Alex Harvey and Emily Nishikawa Capture National Titles in Quebec

21 March 2012 07:38
Alex Harvey leads the Canucks in Oberhof
Alex Harvey leads the Canucks in Oberhof -

MONT-STE-ANNE, Que.—Alex Harvey and Emily Nishikawa were crowned Canadian Champions on a glorious day at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec on Tuesday afternoon.

Fresh off the plane after finishing sixth overall on the World Cup including his first victory, the 23-year-old Harvey returned to his home training centre minutes from his front door down the road in St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., to lead the nation’s best in a 15-kilometre skate-ski race.
Harvey thrilled the hundreds of Nordic faithful that lined the 5-kilometre loop by defending his home turf with a golden time of 40:54.1.

“It was hard out there because the snow was so soft,” said Harvey. “But it was super fun. I heard my name lots throughout the course and it was just so much fun to be racing here at home at the Nationals.”

Joining Harvey on themen’s podium was his World Cup teammates. Ivan Babikov, of Canmore, Alta., who won the opening title of the Haywood Ski Nationals on Monday, finished second at 41:27.0. Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Alta., did not let a broken pole get in the way of climbing onto the third step of the podium. The 29-year-old, whobecame the first Canadian male to finish second in the overall World Cup standings this year with six medals, clocked-in at 42:38.9.

“I am really happy that all of the World Cup Team was able to make it here this year,” said Harvey. “It is super important. I remember the first time I saw Beckie Scott and Sara Renner it was at Nationals in Charlo, N.B. I was so excited to see them that I missed my start time by 10 seconds.

“I hope these kids here this week are just as psyched to see all of our World Cup medallists this week. Hopefully we can motivate them to train more this summer and race hard nextyear.”

Emily Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, knocked off the World Cup athletes in the women’s field by capturing her first national title of the week in the  10-kilometre skate-ski race. Nishikawa punched the clock at 32:02.5. Alysson Marshall, of Salmon Arm, B.C., was second at 32:03.0, while Norway’s Ragnhild Haga finished third with a time of 32:10.6.

Quebec’s Alexis Dumas won the junior boys 7.5-kilometre skate-ski race with a time of 21:42.9, while Calgary’s Suzanne Stevenson won the junior girls 10-kilometre discipline.

The Haywood Ski Nationals continue on Thursday for the elite athletes in Quebec.

Complete Haywood Ski Nationals Results: