The NCO U16 team had another successful season. Pre-season training saw some athletes travelling to optional camps in Chile and Austria, with the entire 12-person team (6 women, 6 men) coming together to attend a two-week camp in Nakiska, AB in November for some great pre-season training.
Regionally throughout the season, NCO athletes battled for podium positions through 10 races (SL, GS, SG and Alpine Combined). Although there was no clear dominance for the top spot, Julia Gilmour finished the year with top regional points for the Ladies and Jesse Holland was the top points winner for the Men.
Nationals were held for the first time in several years at the U16 level in Thunder Bay in Feb 21-15, 2017. Several NCO athletes attended including Felix Boivin and Eric Guimont representing Ski Québec and James Elmgren, Keirsten Harvey, Jesse Holland , Kobe Villeneuve and Spencer Watson representing Alpine Ontario. Athletes had a busy week competing in a 2-run SG, Alpine Combined, GS, SL and Team Dual Slalom events. NCO athletes had two top-ten results: Eric Guimont placed 10th in the GS event and Jesse Holland was 8th in Slalom.
The next major competitions to take place were Provincials. The team split with athletes competing at the Québec provincials held at Mont Ste Marie from Mar 6-10. The format for these provincials saw athletes competing in a SG, two GS and two SL events. With home region (and in some cases home hill) advantage, NCO athletes had several top ten results. These included Eric Guimont taking the Provincial title for SG. Eric also had 3rd and 6th place finishes in GS. Felix Boivin had two 8th place finishes, one in SG and one in GS. On the Ladies side, first year Hayley Conrad had a strong week with two 9th place finishes, one each in SL and GS.
Ontario athletes travelled to Sault Ste Marie where provincials were held at Searchmont from Mar 10-13. Ontario changed the format of their provincial this year where competition included one race in SG, GS and SL and the on the final day an Individual Dual Slalom was held. Unfortunately, not all NCO Ontario athletes were able to attend. Nicholas Labrecque and Spencer Watson suffered earlier injuries and although on the mend were unable to compete. Jesse Holland was also absent due to illness. Top ten finishes included Kobe Villeneuve who claimed the Provincial title in the Individual Dual event and was also 3rd place in GS. Keirsten Harvey made it an NCO sweep in the Individual Dual event as she also took the Provincial Champion title. James Elmgren had a strong showing as well with a 6th place finish in SL.
From provincials, qualified athletes attended the U16 CANAM competition held this year in Attitash, NH from Mar 21-23. Representing Ski Québec were NCO athletes Felix Boivin, Hayley Conrad, and Eric Guimont. Representing Alpine Ontario were NCO athletes James Elmgren, Jesse Holland, and Kobe Villeneuve. Windy conditions made for a challenging week and forced both a one-run GS and the SL events to be held on the same day. A SG was held prior. Top ten results at this event were achieved by Felix Boivin who placed 2nd in GS and Eric Guimont placing 3rd in GS and 4th in SG. These finishes earned Eric a spot on Team Canada and Felix a spot on Team Québec at the Whistler Cup held April 13-16.
To wrap the year, both OSZ and NCD held their annual awards during banquets held in April and May. OSZ awards received by NCO athletes were as follows:
OSZ Top Athletes - U16 Women:
1st Julia Gilmour
2nd Hayley Conrad
4th Mallory Kerr
OSZ Top Athletes - U16 Men:
1st Eric Guimont
2nd Felix Boivin
Most Improved – Julia Gilmour
Most Outstanding – Hayley Conrad, Eric Guimont
NCD awards received by NCO athletes were as follows:
NCD Top Athletes – U16 Women
1st – Keirsten Harvey
3rd – Spencer Watson
NCD Top Athletes – U16 Men
1st – Jesse Holland
2nd – James Elmgren
3rd – Kobe Villeneuve