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Lakers’ Heyes golden in Thunder Bay

The Nipissing Lakers Nordic team had a breakthrough day in the individual classic race with its first gold medal at the CCUNC National Ski Championships.  Team skier Kajsa Heyes stomped the competition, winning in convincing fashion with a 6.9 second lead on second place over the 1.5km course.

Heyes was followed by Lakehead skiers Alannah Maclean and Camille Hamm. In the heats Heyes advanced through to the B-final, narrowly missing the A-final by 0.2 seconds at the line. The win earned Heyes a tie for first place aggregate with Lakehead’s Alannah Maclean for overall CCUNC National Champion.

What was most impressive about the win on the varsity side was that her time in the sprint qualifier put her in 5th place among Canadian women overall, out front of National Team skiers and Olympians, demonstrating that varsity-athletics is a viable pathway to excellence in the sport of cross-country skiing.

The Lakers team put all of its woman through to the heats with top-30 finishes in the qualifier, with Shelby Dickey placing 7th among varsity women, 16th senior woman, new team addition Lindsay Inkila 11th varsity, 20th senior woman, Carina Eberhardt 19th varsity, 29th senior woman, for strong representation by the team as a whole.

On the men’s side Thomsen D’Hont carried on with his strong showing at Nationals, with a 6th place varsity, 20th place senior qualifying time of 3.49 over the 1.6km course, 8.995 seconds back of first place qualifier Hakon Hjelstuen of Michigan Tech University.

Teammate Jordan Cascagnette skied with energy levels more on par with his potential, though suffering from a fall on a technical downhill that put him out of contention for the heats, hungry for more in future races.

“This is a proud climax to the 2015 varsity ski season, with triple National Championship medals, gold, silver and bronze for one of our skiers and depth developing on the team,” said Lakers Nordic head coach Dr. Toivo Koivukoski. “Our results have underlined the significance of varsity athletics within the Canadian ski system, demonstrating the standout qualities of Nipissing University as the place to ski and study in Canada.”

The team has a rest and then a training day for the last races of the Championships, the long distance 30km and 50 km races that will cap off the ski race season.  
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