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Lakehead Skiers Alannah MacLean and Andy Shields lead the Thunderwolves at the OUA Nordic Skiing Championship last weekend in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Thunderwolves returned home with the silver medal in both the men’s and women’s team championships.
“Another great OUA championship for our team. We were close in both overall titles and while we were left wanting more at the end of the week. I am happy with how the athletes raced hard for each other and how they represented Lakehead on and off the trails,” said head coach Adam Kates.
“Big congrats to our rivals Carleton and congrats to Nipissing for the hard fight to the end. OUA skiing is strong right now and it is always fun to compete against what is perhaps the deepest field we have seen.”
MacLean finished on the top of the podium each day of OUAs starting with a first-place finish in the women’s 10km freestyle, followed by a gold medal in the women’s 15km classic and finally gold in the women’s 3x5km relay.
“I have been on the OUA circuit for a number of years and it was a highlight of the season to finish the weekend as the OUA aggregate overall champion. This is a title I have been personally pursuing for a number of years and it was very exciting to achieve this goal,” said MacLean.
“Lakehead University performed well at the championships; although we did not come home with the OUA banner, I am very proud of the hard work my teammates committed throughout the winter in preparation for the championships this past weekend.”
Racing with MacLeans in the relay was Erika Mihell, who completed the weekend with a sixth-place finish in the women’s 10km freestyle and 7th place finish in the women’s 15km classic, and Shaylynn Loewen, who came in seventh in the women’s 10km freestyle and fourth in the women’s 15km classic.
“In the team relay, our women’s team raced the perfect race. We knew in advance that Carleton would be a challenging team to beat, but we were mentally prepared to fight to the line in our race,” said MacLean.
“All three of us (Erika Mihell, myself and Shaylynn Loewen) skied strong legs of the 5km relay to put our team in the ideal position to challenge Carleton. Throughout the race, it was very back and forth between Lakehead and Carleton for the lead position. In an extremely tight race, Shaylynn, as the anchor leg, managed to beat Carleton to the line in an extremely exciting finishing stretch where she outsprinted Zoe Williams (Carleton) to the line.”
Andy Shields led the men’s team with a silver medal in the men’s 10km freestyle, gold medal in the men’s 15km classic and a third-place finish in the men’s 3x5km relay alongside Erik Schlyter and Conor McGovern.
In addition to the bronze medal in the men’s relay, Schlyter earned an 11th place finish in the men’s 10km freestyle and a sixth-place finish in the men’s 15kg classic, while McGovern finished seventh in both the men’s 10kg and 15kg.
MacLean, Loewen, Mihell, Camille Hamm, Shields, McGovern, Schlyter were all named OUA All-Stars.