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NorAm Olympic Trial Sprints Report
By:  Alana Thomas   (2009/12/21)

This past weekend marked a first in the Canada Cup Race series history. It was the first time there has ever been a classic sprint, followed by another classic sprint on the very same course the next day.

Why two sprints in two days? Because Canada wants to be 100% sure we bring the best sprint team we can to represent us this February in Vancouver. Needless to say, the weekend was action packed with all of Canada's best sprinters gunning for the ever coveted spot on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic teams.

On the women's side it was Dasha Gaiazova who dominated both days with very exciting performances by Madeline Williams, Andrea Dupont, Shayla Swanson and Nakkertok's just off the plane from Europe Perianne Jones. Other notables included the young Senior Kate Brennan, originally from the Ottawa area, who skied to win the B-final both days and had an impressive third place qualification time on Sunday. XC Ottawa's Sheila Kealey was the top team performer both days with 19th and 25th place finishes while Megan skied to a 20th place result in Saturday's heats.

On the men's side the results were more varied with a few spills and extra gutsy efforts. Saturday's race was won by an impressively strong Stefan Kuhn followed by Drew Goldsack and Sean Crooks. Drew Goldsack, coming back from injuries last season was strong both days with a win on Sunday to better his second place result from the day before. Other notables were 21 year old southern Ontario native Lenny Valjas with a pair of 4th place finishes and Graham Nishikawa and Brent McMurtry who put on an exciting show to win silver and bronze in Sunday's sprint. XC Ottawa's Karl Saidla tackled the epic sprint course as a sharpening event for Tuesday's "Man Race of All Man Races" the 50km individual start classic.

In other news, XC Ottawa's favourite alumni sprinter Tom McCarthy, now residing in Vancouver, came to Canmore for the weekend to join coach John on the wax team AND race! This is sure to give Tom the competitive edge leading into the 2009-2010 Winter McCarthy cup over his brother Ed. Ed opted for a high-altitude training camp in Nepal instead of these key preparation races. Be sure to watch for those two at this year's boxing Day Burnoff.

Full Results:

Sheila in Sunday's quarterfinal heat

Dasha Gaiazova, sprint winner both days, and likely on her way to the Olympics

Drew Goldsack, 2nd on Saturday, and 1st on Sunday
Interesting Reading. . .
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