Nordic skiing’s finest

As what feels like spring continues to put smiles on the faces of most Calgarians, certain groups are wishing for ol’ Jack Frost to come back for one last furious blast. One of these groups, the University of Calgary Cross-Country Ski Club, must face the end of their season.

But before all of the snow melted, they had the opportunity to compete with the rest of the country at the 2005 Canadian Cross-country Ski Championships Feb. 28-Mar. 5.

The event featured Canada’s best cross-country ski athletes. Held in conjunction with the national championships was the Canadian College and University Nordic Championship, featuring 81 student-athletes from 19 post-secondary institutions around the country.

“It’s exciting to represent the university,” said team member Sarah Diatch. “Although most of us have been racing nationally for quite a few years.”

The men’s team placed second in CCUNC competition with 974.1 points–10 points shy of the winning total from Lakehead University. The women were unfortunately unable to field a full team. Luckily, the U of C athletes managed to leave their mark on an individual scale.

On the ladies side, Diatch and teammate Kim McMurtry earned their best result in the Open Women 1.03km Classic sprint event. The pair placed fifth and eighth respectively overall while securing second and third among CCUNC competitors. Diatch won the B Final round of elimination competition to earn her title.

Diatch and McMurtry also showed their stamina, placing seventh and 15th in the Open Women 10km Free Pursuit race. Their efforts earned them third and seventh in the CCUNC rankings. Diatch was also second in the CCUNC competition and eighth overall in the Open Women 5km Classic event.

For her supreme results among her peers, Diatch was named second on the Women’s All-Canadian Team.

The men’s glory came in the form of a silver medal in the CCUNC Men’s 3X2.5km Classic Relay. Michael Argue, Matthew Cummings and Carl Steudler formed the squad that lost out to the Lakehead team by 13 seconds.

Cummings was also 13th overall in both the Open Men 7.5km Classic and Open Men 15km Free Pursuit events. While Cummings was third and second amid CCUNC competitors in the respective events, Argue did arguably well, placing fourth in both.

Overall, Cummings and Argue placed fourth and fifth respectively, taking home Men’s All-Canadian Team honours.

With the snow now melting and training near impossible, all the team can hope for is a more irate winter next year, or perhaps a second winter before summer arrives this year.

“I’m definitely wishing for more snow,” agreed Diatch.

Cross-country skiing is one of the numerous sports that is mostly ignored by Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The team has no “regular” season like most teams because it is not a sport registered with CIS, the governing body for inter-university sport across Canada.

Although most of the members of the team train at separate clubs in and around Calgary, they come together for this event–their one championship event where a post-secondary institute is crowned king. Better luck next year!

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