Whistler Nordics’ head coach Jessica Aldighieri has only been on the job a few months but has so far been impressed by the talent level of her youth racers.
Their skills were certainly on display Saturday (Jan. 19) at Whistler Olympic Park, where skiers from the local club, as well as Pemberton’s Spud Valley Nordics, secured a number of great finishes during the season’s second Teck Coast Cup race.
“It’s an amazing group of people to work with and the athletes are super malleable and talented,” Aldighieri said of the new post.
Saturday featured classic races of varying distances for the different age groups. Nicki Murdoch placed second in the junior women’s (10 km) race, while Lauren Doak and Jenya Nordin finished second and third, respectively, in the junior girls’ (6.6 km) division.
“Lauren skied fairly well. She continues to get better and consistent on her laps,” said Aldighieri.
Austin Reith won the juvenile boys’ (6.6 km) event by more than a minute over the field. In the girls’ juvenile race, Keeley Wentzel was sixth and Paige Quinn finished seventh.
Benita Peiffer was one of several local skiers in the midget girls’ (3.3 km) top 10 by finishing third, 21 seconds back of the winning time. Spud Valley skiers Alisa Feuz and Kaede Kawano were sixth and seventh, while Whistler’s Julia Long finished eighth.
“Benita skied amazing — she beat some of the boys, actually,” said Aldighieri.
In fact, the only boy she didn’t beat was Whistler’s Michael Murdoch, who won the midget boys’ division. Pemberton’s Jonathan Rabung took fourth place, one spot ahead of Whistler’s Ian Davidson.
There were several more good local finishes in the bantam (2.2 km) divisions as well. Whistler’s Mila Wittenberg and Pemberton’s Sakura Kawano finished one-two in girls’ racing, while Linnea Uunila was fifth. In the boys’ event, Whistler Nordics skier Joe Davies was the winner.
At the peewee level (1.65 km), Whistler’s Elle Johnston was second, while Marlie Molinaro and Savannah McKinney-Lincks were fourth and fifth for the Spud Valley club. Pemberton’s Jack L’Estrange, in eighth place, had the top local boys’ result.
Whistler’s Selina Meier won the open women’s (10 km) race, while Thomsen D’Hont, a Callaghan Valley Training Centre athlete, won the open men’s (13.2 km) event. Martin Schrama placed third.
In masters racing, Brent Murdoch was sixth for the top local finish. Jennifer Tabbernor and Marie-Claude Laski were second and third, respectively, in the women’s race for the Whistler club.
The skiers will be headed to Prince George at the beginning of February for the B.C. Championships, which will feature classic and relay races.