Canadians Ritchie and MacIsaac-Jones earn top-20 skate-ski sprint results

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ULRICEHAMN, Sweden — Canadians Graham Ritchie and Maya MacIsaac-Jones raced to the first top-20 results of their careers in a World Cup skate-ski sprint race on Saturday.

Ritchie, from Parry Sound, Ont., was 17th in the men’s sprint, while MacIsaac-Jones was 18th in the women’s event.

The 22-year-old Ritchie had the ninth fastest qualifying time on the 1.5-kilometre course to book his first ever spot in the head-to-head heats.

"I'm definitely proud of that qualifier. Not only was it a personal best but it was great to have that Canadian flag in the top-10 on the results sheet," said Ritchie, who'll race in the Under-23 world championships next week in Finland.

"I'm pretty excited with the performance today. It was so much fun to race my first World Cup heats."

Sweden’s Oskar Svensson won the men’s sprint final.

MacIsaac-Jones, a 25-year-old from Athabasca, Alta., was 24th in qualifying to earn her third career spot in the heats.

"It felt great to be in the mix and fighting to win," MacIsaac-Jones said.

Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist won the women's race.

The team sprint races are Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press