Team Has Strong Showing at Westerns
Jan 26th, 2012
Annika Hicks leads Marlis Kromm in the pursuit race.
The team wrapped up the Western Canadian Championships mini-tour last weekend, grabbing some top podium spots in both the individual and aggregate days.
Friday - 5km/10km Classic
The women opened the mini-tour with a strong showing, with Emily Nishikawa taking the victory. Emily edged out Alysson Marshall, who finished just 5 seconds back and in 3rd. Annika Hicks finished 7th, while Janelle Greer finished in the top 10.
In the mens 15km, Kevin Sandau posted the second fastest time, 21 seconds back of arch rival Brent McMurtry.
Saturday - Free Sprints
The Academy displayed their strong form in the sprints, taking 5 of the 6 open podium spots. Jesse Cockney marked his second NorAm victory, edging out Phil Widmer in 2nd, while Graham Nishikawa and Graeme Killick finished 4th and 5th respectively.
The women swept the open podium, with Alysson Marshall making it her first ever NorAm victory. Finishing close to the line was Heidi Widmer in 2nd and Marlis Kromm in 3rd. Emily Nishikawa closed in at 5th.
Sunday - 10km/15km Pursuit
Alysson Marshall made it 2 for 3 on the weekend, taking hold of the overall NorAm mini-tour. Starting first on the pursuit day, Alysson had a 16 second lead over Emily Nishikawa, who was able to close it within half-way through the race. Despite catching back up, Alysson was able to put some distance between her and Nishikawa on the final climb, taking the win by just 2 seconds. Along with her second place finish, Emily posted the fastest individual time of the day. Annika Hicks finished the mini-tour in 5th, with Marlis Kromm and Janelle Greer finishing 7th and 8th respectively.
Despite starting 41 seconds back from the the leader on the final day, Kevin Sandau quickly closed the gap and skied away with the overall win by 33 seconds. Graham Nishikawa posted a strong skate time, not only finishing 2nd in the tour, but posting the fastest time of the day. Jesse Cockney finished 7th and top U23, with Pate Neumann rounding out the top-10.
The team will part ways in the upcoming weeks until the Canadian National Championships later in March. Graham Nishikawa, Phil Widmer and Alysson Marshall were selected to the European OPA Tour and will be racing over in Scandinavia; they leave at the end of the week. The remaining athletes will either travel to Ottawa for the Eastern Canadian Championships or train in Canmore until leaving for the Under-23/World Junior Championships in Turkey mid-February.