Bock earns spot on cross-country BC Ski Team

Kirsty Bock

Kirsty Bock

Following successes at recent British Columbia cross-country ski races, Kirsty Bock, 17, of the 100 Mile Nordics Club has earned one of only 10 berths available on the BC Ski Team.

The team will compete at the 2011 Canadian National Championships on March 12-20 in Canmore, Alta.

It’s no small accomplishment, says Georgia Manhard, a Cross Country BC director and selection committee member.

“This is a very select team. It’s a small team and it’s hard to get on the BC Team any time. This is a big step.”

Bock competed at nationals last year on the BC “C” Team, but this year’s placement is much more prestigious.

“I’m really happy because it’s been one of my goals for this year,” she says.

Bock is coached by Neil Manhard and trains as many as 14 hours a week. That’s in addition to keeping up her honour roll worthy grades at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School.

An average workout can include a two-hour ski, which she does at the Nordics 99 Mile ski trails.

“I can have really long days, training after school. I’m the only one from the club my age who races, so it can be hard to stay motivated sometimes.

“It’s a really, really hard commitment and I wonder where it will take me sometimes, and if it will be worth it. You can’t be a university student and elite athlete at the same time.”

BC Cup No. 2 was the main qualifying event for selection to the BC Ski Team and one of three in the series she attended.

Nordics Club member Tracy Moore was also successful in all three of the events.

BC Cup No. 1, held Jan. 15-16 in Prince George, saw Moore nail the five-kilometre course for a second-place finish in the free style master women’s 40-45 years event. In the 7.5-km classic event, she also placed second.

Bock put in a solid performance for ninth place in the junior girls five-km classic.

Kelowna hosted the combined Haywood NorAm, Western Championships and BC Cup No. 2 on Feb. 4-6, with more than 500 skiers registered, including Olympians George Grey, Chandra Crawford and Brian McKeever.

In the 1,300-metre sprint, Bock led in the time trial and two heats before taking the gold medal in the final.

Moore had to switch to the senior women’s class for that race, where she found herself up against Crawford and other national-level skiers. She placed in 23rd position.

Back in the masters division, Moore found her form to take third place in the 2.7-km classic race and fourth in the 10 km free pursuit.

Bock landed an eighth place finish in the five-km free technique and ninth in the 2.7-km classic. She also won the third place aggregate award for the three-day event.

Another Nordics member Camille Barton took third place in atom girls one-km classic.

The BC Cup cross-country ski series came to an end with the championships Feb. 19-20 at Stave Lake near Kamloops.

In the junior girls 7.5-km free technique event, Bock placed seventh and Moore finished fifth in the 10-km event.

Both skiers teamed up with Lauren Bock, Kirsty’s mother, to take sixth place in the senior women’s three-by-five-km classic relay.

They competed under the team name of Neil’s Angels, against 15 other teams.