/Red Hawks rock OFSAA
The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Nordic ski team competed in the 2023 OFSAA Nordic Skiing Championship at Kawartha Nordic Ski Club in Lakefield on Friday, Feb. 24. The HHSS junior girls team performed very strongly overall, finishing fourth as a team in the individual distance races and fourth in their sprint relay, competing against some schools that field very large teams and ski programs. Violet Humphries and Olivia Humphries both had a podium finish in their individual races in the high school division, finishing 8th and 6th respectively. /Submitted by Karen Gervais

Red Hawks rock OFSAA

Karen Gervais, special to the Times

After once again scrambling to elude the bad weather last week’s winter storm tossed our way, the Red Hawk Nordic Ski team was able  to compete in the provincial OFSAA meet at Lakefield College School Thursday and Friday. The event started with individual races on Thursday, with over 100 skiers in each division. In the Junior Boys 5km race, Haiden Bird put together his best race of the season, finishing 73rd in the high school division.

In Junior Girls, training buddies Hannah Sharp and Teagan Hamilton managed to finish together on the results sheet in 73rd and 74th, despite starting at very different times.  The OFSAA race was conducted through individual starts with a skier leaving the line every 15 seconds. 

Grace Allder cracked the top half of the standings in 46th. Olivia Gruppe flew around the course, taking home 26th, Erika Hoare and Ella Gervais took home 12th and 15th respectively, and Violet Humphries had a podium finish in  8th,  taking home Hal High’s first ribbon of the event.  With their combined total as a team in the individual races, , the junior girls finished the day in 4th, a big accomplishment as there is no division between club and high school skiers when it comes to teams. 

In the Senior Girls 7.5k race, Olivia Humphries put down the team’s best race of the day, making the podium in 6th in the high school senior girls division. Olivia also finished more than a minute ahead of friendly rival COSSA club skier Reese Shufelt, whom Humphries had been trailing by a hair in every race this season.   

The 4x900m sprint relays took place in  frigid conditions on Friday morning. The relay team of Olivia Gruppe, Ella Gervais, Erika Hoare and Violet Humphries finished 2nd in their semi-final heat, with the 4th fastest time of the morning to qualify for the afternoon final. The girls took a few hours of rest and then came out on fire for the sprint relay final, cutting over a minute off of their time from the morning. Their training at Glebe served them well as they all made up ground on their competitors in the final steep climb at the end of their lap.  While they were able to significantly close the gap on the third place Huntsville team, it wasn’t enough to catch them. The girls ended up finishing 4th in the relay, also significantly widening the gap between them and 5th place Lo Ellen Park Knights from Sudbury.  

A special mention to Hannah Sharp who skied a blistering exhibition 900m sprint race, winning her heat decisively and finishing midway in the rankings including both high school and club skiers. 

Coaches Mike Rieger and Karen Gervais are super proud of the amazing accomplishments of our skiers this season and are already looking forward to next year and hoping to have even more athletes join this powerhouse crew!