Nipissing Nordic Makes Gains at OUA Championships

Wednesday, February 27, 2013   by: Chris Dawson

Lakers' Matt Chalmers with a top 25 finish at OUA Championships. Photo courtesy Gord Kerr.

The Lakers Varsity Nordic Ski team made steady gains at the OUA Championships hosted by Lakehead University.

The athletes pushed through three events over the two-day race weekend, looking to prove that an extra effort is always possible.

The races opened up with an individual start skate race, where Lynsey Bialkowski posted Nipissing’s best result on the women’s side with a 32nd place finish, 16.9 seconds ahead of teammate Brianna Yard.

For the men, Matt Chalmers faded from his first to second laps to finish in 25th, ahead of teammates Kevin Durkee in 34th, Andrew Kerr in 43rd, and Kamran Mirshahi in 45th.

The team’s strongest result coming from the men’s relay event, where having raced 10km that morning the men found extra resources to move Nipissing up in the rankings. Team rookie Chalmers pulled the squad up into an unprecedented placing on the first leg, keeping Nipissing in front of the Laurentian, Guelph, and University of Toronto teams and 0.5 seconds back of Waterloo at the first tag-off.

This put the pressure on his teammates to hold position through the race, with Kerr and Durkee bearing down on the notoriously tough, hilly course at the Lappe Ski Center.

In the end, their collective efforts were enough to drop the University of Toronto team, but not enough to fend off the charge to the line from Laurentian and fast skis put out by the Guelph team, holding on for 9th place overall.

In Sunday’s mass start classic race, Brianna Yard climbed well over the technical 10km course, but found herself fading on the flats with draggy skis, finishing 29th overall. With corrections made to the men’s wax, Chalmers shared leads in a chase pack consisting of Laurentian, Waterloo and U of T skiers, crossing the line in 24th place, ahead of teammate Kevin Durkee in 36th, and Andrew Kerr in 42nd.

The host team Lakehead came away from the Championship with the overall team and individual titles for both men and women, with National Development Center athletes Andrea Lee and Scott Hill claiming the men’s and women’s titles in convincing fashion.

Next up for the Lakers are the last Ontario Cup races of the season this coming weekend in Barrie, before a contingent from the team makes the trip to Whistler in late March for the Canadian National/CIS Championships.

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