Skiing on his home turf at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, Penticton’s Fred Albrechtson outdistanced his competition at the weekend 2019 Teck BC Cup meet.
Racing in the two-lap, 10-kilometre race, the 16-year-old raced to gold medal performances on both days of the event.
Over 300 racers from from as far away as Yellowknife and Vancouver Island, ranging in age from five to 70-plus, took part in the two days of racing.
In addition there were four para nordic skiers taking part.
Salmon Arm’s Natalie Wilkie, who was Canada’s youngest athlete at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, was racing in the junior girls open division at Nickel Plate, finishing third on Saturday and disqualified Sunday.
She won gold, silver and bronze medals in her Paralympics debut in Pyeongchang, South Korea but also competes in able-body competitions like the Teck BC Cup.
Initially scheduled as an Okanagan Teck Cup event, the Nickel Plate race became a full-blown BC Cup competition after that event, originally scheduled for Prince George in December, was cancelled due to a lack of snow.
The Prince George race was also be be a national qualifier for the Canada Winter Games later this year, however, that did not carry over into the Nickel Plate competition and other criteria is being used to determine qualifiers.
In his first race of the weekend Saturday afternoon in the mass start event with competitors leaving the starting gate at 15-second intervals, Albrechtson turned in a two-lap time of 33:09.1 minutes (15:22.5, 17:46. 5).
That was a full minute and 30 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.
On day two, he finished the race in 35:44.8 (17:35.8, 18:09.0) over two minutes ahead of the second place skier.
The Grade 11 student from Penticton Secondary School also was a podium finisher last month, winding up in second spot at the Zone 4 Haywood NorAm U.S. Super Tour event at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in Vernon.
“I’ll be very surprised if he (Albrechtson) doesn’t make the B.C. team this year he’s beating all the other guys by a minute, two minutes three minutes,” said former Nickel Plate head coach Jerome Jang, who was helping at Nickel Plate on the weekend. “He’s put in a lot of work. This is the second third year that he has been training hard and he’s probably put in well over a 1,000 kilometres this year and it’s showing.”
Nickel Plate is hosting a welcome day Sunday, Jan 13 with free half-day lessons and rentals for cross country skiing and snowshoeing starting at 10 a.m. More information is available on the website: http://nickelplatenordic.org/welcome-day-saturday-dec-11th/.
Mark Brett | Reporter
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