Three from little club off to University Games

Mount Washington might not be open yet, but there are three members of the Strathcona Nordics team heading to Italy.

Andrea Lee is set to participate in the University Games this week.

Tyson Taylor

Mount Washington might not be open yet, but there are three members of the Strathcona Nordics team that will be making an appearance at the World University Games in Trentino, Italy, Dec. 11–18.

Athlete Andrea Lee is one of six female racers selected to represent Canada at the University Games. Additionally, Strathcona Nordics head coach Dave Battison has been named by Cross Country Canada as the head coach for the national university team.

Rounding out the trio is Len Apedaile, president of the Nordics, who’s been appointed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) as technical delegate for the cross-country ski race events.

Lee, who now attends the University of New Mexico and graduated in 2008 from GP Vanier in Courtenay, is excited about racing in the games and being reunited with her former coach Battison.

“When I found out that Dave is coming on the trip, I was pretty excited to say the least. I’ve really missed working with him over the past few years that I’ve been out in Ontario,” she said.

“I’ve always had the utmost confidence in Dave’s coaching and waxing ability, so it is reassuring to know that our team is going to be very well taken care of over in Italy. It’s very cool that Len will be there too.”

Battison said, “I’m thrilled to be coaching Andrea again. We have such a good rapport, and she’s competing at a level where she could be top 10 or be a medalist on the world stage. This is great opportunity for her to shine.”

Apedaile has become a seasoned race official over the years, gradually working his way up to become a level five cross-country ski race official and a licensed FIS and IPC technical delegate.

Apedaile regularly officiates at national and international level FIS and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) cross-country events. Apedaile has been the chief of race for cross-country events at several IPC world cups and the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.

In 2014, Lee will oversee the cross-country events at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.

“It’s pretty exciting that three people are going from our little club on the island,” Battison said. “We are competitive with the super clubs (who have 1,600 members). It’s exceptional. This event is second only to Olympic Games in terms of size and numbers; it’s bigger than Pan-American Games.”

Lee also attended Vancouver Island University in 2008 and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, 2010–13. It was at Lakehead that she was named the Freshman Female Athlete of the Year in 2011 and earned the Female Athlete of the Year award in 2012-13. She recently transferred to the University of New Mexico for a change in scenery and the chance to be part of a competitive ski team.

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