Nishikawa, Killick golden in season finale at Ski Nationals


Emily Nishikawa and Graeme Killick prevailed in the cross-country ski marathon in the season finale at the Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alta.

Nishikawa captured her third gold medal of the week for the second straight year after winning the women's 30-kilometre skate-ski race.

The 2014 Olympian clocked-in a time of one hour 21 minutes and 50 seconds.

"I had three good races this week. It was a tough end to the season, but nice to finish on a positive note here. It is incredible to win all three," Nishikawa said.

"The 30-kilometre is the hardest race all week. It is so tough. It is such a sense of accomplishment just to cross the line let alone to win, so it feels amazing."

Nishikawa sets pace

Nishikawa set the pace with three-time Olympic biathlete, Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta.,until the final three kilometres where the young gun created some separation.

"Zina was really strong and we were taking turns leading and pushing each other," said Nishikawa. "Canmore is one of the toughest places to race. The hills are relentless and it suits my skiing. I attacked on the wall of the last lap, which is the toughest part of the course. I was trying to save some energy before that. I just went for it, and didn't look back."

Nishikawa opened a 47 second lead on Kocher who took home the silver medal at 1:22:37.52. Quebec's Frederique Vezina won the bronze medal at 1:24:19.83.

Killick prevails on men's side

Meanwhile, Graeme Killick of Fort McMurray, Alta., won the first men's 50-kilometre skate-ski distance race of his career with a time of 1:56:40.21.

The 28-year-old prevailed in a battle to the finish line edging out Andy Shields by 0.22 seconds.

"I've always wanted the 50-kilometre title so it was really special to be able to do it today here in Canmore," said Killick, who finished second to Alex Harvey in the long distance race at last year's Ski Nationals.

"I definitely had some trouble out there. The body was really tired from the last quarter of the season, but I was really happy to be able to have a little sprint left for the finish. It was a great atmosphere with so many people cheering. I think the domestic World Cups have brought a lot of attention to the sport, and it's really exciting to see a level of engagement that will propel the next generation of Canadian skiers."

Michael Somppi, of Thunder Bay, Ont., won the bronze medal finishing six seconds behind Killick.

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