Fast and Female

Marie Claire flying high


The magnificent 4. 4 Parry Sound High school skiers with a great story.

PSHS Nordic at GB in HardwoodPSHS Nordic at GB in Hardwood

The entire team. But this story is about the Senior girls. 4 of them.

Its about the Relay race at GB, the qualifier for Ofsaa. 

Mr Poole is their coach. I am merely passing along a story I had asked them to tell the world. It was like I was there. Looking forward to see them in training over the summer.

February 20, Hardwood Hills.

GB is a long race day. Each skier does an interval start distance race in the morning, followed by an 800m sprint in a relay format in the afternoon. 4 x800m Relays that is. GB is the qualifier event for Ofsaa, it decides who goes to Ofsaa, teams or individuals. It is racing under pressure.

The relay starting line up for the senior girls: Sasha Istvan starting, followed by Lauren Nawroth, then Lindsay Raymond, to be anchored by Kate Beirnes.

What is required is a solid warmup for the distance race, plus having a good race plan executed. Then recover just enough to be ready for high speed and adversity, get warmed up once more for “the team” relays. Talk about pressure.

So what is interesting is that each skier's story includes her take on how the distance race goes. It really is priority for most of them. But then something big happens, bigger than skiing itself. Much bigger, as they realize they can pull off something big, if they could just ski faster than ever before, not mess up, tag properly, ya, really not let anyone down.

Here is Sasha's story.


Hi Peter

Thursday was an awesome race day.  To start off conditions were incredible.  My skis felt fast and it wasn't boiling or freezing cold.  The pre-ski went well.  We did actually ski the correct course which was nice.  

My warm up went much better.  I actually got out on time and felt I did a decent warm up.  I did a ladder of the zone and then some speed bursts.  As I was standing on the start line I felt quite nervous but as soon as I got away from the crowds and into the forest I was ready to race my own race.  I was extremely happy with how I skied technically.  I felt strong going up every hill and I thought I did a very good job of pushing over the hills.  That was my main goal.  To push over the crest of the hill.  There were some flat sections where I probably could have been pushing a little harder.  But I was doing my best two-skate and I was proud of that.  When  I crossed the finish line I knew I had raced a great race.  There was very little I could have done better.  

When I found out that I placed 8th I was very very happy.  As I cooled down I was feeling pretty good going into the relay.  

I didn't really know how to warm up for the relay so I just skied around a bit and did some speed burst.  I was starting for our team and I felt pretty good about that.  When we were lined up on the start line I was seeded first.  This was nice to know heading into the relay.  The relay was very exciting.  I again felt I skied my best and it was definitely good to have the other skiers pushing me.  I held the position of first place for my entire leg of the relay.  As I tagged off to Lauren she had a lead on the other skiers.  This was all great.  But as I made my way out of the exchange zone I had a breakdown.  During the relay I went outside of the course for a little bit.  I was terrified of the possibility that I disqualified our team.  When Kate came over the finish line first I was very nervous that our victory would be taken from us.  I didn't find out till awards that we were okay and did win.  This was probably the best thing I heard all day.  This made the day, I will always remember when the senior girls won everything.  

It was a great day.


Peter: Lauren is on a comeback mission. An entire year out with an injury. A year is an eternity for a young person. Dealing with doctors, physiotherapists, no sports, still working. But heck, she took it all in strides, farm girl. Life goes on, and her comeback came with a blast.

Hey Lauren, 

Kate tells me you held up the lead or close to it. So I understand Sasha came in for the first exchange in first place, then something much bigger happens to this magnificent 4!

I am super curious how the hell you stayed in front. This is war like racing. That is tremendous pressure, requires fast skiing and no giving in to those negative voices. Priceless stuff.

Tell me your thoughts during the 800m, can't wait.


Lauren waiting for Sasha Lauren waiting for Sasha

hey peter,

First off - I had one of the best races of my life thus far. I felt really strong going up the hills in Racers out, then i was able to keep the momentum throughout the course. I two skated in a lot of the flat parts; I find its faster and more effective than one skate in the flats, I can't seem to get the right cadence for one skate to not slow me down. I felt technically I was able to get past the fact that my legs were killing from all of the hills. Coming into the finish I felt really strong and powerful crossing the line.

Lauren skiing like never before.Lauren skiing like never before.

