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Cross Country – SEEFELD, Aut.—A group of young Canadian women took another step forward in their continued development into elite skiers with a 12th-place finish in the 4×5 kilometre relay on Thursday in Seefeld, Austria.

Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.), Emily Nishikawa (Whitehorse), Cendrine Browne (Saint-Jérôme, Que.), and Dahria Beatty (Whitehorse) joined forces to post a combined time of 1:00:23.7.

Canada’s 23-year-old Stewart-Jones skied the opening leg where she kept pace with the sport’s elite through the first of two trips around the 2.5-kilometre course before tagging off to Nishikawa.

“I just wanted to stay with the front pack for as long as I possibly could,” said Stewart-Jones. “The first lap I was able to stay pretty relaxed by being aggressive and avoiding unnecessary passes. My skis were super-fast, which helped me stay in touch on the flatter sections.”

With the pace increasing to a new level by the frontrunners, Stewart-Jones began drifting back in the pack in her final lap.

“The last lap, the top girls started pushing the pace, but I just put my head down and dug deep with the thought of tagging Emily in the best position possible,” added Stewart-Jones.

Nishikawa, who has been enjoying a solid season regularly placing in the elite group of 30 in individual races, grabbed one spot for the Canucks into eighth before handing off to her Olympic teammate, Browne, who took the third leg.

Browne passed the torch off to Dahria Beatty in 14th spot for the anchor leg. Skiing alone for much of her leg, Beatty completed her five-kilometre test just 15 seconds behind Olympic medallist, Jessica Diggins. Beatty’s strong effort guaranteed the Canadians 12th place.

Sweden won the team relay event with a time of 55:21.0. Norway was second at 55:24.1, while Russia locked up third spot on the podium at 57:24.8.

Complete Results:

The World Nordic Ski Championships continue on Friday with the men’s 4×10-kilometre team relay. Canadians on the line will be Alex Harvey, Evan Palmer-Charrette, Scott Hill and Len Valjas.

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Chris Dornan                                                       

Media and Public Relations

Cross Country Ski de fond Canada

T: 403-620-8731