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Best in the West: Reith on top at XC Westerns



The Whistler Nordics entered a team at the Haywood Westerns for the second time ever last weekend in Canmore, with Devo Team skiers taking on the best young cross-country skiers from B.C. and Alberta.

It went incredibly well with one athlete, 14-year-old Austin Reith, winning two gold medals and placing fourth in another event. He'd won some races before but nothing at that level.

"It was pretty cool to podium at that event," he said. "Now I can't wait for nationals."

Reith will compete at nationals, despite the fact that there is no midget category. He'll compete as a junior against kids at least two years older — and he's still hoping for a top 10.

In addition to training with the Whistler Nordics Devo Team he says he skis a lot on his own as well as play hockey. "So I'm out most days of the week."

As well as the Whistler Nordics, the National Athlete Development Centre-Callaghan Valley and Callaghan Valley Training Centre (CVTC) sent a few athletes along as well.

Geoffrey Richards of the CVTC had a solid performance in the 10km interval classic race, placing seventh overall in a field of 70 racers. Martin Schrama was 23rd, Colin Abbott 34th, Jeffrey Kerkovius 35th, Colin Ferrie 40th and Stefan Sander-Green 56th. Thomsen D'Hont, who lives in Whistler but races for the Northwest Territories, was 36th.

In Juvenile Girls 5km, Jenya Nordin and Lauren Doak were eighth and ninth respectively out of 37 starters.

In Midget Boys, Whistler's Austin Reith outsprinted a field of 40 racers to place first overall, with a gap of almost 10 seconds over the next racer in the group.

In the skate sprint race, Colin Abbott stepped up for the CVTC to place 17th among Senior Men, while D'Hont placed 21st.

In Junior Women, the CVTC's Adriene Underhill placed sixth overall.

Colin Ferrie led the locals in fifth place in Junior Men, followed by Martin Schrama in sixth and Geoffrey Richards in seventh. Jeff Wood was 10th, Stefan Sander-Green 11th and Jeffrey Kerkovius 14th.

In Juvenile Girls, Jenya Nordin was eighth for Whistler and the B.C. development team out of 41 skiers. Lauren Doak was 13th.

Reith was fourth in the Midget Boys sprint, less than a second off the podium.

The last event was the pursuit race.

In the Open Men's race Geoffrey Richards was 12th, Colin Abbott 30th, Jeffrey Kerovius 38th, Colin Ferrie 39th, Martin Schrama 40th and Jeff Wood 42nd.

Austin Reith picked up his second gold medal of the weekend in Midget Boys, this time with a narrow win over Stefan Martin of the Canmore Nordic Ski Club. There were 47 racers in the category.

Lauren Doak was sixth in Juvenile Girls and Jenya Nordin eighth.