The relay; I was tired from the individual race still and then got nervous approaching the relay. Warming up I was afraid I wouldn't be able go fast enough, that i would slow the team down. But Sasha wasn't much ahead of the collingwood girl coming into the exchange zone so i knew I had to giver. I was the second leg in the relay. After almost skiing out of the exchange zone without a tag, I knew it was go time. I one skated up the whole hill, (proud moment #1) then continued to build speed and a lead between me and the girls behind me. In the flats I two skated. I felt really strong and powerful and with every stride i felt like i was gaining ground. Coming up to the hill before the exchange zone, I didn't know how strong i was going to be able to be. Getting to the hill I one skated up most of it then did quick and light offset to the top. When approaching the top, I looked up and only saw Lindsay in the start of the exchange zone. I knew I had done my job and got us a good lead so that Lindsay could take it and ski like hell. I was so happy. It was definitely one of my best days skiing ever. 




Lindsay is the most intense female skier around.Lindsay is the most intense female skier around.

It was amazing. Those 3 girls push me to experience a new level in my racing and training every single day, on and off the trails. Like you said the magnificent 4. Sasha started us off great, the rest of us had no choice but to try and top that, this was also after an extraordinary independent race for all of us. None of us out shined each other on the podium, definitely wouldn't have been the same out come with out them, or the rest of the team/ coaching/ you. I think I actually woke up the next morning still smiling. 


Kate's story.

Kate, the Rock, the anchor. The biggest fan of her team. Kate, the Rock, the anchor. The biggest fan of her team.

GB's was a really fun day. The distance race went really well. I wasn't too sure what to expect because it was a difficult course, but I was able to push up all the hills and recover easily on the flats and downhills. Sasha also started 15 sec behind and that reallllllly helped push me. I found myself pushing harder at parts that I might not normally just because I thought she was right behind me. The conditions were also great so that was nice. I just had a really positive mindset before this race and was super excited and that always helps me. I did a good warmup and timing and everything just clicked. At the end of the race I knew I had gave it my all. 

For the relays, the order was Sasha 1st, Lauren 2nd, Lindsay 3rd and myself 4th. We were all really nervous because we thought top 2 made it to OFSAA (which it may be more because GBs is hosting OFSAA but I don't know) and Collingwood and Huntsville were our competition. But Sasha had a great sprint keeping us in first and Lauren and Lindsay just created a bigger lead. Heidi Orhling was anchor for the Collingwood team, and even though we had a good lead I figured she would catch me. I went all out in the race but I was still thinking that even if Heidi passed me, we would make it to to OFSAA. But about halfway through the sprint, I realized we could win the relay and that's when I really pushed hard. And we won and it was wonderful and fun. I've skied with these girls for many years now and it was so great to experience this with them. 

It was such a great day and I am super excited for OFSAA! I hope Lindsay gets better though. I think with her we'd have a good chance at doing well as a relay team. 

Thanks for listening to me ramble haha



Kate has taught her team how to "take it". Kate has taught her team how to "take it".


The end of this story is about reality. Lindsay got seriously injured right after GB, it was devastating for her. She did not want to tell anyone, she was in denial, all the stuff athletes do when crap hits the fan. Her team mates would not understand, she was worried she had messed up their shot at doing well at Ofsaa. So these girls kept this inside for a while....

It was people around them who wanted to know what?

Turns out Lindsay was not able to ski for the rest of the winter. Serious knee injury. 

Lindsay did not want to watch that relay at Ofsaa, without her being part of it. That would be just too much, it would be very hard for her, but she did come. They embraced Gracie who had to fill in for Lindsay. Lindsay had a few hard moments that day at Ofsaa, but her team mates never let her down. They were there for her when she needed them most. Lindsay never really let them down. She knows that now.

Its great to watch how our young skiers deal with a difficult time like this.

Let's make sure we support them in every which way we can. We cannot protect them from adversity, but we can get them to deal with it in style. They sure showed me how classy they are! High 5 girls. 

Thank you

Peter Wiltmann


The magnificent 4 at Ofsaa in Duntroon. Left to right: Sasha, Lindsay, Kate, and Lauren.The magnificent 4 at Ofsaa in Duntroon. Left to right: Sasha, Lindsay, Kate, and Lauren.