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Frozen Thunder Season Kick-Off – Macisaac-Jones and Valjas Win Kings Court Heats

release by CCC

November 01, 2017 (Canmore, AB) – With 100 days to go to the Pyeongchang Olympics, the trails at the Canmore Nordic Centre were filled with skiers with Olympic aspirations, racing the sprint qualifier on Frozen Thunder.

Len Valjas [P] Angus Cockney
With significant snow overnight and more forecast over the next few days, there was a winter feeling in the air as the men set out to be the top qualifier in the classic sprint and book a place on the upcoming World Cup trip. Temperatures were around -5 deg. C. and the track excellent, as the 2 lap race got underway.

Julien Locke [P] Angus Cockney
From start to finish in the men’s race Julien Locke of Black Jack Ski Club set the pace. He finished about 1 second ahead of veteran National Team racer, and World Cup sprint medallist, Lenny Valjas of Team Hardwood. Valjas was pre-qualified for the World Cup, and Locke who has had some strong sprint races in his career, claimed the final berth on the Canadian World Cup team for the December races.

The 3rd finisher in the qualifier was Nakkertok’s Dominique Moncion-Groulx, about 1/2 a second ahead of another of the strong contenders, Bob Thompson of Hardwood. The top junior was Étienne Hébert of Montériski.

Moncion-Groulx and Thompson and others, will now have to wait until the Haywood NorAm races at Mont Ste. Anne in early January, to compete for any final spots remaining on the 2018 Olympic Team.

Dahria Beatty [P] Angus Cockney
In the women’s qualifier, Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty put together a dominant performance, finishing over 8 seconds ahead of strong U.S. skier, Chelsea Holmes of Alaska. First year senior, Katie Weaver of Hollyburn was the 2nd Canadian, followed by local racer Canmore’s Annika Hicks. Beth Granstrom from Revelstoke was the top junior.

Qualifier results

Women's action [P] Angus Cockney
The performance by Dahria suggests she should be in top form to compete in the upcoming World Cup races.

The athletes next competed using the Kings Court format, where all athletes are guaranteed 3 heat competitions, with the skiers moving up and down the rankings based on their heat results.

The women’s race was won by Maya Macisaac-Jones of Rocky Mtn. Racers, who makes a successful return from a long-term injury, with Annika Hicks and Chelsea Holmes 2nd and 3rd. Frédérique Vézina of Mont Ste. Anne was the 3rd Canadian.

On the men’s side Lenny Valjas came out on top, followed by Bob Thompson and then Julien Locke.

Tallon Noble of Strathcona Nordic and Benita Peiffer of Whistler Nordic won the junior competitions.

Kings Court results

Races conclude Friday at Frozen Thunder, with interval start skate events.

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