By Lindsay Chung
Lisgar Collegiate continues to dominate the nordic ski circuit in the Ottawa region after strong performances in the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association championships on Feb. 11 in Gatineau.
John Rennie raced to first place in the senior boys category, followed closely by Derek Boyd, who finished third.
Their performances led Lisgar to the top spot overall in the category, both in team and individual standings. The team of Rennie, Boyd and Bjorn Weber finished first in senior boys relay.
Lisgar’s junior boys took over their category as well. Stefan Ramonat finished second, while Chris Boyd was third.
Their fast times, combined with a win in the relay, gave Lisgar first place overall in junior boys team and individual standings.
Katie Beardsley’s second-place finish led the senior girls to the third spot in individual and team standings.
The girls’ strong showing, along with a great effort by the boys put Lisgar on top in the overall senior combined standings.
These results, including nine top-10 finishes in three categories, come off the heels of an equally powerful performance at the National Capital individual championships on Feb. 4. Combined, these have made Lisgar skiers some of the ones to beat at the upcoming high school provincials on Feb. 23 and 24 in Gatineau.
Seventeen-year-old Derek Boyd, in his fourth year skiing with Lisgar, says he likes skiing on the school team because “you get to go around and meet new people.”
He and younger brother Chris have been skiing for years and both belong to Ottawa clubs outside of school.
“My parents both ski, so they dragged me into it,” laughed Derek.
Derek’s love of the sport has rubbed off on friend Sandy Fulton, also 17.
“This guy forced me into it,” Fulton joked, pointing his skis at Derek. He’s now in his third year with the team and is glad he joined.
“It’s a lot of fun and a good atmosphere,” he said.
Coach Tania Asselstine believes Lisgar’s continued success on the trails is a result of success in other areas.
“Because skiing is an individual sport, the students who do it tend to be confident in themselves,” she said. “They tend to be highly academic too, so with the gifted program, it goes hand in hand.”
Asselstine says Lisgar has a strong cross-country running team, which feeds into the ski program because they are both individual sports requiring lots of conditioning.
“What we’ve done in the past is say ‘Oh you like running, well come out with us and continue your training,’” she said.
Asselstine, who has been involved with the team for six years, was a cross-country skier on her own high school team.
“It’s a sport I’ve done since I was very young, and I really enjoyed it in high school,” she said. “It just sort of carried through when I started teaching.”
Her passion for the sport has spilled over to the 16 talented skiers on her team.
Grade 12 student William Burr, who was fifth in Gatineau, has been skiing since Grade 9.
He first got involved in the sport through Lisgar.
He now skis with the Nakkertoc club outside of school time but he says being part of the team has many advantages.
The skiers began training in November. They started with dryland training, including lifting weights in the gym, until it started to snow and they decided to head outdoors.
Their hard work will culminate in the much-anticipated provincials.
“They’re really a good bunch of kids to work with,” Asselstine said.“They’re very positive, responsible and hard-working. We have a lot of fun.”