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Black Jack skiers excel on national stages

Drolet wins first US national title for Harvard; Heale, Locke impress at Canadian nationals
Black Jack skier Adam Heale topped the podium in the 7.5-km race at the 2023 Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals. Photo: Dave Wood

It was a good week for Black Jack skiers across North America.

Rossland cross-country skier Remi Drolet made skiing history for Harvard University, winning the 20-km Classic mass start at the NCAA National Nordic Ski championship in Lake Placid, NY on Saturday, March 11.

Drolet was the first Harvard skier to ever win an NCAA national skiing championship and also the first to be named an All American the day before. Drolet also finished seventh in the 10-km skate race on March 9.

Not to be outdone, U18 Black Jack skier Adam Heale is the U18 aggregate champion at the at the 2023 Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay. Heale finished first in the 7.5-km classic on March 10, and finished third Thursday March 16 in 15 km classic. Heale also just missed the podium in the 1 km free sprint with a fourth place finish and teamed up with his brother Alex for a fourth place in the Team race on Wednesday.

Veteran Black Jack skier Julien Locke captured a silver in the 1.3-km free sprint and raced to another second place finish in Sr. Mens 900-m mass start on March 13.

In the 20-k classic at the NCAA nationals, Remy and two other skiers pulled away from the pack by attacking the hills every lap. Drolet trailed Dartmouth’s John Steel Hagenbuck for much of the race, but made up ground as the raced progressed. Drolet, a Canadian National Team member, overtook Hagenbuck and beat him down the straight and at the finish by 4.7 seconds.

“I tried to be aggressive throughout the race, and us top three eastern guys were able to pull away from the pack by pushing the uphill fairly hard every lap. I think I just really wanted it,” Drolet wrote in post-race comments. “I wasn’t sure I had it in me going into the race, but I was able to dig deep.”

Harvard coach, Chris City, said that Drolet gave Harvard a boost just with his confidence.

“(Remi) is such a strong classic skier and it’s a course that really asks a lot in terms of striding,” said City. “His seventh place - first All-American for our program - gave us a feeling that Remi was in a good place to compete in a classic.”

“It was one of the most exciting collegiate races I’ve seen,” added City.

Black Jack skier Jasmine Drolet also finished a respectable eighth in the 20-k race and 21st in the 5-k at the NCAA nationals. Jasmine skis for Dartmouth University.

Read: Black Jack skier heading to Winter Olympics

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Jim Bailey

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