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Sea to Sky riders land on the podium at Sunshine Coaster

Sports Briefs: Locals impressive in XC, downhill tests

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Sea to Sky mountain bikers were very impressive during two days of the Sunshine Coaster races held over the weekend, especially in the youth categories.

The Coaster, which hosted cross-country races on May 3 and a downhill event on May 4, was full of Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish-area riders who racked up a bunch of strong results.

Mahon Lamont led a Sea to Sky sweep of the men's 15 to 19 race on the short course, sharing the podium with runner-up Ethan Toom of Garibaldi Highlands and Spencer Wight from Whistler. Team Squamish rider Tobin Hubner finished fourth in the age group, while fellow Sea to Sky riders Conrad Murdoch, Edi Schreyer, Hunter Verner and Nick Kleban earned top-10 finishes.

Whistler's Michael Murdoch won the men's 12 to 14 race on the short course, followed by fellow local Ian Milley. In Sunday's downhill, Milley placed fifth in the U15 group. Toom claimed victory in the U17 downhill, while Sean Fincham of Garibaldi Highlands placed third. Wight, racing in the junior men's class (17- and 18-year-olds) finished ninth.

Whistler riders Jennifer McTavish and Georgia Astle provided a pair of one-two finishes at the event, each taking a turn atop the podium. McTavish won the women's 15 to 19 cross-country race, and Astle finished first in the junior women's downhill. Keeley Wentzel also turned in a fifth-place finish in the cross-country race.

The more experienced riders from the Sea to Sky recorded a number of great results as well in the adult categories. Whistler's Michael Robinson took top spot on the cross-country marathon-length course in the men's 30 to 39 group. Pemberton's Russ Wood and Terry Evans finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Sarah Greenwood from Squamish also posted an age category victory on the marathon course, winning the women's 30 to 39 race.

Squamish riders Quinn Moberg and Greg Day earned second- and third-place finishes in the pro men's race, while Brandi Heisterman was a runner-up in the pro women's class. Other riders with top-five finishes on the marathon course included Curtis Bennett (second, men's 20 to 29), Rob Phoenix (fifth, men's 40 to 49) and Jan Toom (second, men's 50 to 59).

On the short course, Whistler's Brent Murdoch won the men's 50-plus race, while Pemberton's Natalie Morel Wood led a strong showing from Sea to Sky cyclists in the women's 30 to 39 group. In that race, Sara Evans was fourth, Claire Thomas placed sixth and Stephanie Dodds finished seventh.

Whistler's Nick Thomas placed third on in the men's 30 to 39 short race, and David Krasny earned the same finish in men's 40 to 49 event.

Full results are posted at www.sunshinecoaster.net.

NIMBY FIFTY APPROACHING, 'LITE' OPTION UNVEILED

With the cycling calendar starting to reach some of the first major mountain bike events of the season, don't forget that one of the biggest cross-country races in the Sea to Sky is coming up in less than a month.

The fifth edition of the Nimby Fifty is set for May 31 in Pemberton. Although early-bird registration has passed, it's not too late to sign up for one of B.C.'s toughest tests on two wheels.

However, organizers have rolled out a new "Nimby Fifty Lite" for this year, which will allow riders to try out a condensed version of the course if they feel they're not up to the challenge of the full, 37-kilometre route. The Lite course will split off from the main course just before the first bit of singletrack on Radio Tower and proceeds directly to the Mosquito Lake-area trails making up the back half of the course. In other words, if you'd like to avoid grinding up the Nimby's 101 switchbacks that come early on the course, the Lite option is for you.

Visit www.nimbyfifty.com for full details and race registration.

GYMNASTS RACK UP STRONG RESULTS

The great results keep rolling in for athletes from Whistler Gymnastics, as the club's competitors turned in more great performances at the Luau Cup in Vancouver from May 2 to 4.

Cassia Jean captured a gold medal on the uneven bars to help earn a fourth-place all-around finish to lead Whistler's Level 2 Novice gymnasts. Also in the category, Leah Brownlie and Amy Ertel placed 10th and 11th overall, respectively.

Katie Faerge collected bronze medals in all of her events, which put her in the all-around silver medal position among Level 2 Tyro athletes. Skyler Williamson finished fifth and Ayva Spierings sixth in all-around scoring. Level 2 Argo competitor Mali Forest had a strong meet that included a bronze-medal vault performance and a top-10 all-around finish.

Whistler competitors earned several high finishes in Level 1 Tyro action. Anna Prohaska won gold on the vault, Kaitlyn Hill took silver in floor exercise and Kaiya Nixon grabbed silver as well on the bars. Tessa Juniper had the team's top all-around finish, placing fifth, and Jaya Guibert placed in the top 15 overall.

Nicole Bolleman earned an all-around bronze against a field of 30 athletes in Level 1 Argo competition. Annie Sproule claimed a floor-exercise silver, while teammate Gabby Collins grabbed the bronze. Mardi Williamson and Katelyn Garcia both had solid meets and finished in the all-around top-20.

Meanwhile, Whistler's youth gymnasts in the Performance category each posted personal-best routines en route to winning a Team Spirit Award. The team included Skye Lees, Elly Mitchell, Sofia Wright, Anik Rankin, Jordyn Sargent, Embyr-Lee Susko, Gabbi Buchanan and Reese Palmer. The Whistler contingent left the Luau Cup with five Spirit Awards in total, earned by both athletes and coaches.

Whistler's Performance Plus team of David Mehta, Amanda Mason, Emily Bedard, Julia Hedpitch, McKenzie Jackson, Miyuki Espada, Robyn Minton, Takaya Maynard, Tiana Hauschka and Shalimar Fisker also had an impressive meet, though their final results were not available at press time.

YOUTH TRIATHLON RETURNING TO RESORT

The 11th annual Whistler Kids of Steel triathlon is just a couple of weeks away, and event organizers are looking for both racers and volunteers.

This year's race will take place May 24. The distances will range for each age group, but the race will consist of a 100 to 300-metre swim in the Meadow Park Sports Centre pool, a two to 14-km cycling leg on Alta Lake Road, and a one to four-km run along Lorimer Road.

The race is open to athletes aged eight to 18. Meanwhile, a SuperSprint triathlon will also be held for adults.

Visit www.whistlertriclub.ca for race details and registration. Interested volunteers can contact race director Sarah O'Byrne by email at sarahobyrne@hotmail.com.

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