Hugh Warkentin wanted to find out how he stacked up against the elite when it comes to nordic ski world in Canada so he figured the best way to do it was compete against them.
Warkentin, a 17-year-old Level 3 student at Corner Brook High, is one of the talented nordic skiers who suits up for the Newfoundland and Labrador nordic ski team.
He got a test of his mettle this past week when he competed at the selection trials for Team Canada’s junior team for the 2018 world junior cross-country ski championships scheduled for Switzerland in March.
He had illusions of making Team Canada and made his presence known by claiming a bronze medal in one of his two five-kilometre freeestyle races during the four-day venture to Mont-Sainte Anne, a ski resort located in the tiny town of Beaupre, which is about 40 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
He had a 10th-place finish in his other 5-km freestyle event and he placed 60th overall in a sprint race and came away feeling pretty good about the intense training he’s been doing in preparation for a season that has been challenging because there isn’t much snow around after a rainstorm pounded the region last week.
Some of the people he rubbed shoulders with were former Olympians. Some of the others are destined for a shot at the national team sooner rather than later.
Seeing how they prepare, how they train and what can be accomplished through hard work was something that wasn’t lost on the young guy who hopes to crack the top-6 in his age group at the 2018 national cross-country ski championships being staged in Thunder Bay in March.
“It’s pretty aspiring to see all the good skiers. There were a lot of people who had been to the Olympics before so that’s pretty cool,” Warkentin said Monday afternoon.
He is looking forward to working harder to ensure he’s at his best for nationals and he’s using his trip to the selection trials as a kickstart to better things ahead.
“It gives you a lot of motivation to continue to train hard to be better in the future,” he said.