Wittenberg takes win at XC comp 

Whistler Nordics athletes shine at WOP

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - OUTWIT, OUTLAST Mila Wittenberg captured two podium finishes in BC Cup and Coast Cup action at Whistler Olympic Park this weekend.
  • File photo
  • OUTWIT, OUTLAST Mila Wittenberg captured two podium finishes in BC Cup and Coast Cup action at Whistler Olympic Park this weekend.

Mila Wittenberg scored a win on home soil on the weekend.

In BC Cup and Coast Cup action, the 16-year-old captured the five-kilometre junior girls classic race at Whistler Olympic Park, besting Natalie Wilkie of Larch Hills by 8.6 seconds and Paige Latta of Sovereign Lake by 11.7 seconds.

On the second day of competition, Wittenberg slipped to second as Wilkie edged her by 8.56 seconds in the junior girls 7.5-km free event.

All in all, though, she was pleased with the early-season result.

"This weekend was good for me because a few weeks ago, I was in Silver Star in Rossland and the races definitely didn't go as planned, so it was nice to have some good results this weekend," she said. "It was a solid race. Rossland was the first race of the season so in the second race, I was feeling a bit stronger."

Wittenberg noted the weather shifted from Day 1 to Day 2, posing some challenges for all competitors.

"The first day, the classic race was good, but the free race was slow, definitely, because of all the snow on top of the track, which made it a lot harder to ski on," she said.

This weekend's race provided Wittenberg a warm-up opportunity for some major events coming down the pike, including the Haywood NorAm Easterns in Cantley, Que. in February, which she's particularly intrigued to attend.

"I'm hoping for good results there. I'm not sure how it'll go, but I hope it goes well," she said.

After that, the Whistlerite will stay closer to home, competing around the province, until nationals at the Lappe Nordic Ski Club just north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Another Whistler Nordics winner came in the form of Lucie Colin, who topped the junior women's 7.5-km classic event, besting runner-up Madison Brown of UBC by over 10 minutes.

The club also earned top-10 finishes from Edward Lawson and Claude Prica, as they were seventh and ninth, respectively in the Masters men 10-km classic event.

Other Whistler Nordics racers at the event were: Jesse Thuma (13th in 1.5-km junior boys); Eva Burgers, Claire Benson and Maya Schick (13th, 20th and 21st in 1.5-km junior girls); Tyler Thuma (19th in 2.5-km bantam boys); Sierra Pochay-McBain (20th in 3.75-km midget girls); and Marlie Molinaro (13th in 5-km juvenile girls).

Colin, meanwhile, captured the junior and open women 10-km event in a bit bigger field, knocking off UBC's Alison Pouw and Claire Grall-Johnson.

A number of racers improved their placements the next day as well: Jesse Thuma cracked the top 10 with a 10th in the 1.5-km peewee boys race, while Tyler Thuma took seventh in the 2-km bantam boys event, and Molinaro took 10th in the juvenile girls 5-km challenge.

The Masters men division also had a strong local showing in its 10-km event as Lawson took fourth and Eric Goodwin placed sixth while Crosland Doak was 24th. As for the Masters women, Stephanie Cripps took seventh.

Other Whistler Nordics racers were: Maya Schick, Lola Flath and Claire Benson (13th, 15th and 19th in the 1.5-km peewee girls); Katelyn Schick (25th in the 2-km bantam girls); Zachary Currie (31st in the 3.75-km midget boys); and Sierra Pochay-McBain (19th in the 3.75-km midget girls).

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