India Sherret and Kevin Drury can now call themselves junior ski cross champions after two nail-biting final races during day two of the National Ski Cross Championships at Hudson Bay Mountain on Wednesday.
Sherret, who is originally from Cranbrook, finished on top of the podium in the women’s junior national races, while Edmonton’s Abby McEwen came in second followed by Zoe Chore and Tiana Gairns.
In the final race, it was neck and neck between Sherret and McEwen.
“I messed up at the end and [Abby] caught up to me near the finish, but I still had just enough of a lead to hold her off. It was exciting,” said 18-year-old Sherret, who is competing in her third national championship and is a member of the Canadian ski cross development team.
Sherret said she had the lead early, which led to her narrow victory.
“Definitely getting the lead is pretty important because there are so many tight corners. There’s opportunity to pass, but it’s not easy. You really have to gun it and go for it, if you’re going to pass,” she said, adding that with this course in particular, skiers must protect their line in areas where other racers can pass.
“If you know that someone is behind you, you have to make sure you don’t open up an inside line for them.”
According to McEwen, that’s how she was able to get by Sherret on one of the final corners.
“She was a little bit off the gate so I just snuck in there,” she said, noting this is her second year at nationals.
“I made a pass on her at the fifth corner, but she had the outside so she passed me again and I couldn’t catch her.”
In the men’s junior nationals, Ontario’s Kevin Drury took the top spot followed by Kevin MacDonald, Kristofor Mahler and Zach Belczyk.
Local Jason Oliemans did not make the podium, but had two great races, both against Adam Gibson from Whistler.
Oliemans said he competed well, barely scraping into the quarter finals.
“It was one of those tight races where I just had to stick my arm out to win,” he said.
But in the second race, Oliemans could not hold on to the lead and Gibson pulled through to beat him.
In the FIS races, Dave Duncan came out on top for the second day in a row, followed by Chris Del Bosco, Brady Leman and Tristan Tafel.
The races will wrap up Thursday with the national championships at 10 a.m., followed by autograph signings at Bovill Square at 4 p.m.