Bock battles illness at ski nationals

A bad cold hampered the performance of Kirsty Bock at the Haywood 2011 Ski Nationals.

A bad cold hampered the performance of Kirsty Bock at the Haywood 2011 Ski Nationals.

108 Mile resident Kirsty Bock joined Canada’s top cross-country skiers as a Team BC member and competed at the Haywood 2011 Ski Nationals in Canmore, Alta., March 11-19.

The 17-year-old was expected to be a front-runner in the Junior Girls division, but her performance was hindered by a cold that worsened with each day of competition.

Her best result came in the 10-kilometre Classic event, where after a strong first lap, she held ninth position, but then lost ground to finish 12th overall in the field of 54.

Going into the one-km Classic Sprint as the Canadian Western Junior Sprint champion, Bock was favoured to finish near the top, but she only made it as far as the quarter-final and placed 16th overall.

Her ability to perform was at its lowest for the 7.5-km Free event during which she was forced to stop twice just to catch her breath and finished 31st. In the five-km Free event, Bock ended up in 20th place.

Coach Neil Manhard says there is no question Bock would have posted better results all around if she had been healthy.

“The whole week she was snuffling and trying to hide her cold, but you can’t race at that level if you are down at all.

“She is an extremely talented young lady and she went out of her way to do everything right this year to compete. It was just the luck of the draw that she got sick.”

Manhard says this year has been a challenge for Bock because as the only local person of her age skiing at that level, she’s had to train by herself, which is very difficult.

Regardless, hard work and determination helped her make a tremendous jump this year on the Canadian points list, Manhard says, adding he can’t say enough good things about his young skier.

“She is an amazing person. She has everything together.”