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OUA Freestyle Team Sprints
By:  Matt Brown   (2014/01/30)

This past weekend University of Waterloo hosted a OUA invitational race in accordance with the Muskoka Loppet. The weekend saw competitors from: Queens University, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, UofT, Nippising, Carleton, and Laurentian University. The first day was comprised of a 1.2km skate team sprint and the 2nd day was a 15km classic mass start. XC Ottawa members Matt Brown and Liza Rozina teamed up with Carleton University's Nansen and Kendra Murray. With much of the Carleton team taking a rest week,  from the previous weeks races in Maine and the upcoming Eastern Canadian Championship races, the small team went ahead for their final sprint preparations for Eastern's.

The course for Saturday comprised of rolling terrain, and the famous Arrowhead "wall". The forecasts leading up to Saturdays events were all over the place and showed many different predictions. Upon our arrival we were surprised to find ~5-10cm of fresh powder sitting atop old cold snow from the previous weeks cold snap and air temperatures hovering around the -12 mark. After experimenting with waxes we found the "secret sauce" to be Vauhti HF Green with Vauhti Goldfox topper. 

The girls were up first with Liza leading the charge and Kendra playing the anchor role. The team stayed out front and out of trouble through the semi finals and broke the pack up to comfortably proceed to the finals. In the finals the women played the same tactical game, and stayed out of trouble in order to make their move when the time came. Through the second leg the girls made their move and broke away from the pack, gaining a lead and became the eventual winners, beating out Nippising University by 34 seconds, with Guelph rounding out 3rd position. (For full results:http://zone4.ca/results.asp?ID=6379&cat=161)

The men had to hold up to the girls strong skiing, and so Nansen was out first with Matt skiing the anchor role. Much like the women the men broke up the pack very early in the semis and comfortably skied their way to the finals. In the finals, the first leg came out tight with Nansen tagging off Matt with 2nd through 4th place right on their heels. Matt put in a burst out of the blocks and up "the wall" to leave the field behind. They gained through their 2nd and 3rd legs and would be the eventual winners by a considerable margin over Guelph and Nippising (for full results:http://zone4.ca/results.asp?ID=6379&cat=162).

Matt and Nansen Murray atop the podium

Liza and Kendra Murray enjoying their view from up top!

Liza skiing strong in the semi-finals

                           Matt attacking "the wall" and leaving the field behind

                                  Liza and Kendra happy with the days results

                                               Liza, Kendra Murray and Matt skiing their course
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