athletes as the nation's best vie to represent Canada internationally. It is a positive step forward for cross country skiing in North America to see NCAA teams joining in our competitions in Canada, as varsity athletics is increasingly seen as a viable pathway to high performance athletics," Koivukoski noted.
2017 Haywood NorAm Mini Tour - HERE -
2017 Haywood NorAm/US Super Tour - HERE -
2018 Haywood NorAm Skiathalon 1 - HERE -
2018 Haywood NorAm Skiathalon 2 - HERE -
2018 Haywood NorAm Qualification Sprint - HERE -