Gareth Williams returned from Europe in top form to win all three races at the Haywood NorAm-Buff Sprints Western Championships last weekend at the Otway Nordic Centre in Prince George.
The 18-year-old member of the Telemark nordic cross country team competed earlier this month at both German national championships and a Continental Cup in Switzerland.
Williams started his winning streak at westerns in the junior men’s 10 km skate race, winning by a commanding 28 seconds over Canmore Alberta’s Eric Bryne.
The following day, Williams won the 800m Buff Sprints against five of the best racers from B.C. Alberta and the Yukon by 0.56 seconds.
On Sunday, Williams faced rival Caelan McLean of Whitehorse in the Mass Start Classic Race. Williams proved to be the stronger racer over the final three laps to ultimately win the 20 km race by just over a minute.
David Walker, also in the junior men’s division, took sixth in the Friday’s skate race. He ended his weekend with a fifth place in the 20 km classic race.
Ben Shipley started the Western Championships off with a bronze medal performance in the Interval Start Skate Race. He covered the Juvenile 2000 Boys 3.75 km course in 9:31.5, finishing 44 seconds back of Remi Drolet of Rossland. Matt Shipley finished sixth and Ian Williams took 13th.
In Saturday’s Buff Sprint 800m, Ian Williams won the B final to take seventh overall,
while Ben Shipley was 10th and Matt Shipley 11th.
Sunday’s 10km Classic Mass start race saw Matt Shipley take 10th, Ben Shipley 8th, and Ian Williams take 5th, with only a 15 second gap to a bronze medal.
Testing their abilities at their first westerns were Gregor Graham, Connor Hobbs, Tristan Lee, Ian Mayer, and Grayson McKinnon.
Graham and Mayer raced in the 2003 Midget Boys division where on opening day Graham took 4th place in the 3.75km Skate race and Mayer 11th.
Graham then earned two silver medals over the next two days, taking second in the 1.1km sprint, and second in Sunday’s mass start race.
Mayer raced to an impressive fifth place in both the sprint and classic race.
In the 2002 Midget boys division, Hobbs took 6th in all his events, McKinnon was 7th the first two days and 8th in Sunday’s 5km Classic race. Lee finished 9th, 8th, and 7th place in his events.
These three Telemark Racers have joined teammates Carter Fortney and Michelle Kraetzer to represent their club and zone at the B.C. Winter Games in Penticton.