Dahria Beatty and Xavier McKeever Celebrate First Classic Sprint Canadian Championship Titles
WHISTLER, B.C.—Olympian Dahria Beatty and teenager, Xavier McKeever, finished on top of the podium after a day of classic sprinting at the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships in Whistler, B.C. on Wednesday.
An exhausted Beatty following a long competitive season raced to her first National title of the week after finishing as the top Canadian, third overall, in the international women’s field.
“I was really tired, but I knew my skis were running really well,” said Beatty. “I usually have a strong double pole finish. Tactically speaking I was working really well to go to the outside in the finish chute where people hadn’t skied in the qualifier because it was a lot faster, and I was confident in my finish.”
Battling through four seasons of conditions between the heats, the 28-year-old Beatty was one of two Canadians that included Laurence Dumais that were matched up against four Americans in the final of the head-to-head heats.
“I was just trying not to lose too much time on the climbs today. Unfortunately, I let a gap open up to Caitlin (Patterson) and wasn’t able to close back on that, but I’m happy with my effort. This is just my second national sprint title, and first in classic, so I’m really happy.”
The Americans grabbed the top-two spots on the women’s sprint podium at Whistler Olympic Park. Julia Kern won the gold medal, while Caitlin Patterson was second.
Quebec’s Liliane Gagnon grinded out the victory in the women’s U20 final.
“I was pretty tired from my semi, but I just tried to follow Jasmine up the last hill and pushed on the final downhill,” said Gagnon. “I was going hard double-polling to the finish. I am very happy with my race. Classic is not always my best, so it feels really good.”
Jasmine Drolet (Rossland, B.C.) skied to the silver-medal step of the podium. Magalie Daoust, who skis out of Nakkertok Nordique, was third.
A Canadian teen stole the show in the men’s open sprint event.
Racing up a division, 18-year-old Xavier McKeever won his first open national title after taking down the best men’s cross-country skiers in North America.
“It is insane. I can’t believe it,’ said McKeever. “Going into the final, I was just stoked to be in the top- three in Canada racing with (Graham) Ritchie and Toni (Antoine Cyr). I had insane boards today. I just went as hard as I could and double-poled to the finish. I just can’t believe it.”
Feeding off a stellar World Junior Championships last month where he rattled off three, top-10 finishes including a fifth in the 30-kilometre event and a fourth-place result in the relay, the Canmore, Alta. resident raced up a division on Wednesday to prepare himself for his fourth World Juniors next year on the Whistler trails.
“I have had some really good sprints this year, but I wanted to challenge myself a bit today. We will be racing this course next year. The World Juniors is a really strong field, so I wanted to test myself against a really competitive field to practice today.”
The youngster took top spot over Antoine Cyr (Gatineau, Que.) who was in second. Luke Jager, of the United States, was third.
Derek Deuling, of Whitehorse, won the men’s U20 division. Ottawa’s Luke Allan skied to the silver medal. Sasha Masson locked up third spot.
The U18 and U16 sprint races will take place on Thursday.
The first National Championships to be staged since 2019, skiers from across Canada and the United States are taking part in the event which combines the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships and US Super Tour Finals, from March 20-27, at Whistler Olympic Park. A full schedule is available at https://skinationals2022.ca/#