It may not have been a formal race, in the true sense of the word, but for the dozens of high-school nordic skiers who hit the trails at Windy Lake recently, it was a chance to get out and ski - and for that reason alone, SDSSAA Nordic Ski Preliminary #1 will go down as a success.
Athletes representing no less than eight of the local secondary schools gathered for staggered start times, ranging from 10:00 a.m. through to the mid-afternoon.
Although the provincial powerhouse that is Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School dominated, as expected, bringing an assortment of skiers that likely equalled the grand total of all other schools combined, Lauren Pineau of Lockerby Composite did break through, capturing the Junior Girls division in a time of 17:47, with participants broken into both experienced and inexperienced brackets.
Of the former, Eran Bursey (Sr Boys - 15:09), Kaeden Ward (Jr Boys - 15:32) and Kalila Bachiu (Sr Girls - 18:58) helped to show the way for the Knights, who also garnered top spot in the junior boys inexperienced grouping thanks to Nolan Kuhlberg (11:06).
The remaining champions from the less inexperienced skiers were spread out between three different schools, as Alex McFadden (Macdonald-Cartier - Sr Boys - 17:09), Maija Valtonen (College Notre-Dame - Sr Girls - 12:56) and Maxx Centis (Lockerby Composite - Jr Girls - 12:52) all earned bragging rights.
Following are the athletes who would round out each of the experienced divisions (as well as junior girls inexperienced - the only age bracket in the latter to draw more than a pair of competitors):Senior Boys
2nd - Kai Nener (LOE) - 16:29
3rd - Travis Annett (LCS) - 17:00
4th - Austin Mashinter (LOE) - 17:04
5th - Alex Lambert (LOE) - 17:08
2nd - Chandyn Bachiu (LOE) - 19:00
3rd - Jill Kusnierczyk (LOE) - 20:23
4th - Syndey Brooks (LOE) - 21:20
5th - Sarah Ieropoli (LOE) - 21:31
2nd - Henri Lefebvre (CND) - 16:27
3rd - Sam Rice (LOE) - 16:56
4th - Atom Thususka (LCS) - 18:08
5th - Liam Lacroix (LOE) - 18:08
Junior Girls - Experienced
2nd - Madeleine Tremblay (CND) - 19:03
3rd - Ivy Schulte-Hostedde (LCS) - 21:36
4th - Finlay Cuza (LOE) - 21:37
5th - Sophia Oommen (LOE) - 21:51
Junior Girls - Inexperienced
2nd - Isabelle McKague (LOE) - 13:34
3rd - Bree Bourget (LOE) - 13:48
4th - Evelyn Prosperi (LCS) - 14:25
5th - Allie Keturi (LOE) - 16:29