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Thompson extends Crystal Globe lead

Sports briefs: Pehota struggles in FWT opener; Spu Valley Loppet welcomes nearly 100 racers

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Marielle Thompson captured her fifth win of the season in Sweden on the weekend.

The 24-year-old Whistlerite bested Swede Sandra Naeslund and Swiss Fanny Smith at Idre Fjall, Sweden on Feb. 12 to extend her lead for the FIS Crystal Globe in ski-cross. Thompson holds a commanding lead in the overall points department with 765 to Naeslund's 630.

"Today I skied my best, had lots of fun, and finished the day with the win," Thompson posted to Instagram after the race.

Also in the Feb. 12 race, Brittany Phelan took eighth and India Sherret placed 13th.

The men also impressed that day, as Calgarian Brady Leman earned the win, knocking off Frenchmen Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonas Devousassoux. Whistler's Dave Duncan earned a seventh-place finish, while Kevin Drury took ninth, Ian Deans 13th, Ned Ireland 16th, Chris Del Bosco 26th, Zach Belczyk 28th and Trent McCarthy 36th.

In the Feb. 11 event, Thompson won the small final to place fifth overall as Naeslund bested Australia's Sami Kennedy-Sim and Austria's Katrin Ofner. Phelan took 10th and Sherret 13th.

As for the men, Leman was the top Canadian in ninth while Drury took 20th, Del Bosco 26th, Deans 28th, Ireland 35th, Belczyk 37th, Duncan 41st and Mathieu Leduc 42nd.

Pehota 17th in FWT opener

Pemberton freeride skier Logan Pehota's season didn't get off to the start he was hoping for when the Freeride World Tour kicked off on Feb. 9.

Pehota, who took second overall in his rookie year in 2016, placed 17th at the first competition of 2017 at Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra. American Drew Tabke earned the win, followed by Sweden's Kristofer Turdell and Spain's Aymar Navarro Combalie.

On the women's side, Whistler's Lauren Cameron skied to sixth to end up right in the middle of the pack. Fellow Canuck Kylie Sivell placed third, trailing only winner Arianna Tricomi of Italy and American Jaclyn Paaso.

The season opener was originally scheduled to take place at France's Chamonix-Mont Blanc resort, but was moved because of unfavourable weather conditions.

At the second Vallnord event on Feb. 15, Pehota took 18th on the men's side as France's Leo Slemett scored the win. Fellow Frenchman Loic Collomb-Patton was second while Switzerland's Yann Rausis placed third.

As for the women, Cameron ended up placing 10th while Austria's Lorraine Huber came through with the win. Sivell jumped to second while Paaso slipped to third.

Spud Valley Loppet welcomes nearly 100 racers

Nearly 100 cross-country skiers took to the trails in Pemberton for the Spud Valley Loppet on Feb. 12.

With 40 children among the 98 racers, the sport's future looks strong in the region.

After the five- and 10-kilometre races were complete, organizers handed out seven trophies.

William Letham won the fastest overall title, while Cheryl Tuira was awarded fastest local woman. Jonathan Rabung and Marlie Molinaro were the fastest secondary school boy and girl, respectively, while Alex Feuz and Greta Wint took the same honours for the elementary school level. Lastly, the Jill Davies family won the award for largest family group.

Gymnast Charlie Craig earns Christy Fraser Award

A Whistler gymnast received some recognition for more than just her athletic ability at the Christy Fraser Memorial Invitational in Langley earlier this month.

Charlie Craig was presented with the Christy Fraser Award at the end of the competition. Fraser, a gymnast who passed away at just 12 years old in 1992, was known for her determination and positive attitude. Her mother, Lory, watches all three days of competition and looks to honour those who hold those same virtues.

The club itself was also recognized, said head coach Karin Jarratt.

"After the awards were presented, (Fraser) called the Whistler Gymnastics team to the podium for a spontaneous acknowledgement of what she called exemplary team spirit, support and positivity. She was so inspired by how well the team worked and celebrated together that she decided to create an award that had never been presented before," Jarratt said in an email.

At the meet itself, the first of the season, a number of athletes performed admirably.

In Level 7 action, Katie Faerge (2002) was first on the bars, second on the vault and third all-around, while Ayva Spierings (2002) was third on the beam and fifth overall. Mali Forest (2004) ended up third on both the bars and beam, as well as fourth overall.

As for the Level 6 competitors, Andrea Vazquez-Vela (2005) was first on both the vault and the floor, second on the bars and tops all-around. Fellow 2005 athletes included Téa Cousineau (third on bars and third overall), Sophie Firth and Gabbi Collins (tied for third on the floor). Meanwhile, for the 2003 division, Anna Prohaska was first on both the beam and the floor to take third overall, while Tessa Juniper was first on the bars to earn fourth overall.

Craig, the lone 2006 competitor, was fourth on both the vault and beam en route to seventh, while Sofia Wright, a 2007, was first on the floor on her way to fourth.

Whistler Gymnastics will host a meet on Feb. 26 as Level 6 athletes seek to qualify for provincials.

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