Photo by Tim Austen
Gatineau, Que. – It may not have been the racing that Bronwyn Williams (Chelsea, Que.) planned for the second weekend in December, but if there was any disappointment about the cancellation of FISU, she sure did show it. When the Winter Universiade in Lauzon was canceled last month due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland the Ravens nordic skier had to refocus, shifting her attention to races closer to home. With the return of the Eastern Canada Cup at the FIS Eastern Canada Cup this past weekend, Bronwyn and her Ravens teammates were able to take to the trails and the podium at the Nakkertok Nordic Centre in Gatineau.
A regular part of the local ski scene, the Candy Cane Cup annual offers the Ravens nordic skiing team an early opportunity to test their fitness heading into the holiday season. It was a strong all-around showing for the Ravens, led by Williams who placed third in the CCUNC women’s 10km Classic and second in the 1.3km Sprint. Despite wet and raining conditions, Bronwyn and her Ravens teammates showed well at the competition which included a number of top 20 performances.
“I was ecstatic to be back to racing this past weekend,” said Williams. “I haven’t raced at an official event since OUAs in February 2020 so finally getting the chance to put on my suit and race around the ski trails at Nakkertok was long overdue!”
Despite the letdown of missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime at FISU, Williams remains focused on the season ahead. “Getting the news that FISU was canceled was a total shock. I was stunned because we had been preparing for the World University game for so long and the prospect of it being canceled was hard to fathom.”
Despite how hard it was to have the unfathomable occur, Williams credits her own resiliency for her ability to bounce back and immediately find success. “I feel like I have always been relatively quick to adapt so a couple of days after hearing the unfortunate news about FISU I had already reset my focus on the Candy Cane Cup. Sure, it wasn’t international, but it was still ski racing, and at the end of the day as long as I can race I am happy!”
While Williams finished the weekend happy, so too did her Ravens teammates.
In the men’s 15km Classic Devon Pegrum finished 11th, with Ogen Newcomb and Isaac Fortin finishing 13th and 15th.
In the women’s 10km Williams was joined in the top 10 by fellow Raven Katherine Mason, while sister Mallory Williams finished 20 seconds back of 10th with a twelfth place finish.
In the men’s sprint, Colin Ward was the lone Raven to crack the time, finishing with a time of 2:56.02. Pegrum would also see his day end in the quarter-finals with a final time of 3:01.26.
It was Bronwyn once again leading the Ravens in the women’s sprint, finishing in a time of 2:58.02 with Katherine Mason just back in fifth with a time of 3:04.68. Maggie McClure and Mallory Williams both impressed as well, reaching the semi-finals with times of 3:12.41 and 3:16.61 for eleventh and twelfth overall.