by Jenny and Kate
Tag! Go-Go-Go!! Helen McCulligh tagged Mallory Williams; Kate Mason tagged Maggie McClure. Mallory then would tag Emma Holmes. Their team would finish second. Maggie handed off to Bronwyn Williams, who carried Raven’s flag across the finish line for the win.
Exchange #1 Women’s relay, Photo credit Josianne Masseau
The Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Nordic Skiing Championships are an annual reminder that university skiing is thriving in Ontario. The championships feature three days of competitive racing, with athletes competing for medals and teams accumulating points to earn the coveted OUA aggregate banners. Additionally, the OUA hosts the only cross-country ski races in Canada open solely to university skiers. The pairing of this field of student-athletes with the team scoring component creates a unique atmosphere that draws athletes back year after year.
Choo-Choo: Aboard the Carleton Raen’s Train. Maggie McClure leads, followed by Bronwyn, Helen, then Kate.
Women’s 15k Lead pack, photo credit Josianne Masseau
Consistently in the mix for the top team score is Carleton University. Carleton has a long history of trading the aggregate banner back and forth with Lakehead. Nipissing and uOttawa have also been contenders in recent history. This rivalry with other OUA schools unites Carleton skiers as they work toward a common goal, giving them a reason to push a little harder, scoring points for Carleton or displacing athletes from other teams.
As the 2022/23 race season progressed, it became apparent that the Carleton women’s team may have the opportunity to deliver an unprecedented result: a perfect team score. The Ravens women managed to do just that, working together to sweep the top-4 in both individual races and go 1-2 in the team distance relay. The eight skiers packed a tight race, with all athletes finishing in the top-16 on day 1 and 7 athletes in the top-11 on day 2. Additionally, 6 Ravens finished in the top-10 individual aggregate and were named OUA all-stars. These performances earned the women’s team a low score and the banner. The result is exciting, but the camaraderie and supportive atmosphere amongst the team are just as important to note.
Devon Pegrum (Carleton U) exchange #2 Men’s Relay, photo credit Jenny Wilbraham
On the men’s side, Carleton was faced with multiple teams able to take the win in the competition for the aggregate banner. Lakehead delivered on this front with several individual and relay podium performances. This left Carleton in a tight race for second against Nipissing and U Ottawa. The Ravens dropped the hammer on day 2 of the championships, with most athletes improving upon their day one result, cementing their second-place team finish. Additionally, three Carleton men were named OUA all-stars.
Team Award Carleton U, photo credit Josianne Masseau
A successful OUA championship event for Carleton became even more exciting when coach Kevin Shields was named coach of the year. Kevin’s calm manner, unique workouts that keep athletes on their toes, and experience in the wax room were exactly what the team needed to find success at the championships. The team also received support from several athletes who did not race the championships, instead spending long days in the wax room and on the trails. The Ravens are excited to get back to work and prepare for the upcoming National Championships and are already looking forward to competing in the next OUAs. Of the 16 athletes who represented Carleton at OUAs, 14 are confirmed to return next season, meaning there will be lots to build on in the coming year.
Nationals is next: Thunder Bay, March 11 to 17th.
Congratulations to the Carleton Ravens!
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