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Youth Olympians wrap up in Norway

Sports briefs: Canadian lugers wrap with win; Spud Valley Loppet held; Junior gymnasts compete



Though most Sea to Sky athletes completed their competitions at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer early on, there were still a couple wrapping things up in the event's final days.

Whistler's Parker Reid placed 12th in the inaugural mono-bobsleigh race, posting a two-run time of one minute, 56.80 seconds (1:56.80). He was 2.51 seconds behind winner Jonas Jannusch of Germany, who edged out Russia's Maksim Ivanov and Norway's Kristian Olsen.

On the women's side, Kingston, Ont.'s Martha Niziolek took a ninth-place finish, while Calgarians Katherine Hogan and Taylor Rooke were back-to-back in 13th and 14th, respectively.

As well, Vancouver cross-country skier Annika Richardson, who trains at Whistler Olympic Park, placed 16th in the women's five-kilometre free race with a time of 14:09.8, 71 seconds back of winner Maya Yakunina of Russia. Yakunina dominated the race, placing 31.1 seconds ahead of runner-up Chunxue Chi of China and 37.1 seconds ahead of Finland's Rebecca Immonen.

Canadian lugers wrap season with team win

After a few podium near misses, Canada's luge relay team completed its season with a big win in Winterberg.

The team of Calgary-based athletes Mitch Malyk, Arianne Jones, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith won Canada's first relay gold medal in five years on Feb. 21, posting a time of two minutes, 26.595 seconds (2:26.95) to complete the FIL World Cup circuit.

It was Jones' first-ever relay and she relished the opportunity to take part in the event.

"It was a great way to end the season for sure and (it's) very special to be a part of this team," Jones told the Luge Canada website. "We are a close group already, but to race together and then stand on the podium was fantastic.

"It was amazing for all of us to be on top of the podium and hear O Canada. Words can't describe how good that feels. To end the season on a high point will give us more motivation to want more, and work harder through the summer which is really the most important part of our season."

Individually, the Snith and Walker sled just missed out on their first doubles medal of the season, sitting in third place after the first run, but eventually slipping to finish eighth. Malyk posted a 14th-place finish, while on the women's side, Jones placed 10th and Kim McRae 14th.

Spud Valley Loppet held

Pemberton's top skiers performed admirably at the Spud Valley Loppet on Feb. 21. Roughly 120 competitors, ranging in age from five to 81 hit the course at Blacktail Meadows.

In the 10-kilometre event, Riki Pascal won the 8/9 boys' division. Up a level, Lennox Davies, Alex Feuz and Sami Teitzel made up the 10/11 boys' podium, as did Sierra Pochay-McBain, Emily Mellor and Ruby Hunter for the girls. The girls' 12/13 champions were Linnea Uunila, Naomi Prohaska and Marlie Molinaro, while Jonathan Rabung captured the boys' 14-17 event and Alisa Feuz edged Fiona Davies in the girls' division. Lastly, in the open category, Kieran Lumb, David Lumb and Sam Schranz were the top three men and Carolyn McBain, Anne Spence and Sue Grimshaw were the fastest women.

Kieran Lumb won the fastest overall trophy, while McBain took the fastest local woman hardware. Rabung and Uunila won the fastest secondary school racer trophies, while Davies and Molinaro took the elementary school honours. The Ronayne and Davies clans shared the largest family group honour.

In the five-kilometre division, Namumisko Lammens won the five-and-under division. As for the 6/7 boys, Liam McNolty, Ethan Wood and Leo Rainthorpe were the top three, while Ireland Drain, Grace Cleland and Hope Curliss were the top girls.

Lastly, Jacob Robichaud, Raphael Morin and Jack Kettles were the top three boys in the eight-year-old division and Isla Inglis, Greta Wint and Sonja Blake topped the girls' category.

Junior gymnasts compete in Coquitlam

A handful of Whistler Gymnastics athletes travelled to Coquitlam on Feb. 20 to take part in its first event of the year.

Several posted podium finishes in individual disciplines, while a couple others hung around for a step after the all-around scores were calculated.

In the Junior Olympics 7 division, 2002-born Katie Faerge placed third all-around on the strength of second-place finishes in beam and floor and third on the vault. Fellow 2002 athlete Ayva Spierings placed fourth all-around, led by a third-place finish on the floor.

Meanwhile, in the Junior Olympics 6 event, 2003 competitor Tessa Juniper was first on the bars en route to placing third all-around. Fellow 2003 athlete Anna Prohaska was fifth all-around after placing second on the vault, while Kaiya Nixon was sixth all-around with a third-place showing on the beam.

As for the 2004s, Nicole Bolleman was third all-around with seconds on the floor and the beam and third on the bars, while Kate Garcia was sixth all-around. Lastly, 2005 competitor Tea Cousineau was fifth all-around after taking second on the vault and Annie Sproule was ninth all-around.

Osborne-Paradis hits top 10; WMSC alums off to Junior Worlds

Manuel Osborne-Paradis was a little bit charmed at Chamonix on Feb. 20.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus posted his first FIS World Cup top-10 finish of the season with a seventh-place finish in the downhill to lead all Canadians in the race.

Osborne-Paradis' time of one minute, 59.54 seconds (1:59.54) placed him 1.16 seconds off of Frenchman Dominik Paris' winning pace. American Steven Nyman and Switzerland's Beat Feuz rounded out the podium. Fellow Canadian Erik Guay placed eighth, Benjamin Thomsen was 34th and Whistlerite Broderick Thompson was 47th. Lastly, Jeffrey Frisch was 48th and Tyler Werry placed 53rd.

Thompson, meanwhile, was the top Canadian finisher in the previous day's downhill, taking 15th while Werry was 41st. In the alpine combined the same day, he was 27th while Werry was 40th.

The Canadian women, meanwhile, were at La Thuile, Italy. In the Feb. 19 downhill, Canadian Larisa Yurkiw placed ninth, while she just missed the podium the next day, placing fourth in another downhill, 0.21 seconds away from a medal and 0.93 seconds back of winner Nadia Fanchini of Italy.

In other Alpine Canada news, the organization revealed its roster for the World Junior Championships in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 23. WMSC's Stefanie Fleckenstein made the women's team along with Valerie Grenier, Ali Nullmeyer and Mikaela Tommy. WMSC members Jack Crawford and Brodie Seger made the men's team with Jeff Read.

Competition runs from Feb. 27 to March 5.


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