Two local cross-country skiers have made the National Ski Team.
Black Jack skiers Julien Locke and Rémi Drolet both made the team — Locke taking a spot on the Senior Team for a second-consecutive year and Drolet is taking a spot on the Junior Team for the first time.
Locke had a solid season this year, finishing first overall in the season-long Buff Spring Series, first in the Korea National Championships 10 km classic and the classic sprint and 20th in the World Cup Finals skate spring event.
“It was an exciting season. I raced my first World Cup, so that was in … Korea and then I also raced the World Cup Final in Quebec and I had my best result in my career so far,” said Locke.
Next year, his main goal is to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.
“To do that I’m going to aim to go to the World Cup in the first period of the year, so that’s mid-November and then aim for some good international results to qualify for the Olympics,” said Locke. “It’s definitely an exciting season coming up. It’s a high-pressure season, but I like that.”
Locke had a chance to ski the same courses that will be used during the Olympics while he was in Korea this past season.
“It was really awesome to have an opportunity to race those courses and train on the courses and get prepared for the Olympics,” he said.
Locke will be training with Black Jack coach Dave Wood and participating in National Ski Team training camps over the summer, as will Drolet.
The younger skiers big win of the season was placing first in the 10-kilometer classic race at US Nationals that allowed him to qualify for the World Junior Team this year as well.
For next season, Drolet’s goal is to go to World Juniors again and do well at the Canadian Nationals.
Locke is happy to Drolet on the National Ski Team alongside him.
“It’s great to have two Black Jack athletes as part of the National Team program,” said Locke. “I think it’s a testament to our program’s success.”
“The Black Jack program is excellent and Dave Wood is such a great coach, because he’s got so much experience,” he said.
Drolet wanted to thank everyone who helped him get to the National Team — his parents, sponsors, coach and teammates.