Austrian juveniles again win Nations Cup
Alls well that ends well for the Canadians in the 11 th annual Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup.
On April 6, the last day of competition, K1 Kelby Halbert of Bradford, Ontario, won the slalom silver medal and Canadas only podium of the weekend.
Still, while more medals would have been nice, Canada put at least one athlete in the top-15 of every race, and often placed one or more skiers in the top-10.
More importantly, Canadas top young alpine racers were given a chance to size up the competition from 18 different countries in the K1 (age 11 and 12) and K2 (age 13 and 14) categories, and realize that they can compete with the best in the world.
Once again Austria took the overall Nations Cup, presented to the team with the highest point total. Norway was the top K2 team and the Italian team was tops among the K1s.
Showing that the Olympic effect hasnt just rubbed off on the resurgent U.S. national team, the Team USA juveniles had an incredible weekend with medals in most events and a strong presence in the top-10.
Almost 300 juveniles from 18 different countries participated in this years Whistler Cup.
The Dave Murray Award, presented to the top Canadian K1 and K2 boys in the races, went to K1 Kelby Halbert and K2 Simon Mannella of Piedmont, Quebec. The Nancy Greene Award, which is presented to the top Canadian girls, went to K1 Erin Mielzynski of Ontario, and K2 Caroline Brault of Piedmont, Quebec.
Day 3 April 6 Results
Ontarios Kelby Halbert was the big story on the third and final day of racing.
"I was expecting to finish in the top-15," said Halbert. "I was really surprised to end up in second place. I was really nervous at the start, but something my coach Norm said really helped. He said; go for it, dont hold anything back."
Tall for his age, the 12-year-old from the Toronto Ski Club cleared two runs of the course in one minute, 18.97 seconds, edging out Masdal Knut of Norway.
The gold medal went to Colby Granstrom of the Team USA with a time of 1:16.95, who blew away the competition from the start with an incredible first run.
Granstrom won the giant slalom the day before, and felt he had the slalom in the bag going in.
"Slalom is my best event so I was confident that I would do well today," he said. "I definitely met the goals that I had set coming into the competition. Whistler is really fun, and most of the athletes from around the world were really nice."
Behind Halbert, the next Canadian was Tristan Tafel of Banff in 12 th . Erik Read of Calgary, the son of Crazy Canuck Ken Read, was 14 th to round out the top-15. Read is 11-years-old and was making his first Whistler Cup appearance.
From Whistler, Morgan Pridy was 22 nd , and Benjamin MacLean 29 th .
In the girls K1 slalom, the top Canadians was Maude Longtin in 13 th place with a combined time of 1:27.70.
The competition for the gold medal wasnt even close as Thea Grosvold of Norway finished with a time of 1:16.73. The closest athlete was Guilia Siccardi of Italy with a time of 1:19.23. The rest of the field started more than four seconds back of that, with Julia Ford of the U.S. taking the bronze in 1:23.87. Team USA claimed five of the top-10 spots in the K1 slalom.
The top Canadians behind Longtin were Aimee Bell Pasht and Madison Irwin of Ontario, finishing 14 th and 15 th respectively.
From Whistler, Victoria Whitney and Brynne Benbow were 27th and 28 th respectively to round out the top-30.
The K2 athletes, age 13 and 14, raced a giant slalom on Sunday.
Bernhard Graf of Austria won a gold medal for the third year in a row with a time of 43.61. Kamden Burke and Travis Ganong of the U.S. finished second and third with times of 44.34 and 44.75 respectively.
From Canada, Philippe Crete-Belzile of Pont-Rouge, Quebec finished in eighth place while Matt Holler, who lives in Vancouver and trains in Whistler, finished 10 th . Tyler Nella of Toronto was 11 th , and Simon Mannella of Quebec 12 th . Travis Dawson of Fernie was the top B.C. racer in 16 th .
In the womens K2 GS, Norway earned another gold with Nina Loeseth leading the way with a time of 1:29.82. She was trailed by teammate Kaia Gulsvik in 1:31.03, and Anna Finninger of Austria in 1:31.94.
The top Canadian was Caroline Brault of Piedmont, Quebec, in sixth place, 3.66 seconds back of the leader. Kayla Leman of Calgary and Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ontario were 13 th and 14 th respectively.
For Whistler, Julia Murray was 24 th and Jennifer Mah 28 th .
Day 2 April 5 Results
In the K1 giant slalom, Colby Granstrom won his first of two gold medals with a time of 48.38, edging out Jacopo Di Ronco of Italy by 0.17 seconds and Knut Masdal of Norway by 0.33 seconds.
The top Canadian, in 12 th place, was Richard Love. The top Whistler skier was Morgan Pridy in 16 th place, 3.28 seconds off the lead.
In the girls K1 GS, Giulia Siccardi of Italy was the top racer in 46.43. Thea Grosvold of Norway was second in 46.88 and Elena Curtoni of Italy was third in 47.54.
Erin Mielzynski of Ontario was the top Canadian in 11 th place, and the top Whistler racer was Victoria Whitney in 15 th .
In the K2 slalom event, Hagen Patscheider earned Italys third medal of the day with a run of 40.87. Bernhard Graf of Austria took the silver medal and Kamden Burke of the U.S. was third.
Simon Mannella of Piedmont, Quebec, finished a strong seventh for Canada.
In the girls slalom, a pair of Norwegians took the top two spots. Nina Loeseth earned her first gold with a two-run time that was 1.21 seconds faster than teammate Kaia Gulsvik. Anna Fenninger of Austria was third.
From Canada, Piedmonts Caroline Brault finished in sixth place. Julia Murray was the top Whistler skier in 24 th .
Day 1 April 4 Results
The first day of racing was a K2 super G on Whistlers Raven-Ptarmigan run. With an average time of a minute and 20 seconds, it was a long and tiring run for many of the young athletes.
The length of the course didnt phase Austrias Bernhard Graf, who completed the course in 1:12.84. Hagen Patscheider of Italy was second in 1:13.27, and Espen Theodorsen of Norway was third in 1:13.56.
The only two Canadians, or North Americans, to crack the top-10 were Crete-Belzile in 7th place with a time of 1:14.95 and Whistlers Matthew Holler in 10 h with a 1:15.21.
In the girls super G, Camilla Borsotti of Italy led the way down the well-tracked course with a time of 1:16.16. She was followed closed by a pair of Norwegians, Anne Cecilie Brusletto and Kaia Gulsvik, with times of 1:16.76 and 1:16.96.
The top Canadian was Brault in 14 th , followed by Yurkiw in 16 th .
For complete results from this years Whistler Cup, visit the Stat Timing Web site at www.stat-timing.com/en/resski.html.