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Race conditions are just right for elementary skiers in Capreol

Assembling young skiers from about a dozen or so elementary schools, race organizer Stefan Skogberg and his crew of dedicated officials found a way to make the youngsters feel every bit as happy as Goldilocks as they raced around the trails of the Capreol Cross-Country Ski Club last Monday.

Say what???

Well, the event was originally scheduled for February 16th - but was postponed as temperatures well above the freezing mark made the course pretty much completely unraceable.

The back-up date of February 23rd did not fare a whole lot better with daytime highs ranging around minus 15, just a little bit too cold for the mostly pre-teen crew to be out on the courses and competing safely.

Just above zero this past Monday, conditions were almost ideal - very much to the liking of Lauren Westby, the nine year-old Northeastern Public School student who captured first place in the girls grades 3/4 race.

"I felt good doing that race," said the younger of two girls in the family who actually was first introduced to the venue via an interest in snowboarding a few years back. "I was in front all the way."

"I kind of like skiing in front alone so I can see where the competition is and I know if I don't need to worry about anyone that much. I looked back a few times, but not the whole time. I can hear them coming behind me and I kind of get scared and then go faster."

Also a fan of the scenery on the course, Westby suggested that the beginning of the race likely presents the toughest challenge to her.

"Not falling is the main thing," she said. "At the start of the race where there are no tracks, it kind of gets difficult there."

Logan Horne was in complete agreement with that last statement as the grade five student at Algonquin Public School skied his way to a second place finish behind only Ryan Pineau (R.L Beattie) in the boys 5/6 event.

"At the start, there is a lot of a crowd and stuff, so you try and stay sort of away from people, try and get your own spot so that you have more room," explained Horne, one of three children from a definite ski family, the group recently returned from an downhill holiday in British Columbia.

As it turned out, his strategy allowed he and Pineau and one other skier to break away from the pack early, a good thing given that in-course passing is not always the easiest when you are dealing with a field that includes a mix of both experienced nordic skiers and many others who are still getting their feet under them on the winter trails.

"If you want to pass, you have to yell "track"," noted Horne. "Or if it's a new skier and they don't know the track thing, then you might have to swerve around them. There are some spots that are more open than others."

Following are the top five finishers in each of the various divisions that were contested at the traditional February event:

Grade 3/4 - Girls
1st - Lauren Westby - Northeastern - 12:52
2nd - Malin Hunt - R.L. Beattie - 13:27
3rd - Mara Saaremets - R.L. Beattie - 13:52
4th - Jamie Kerckhoff - Walden - 13:55
5th - Aaralyn Flora - R.H. Murray - 14:27

Grade 3/4 - Boys
1st - Tyce Cousineau - Walden - 11:47
2nd - William Nicholls - R.L. Beattie - 12:34
3rd - Rohan Saidi-Smith - R.L. Beattie - 13:07
4th - William Kurt - Walden - 13:15
5th - Paul Masters - R.L. Beattie - 14:09

Grade 5/6 - Girls
1st - Julia Masters - R.L. Beattie - 11:45
2nd - Simone Thompson - MacLeod - 12:05
3rd - Laila Lalonde - Walden - 12:31
4th - Alice Westby - Northeastern - 12:45
5th - Quinn Andler - R.L. Beattie - 12:57

Grade 5/6 - Boys
1st - Ryan Pineau - R.L. Beattie - 11:46
2nd - Logan Horne - Algonquin Road - 11:55
3rd - Parker Howland - Walden - 12:02
4th - Landon Daniels - Levack - 12:33
5th - Kaden Saidi-Smith - R.L. Beattie - 12:58

Grade 7/8 - Girls
1st - Megan Pineau - Lo-Ellen - 10:28
2nd - Emma Mourre - MacLeod - 12:57
3rd - Elizabeth Tessier - R.H. Murray - 15:23
4th - Gracie Schmidt - R.H. Murray - 15:52
5th - Elliana Malley - Northeastern - 16:43

Grade 7/8 - Boys
1st - Julian Luoma - Algonquin Road - 8:02
2nd - Warner Bain - Lasalle - 10:20
3rd - Jacob Roy - Lasalle - 10:45
4th - Bradley Eady - Lasalle - 10:57
5th - Jaxon McMahon - MacLeod - 13:12

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