For the second year in a row, Lakehead University’s Varsity Cross Country Skiing Team claimed the National Champion title in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the 2006 Canadian Colleges & Universities Championships
“It felt great,” said Stephen Hart.
He’s the Lakehead cross-country skier who, along with Skeets Morel, topped the charts in the university men’s division of the 2006 Ski Nationals.
“We have such a deep team at Lakehead. There are so many talented skiers, and it was great skiing on home turf. We knew the trails by heart, so we were able to push a little more.”
For the first time ever, the Canadian Colleges and Universities Championships were held in Thunder Bay at the Lappe Nordic Centre from March 5-12, 2006. They were held in conjunction with the national club championships and they coincided with the annual Sibley Ski Tour.
“The Thunderwolves’ win – the second in two years – has definitely put Lakehead on the map as the place to be for cross-country skiers,” says Hart.
Lakehead’s ski team prides itself in being one of the most accomplished varsity teams in the classroom, says Head Coach Lisa Patterson (BEd’96). “Fifty percent of our team members maintained an 80% plus average in 2004-2005, not an easy task considering that in some weeks, skiers will have between six and seven practices.”
“We have the National Team Development Centre here, lots
of local support, as well as fabulous ski trails at the Lappe Nordic Centre, the Kamview Nordic Centre, and the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.”
– Head Coach Lisa Patterson
“Lakehead University has a strong Nordic Skiing program because of the tightly knit ski community here in Thunder Bay,” she says. “People in this city really care about cross-country skiing. We have the National Team Development Centre here, lots of local support, as well as fabulous ski trails at the Lappe Nordic Centre, the Kamview Nordic Centre, and the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Every weekend, it seems, there is a high-quality race to attend right here in town.”
In addition to coaching the varsity team at Lakehead, Patterson is Head Coach of the Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club, which is currently ranked second in Canada. She is also one of six coaches participating in the Coaching Association of Canada’s National Team Coach Apprenticeship program. This two-year program is providing Patterson with $20,000 to travel within Canada and to Europe to take part in coach learning opportunities at national and international competitions, and national team training camps, such as the World Nordic Junior and Under 23 Championships held in Slovenia last February.
“All the knowledge I gain on these trips will be brought back to the Lakehead University Nordic Ski Team as well as the Big Thunder Ski Club,” says Patterson. As for Stephen Hart, he is hoping to graduate with a Master’s degree in Forestry this year and will stay in Thunder Bay to see just how far competitive skiing will take him. The 2010 Winter Olympics are not far off, but for now, he says, “I’ll be taking it one year at a time.”
Back row (l-r): Jeffrey Cameron, Phil Wood, Andrew Casey, Jesse Winter, Doug Bolster, Matt Schoales, Robb Martin, Skeets Morel, and Head Coach Lisa Patterson
Front row (l-r): Linnaea Kershaw, Berit Dool, Mallory Deyne, Rena Bode, Amanda Holdsworth, Emily Hayman. Missing: Stephen Hart, Ava Rudachyk