Kimberley’s Molly Miller left the Haywood Cross Country Ski Nationals in Whitehorse with a handful of gold medals as well as another Sofie Manarin Award as the best Juvenile Girls Skier in Canada.
Miller, who often races up against competitors older than her, decided not to do that in Whitehorse and proved that she is one of the elite juvenile skiers in the country.
“Molly did really well,” said Nicole Perrin, assistant coach for the Kimberley Nordic team, which sent four racers to Whitehorse.
Along with Miller were Annika and Marielle Ackermann and MacKenzie McLean.
“Molly won three gold medals and the Sofie Manarin award for overall Canadian points for a juvenile girls skier for the year,” Perrin said.
The first day of racing was a team sprint with two skiers each racing three laps of 1km each. Molly Miller and Annika Ackermann teamed up for 14th, while Marielle Ackermann and MacKenzie McLean came 24th. The second day of racing was a 5km Classic race with all four girls placing in the top 35 in their respective categories. The third day of racing brought some cooler weather under sunny skies and a distance skate race. Molly Miller took the win in the Juvenile Girls 5km, with Marielle Ackermann not far behind in 8th place, and MacKenzie McLean in 20th. Annika Ackermann, on a tough and hilly Junior Girls 10km course, came in 32nd. The next two racing days saw Molly pick up two more gold medals, including beating the field by six seconds in the 7.5 K, and Marielle, Annika and McKenzie getting very good results as well.
Perrin says the experience is invaluable for all the skiers.
“It was a great experience for Annika and McKenzie. Marielle raced in Midget so she was racing up against older girls and she did very well.
Perrin is the assistant coach and the head coach is Frank Ackermann. Asked if coaching a noted up and coming national skier like Molly Miller is challenging, Perrin says it can be but Frank Ackermann does a really great job with Molly’s training plans.
“The Kimberley Nordic Club is a good program for her. She has five other girls to push her hard and they are a very tight knit group. Frank makes the training plans and we do occasionally get assistance from other coaches in British Columbia. BC has a very supportive cross country ski community.”
Earlier this year, Miller won two golds at the BC Games and received the W.R. Bennett Award for Athletic Excellence.
The award is given to one outstanding athlete at each BC Winter and BC Summer Games. The award includes a $2500 bursary and is designed to recognize and support the ongoing development of young athletes.
Now that nationals are done, the ski team gets a brief break before they begin summer conditioning and training in May.