Daley Merrigan helps Western to boys’ cross-country skiing relay gold
Daley Merrigan might be half the size of his fellow cross-country skiers at this week’s Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Clarenville, but on Monday morning he was twice as good as much of the competition.
Western’s Daley Merrigan (front) is tagged in by teammate Brandon Sinnicks in the boys’ 4x2.5km cross-country skiing relay at the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games on Monday. — Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram
The pint-sized 11-year-old from Corner Brook was instrumental in helping the Western team collect a gold medal in the boys’ 4x2.5 relay, blazing through the White Hills Ski Resort course and giving his team a two minute and 55 seconds lead heading into teammate John St. Croix’ final leg.
“I felt really good about it,” beamed Merrigan. “It was a really fun race.”
Other members of the Western team are Colin Fowlow and Brandon Sinnicks.
Given his pedigree and the fact he’s been on skis since he was a toddler, it should come as no surprise that Merrigan is a strong skier.
“My parents have always been big cross-country skiers,” he says. “My dad is one of the fastest people in the province right now and they were both former provincial sprint champions.”
His father is Western region coach James Merrigan, who turned in the fastest time in free skate style (32:27) at the provincial championships last month at the Mount St. Margeret’s Ski Club in Plum Point.
“Daley is a very strong skier, but it’s just because he really loves to ski,” James says of his son.
“Other people train, Daley just goes out to ski as fast as he can for as long as he can because he loves it.
Daley finished 12th in a field of 24 in Sunday’s 1km sprint as Fowlow won gold, but James says he came back Monday with one goal in mind.
“Daley skied, even by his standards, way above his age and he really wanted to try and get a medal after seeing Colin (Fowlow) win one yesterday.
“He killed himself out there and really earned it.”
The Merrigans had added reason to celebrate not long after Daley’s big win when his older sister Jamie raced the first leg of the Western girls’ gold medal-winning relay.
“We’re hoping to have a family medal breakfast tomorrow,” says James.