The Muskie Nordic ski team steadily improved throughout the season—and just may have saved their best for last.
The four-member contingent that qualified all put in great performances at the OFSAA championships held Thursday and Friday in Duntroon.
Emma Toriseva, Kayli Machura, Tori Toriseva, and Joseph Dueck all finished within the top 100 in their respective races.
“The team had a phenomenal weekend with great results,” enthused Muskie coach Jordan Baird.
“There were a number of personal best performances for the individual athletes,” he noted.
“It was a beautiful day with perfect conditions, about minus-seven [Celsius] and sunny.”
The host venue was the Highlands Nordic, located near Duntroon, and the black-and-gold did its best to show the talent Northwestern Ontario can offer.
Each category was split into “open" and "high school” to separate the club skiers from the high school ones.
Since Fort Frances has no club, all of the Muskie skiers competed in the high school category.
Emma Toriseva had the best showing for Fort High, skiing to a 12th-place finish out of 129 competitors in the high school junior girls' 3.5-km division with a time of 14:58.31.
It also was the best-ever individual finish for the Muskies at the all-Ontarios.
Kayli Machura, meanwhile, also was impressive in winding up 34th spot in the same division (16:06.81).
“This was a best-ever result for our team,” Baird said of Emma Toriseva.
“Kayli Machura also had an excellent race, placing 34th out of 129, far improving on her position from last year,” he added.
Competing in the high school senior girls' six-km race, Tori Toriseva placed 16th in the 118-skier field with a time of 24:57.64.
“Another excellent result and a big improvement from her position last year, as well,” Baird enthused.
And at his first-ever OFSAA appearance, Joseph Dueck wound up 69th out of 130 skiers in the high school senior boys' 7.8-km race with a time of 30:34.30.
“He skied his fastest yet time for the course distance of 7.8 km, just over 30 minutes,” noted Baird.
“All [the] skiers were very happy with their results," he added. ”I, as the coach, was very impressed and pleased.
“The athletes were not only excellent competitors but exemplary representatives of our school throughout the event.”
Baird believes the future of the team is bright, and that the program has come a long way in its short tenure.
“The Nordic ski team at Fort Frances High School is in a growing phase,” he remarked.
“We are only a few years old [but] I am very excited about future prospects for our current and up-and-coming athletes.”
Baird stressed new team members always are welcome.
“It is a phenomenal youth program and a gateway to a lifelong, healthful sport,” he lauded.