Junior Nationals Classic Races

FasterSkierMarch 11, 2004

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

— The world-class network of ski trails at the Verizon Sports Complex
were on display Wednesday in Lake Placid as the venue hosted the Classic
technique races, presented by Graymont Materials, in the Chevy Truck
Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.

The contests were
held at distances of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), 10K and 15K in spring-like

On Tuesday’s training
day, race organizers brought in an additional 150 truckloads of snow
with the help of town and village crews. Staff from the Olympic Regional
Development Authority (ORDA) worked well into the night grooming and
track-setting. The course set up during the overnight period, but softened
throughout the morning as the mercury approached 40 degrees in partly
sunny conditions.

In a field of nearly
400, the combination of conditioning and wax selection brought the best
skiers to the surface.

Kevin Cutts of Townshend,
Vt. won the 5K men’s junior 2 competition in 14 minutes, 33.4 seconds.
Cutts turned the contest into a sprint.

“When I hit that
first big hill, I felt lousy,” said Cutts. “But I pushed. I had a good
adrenaline rush. One of my coaches told me I wasn’t pushing it enough,
so I just put the hammer down. After being 12th last year, this was
insane. Everything’s fallen into place and I’m super psyched to race
in Lake Placid. The place has a great vibe.”

Cutts attends the
Putney School and prepared himself to peak for this event. “The race
was awesome and the wax was perfect. I don’t know what they put on the
skis but it was perfect. At every split, I was either first or tied
for first.”

For Michigan Tech
University racer Kristina Owen, her best performance came at the end
of her Junior Olympic career. After five previous efforts, Owen, of
Wenatchee, Wash., scored an individual medal on her sixth and final
try. And it was gold in the women’s open junior 10K race.

“I love this course,”
said the winner who was timed in 33:35.3. “The hills are cool even though
I’m bad on downhills. A friend of mine who is an alpine skier is going
to teach me tomorrow on downhills.”

As was the story
all day, ski preparation was crucial. In Owen’s case, the final decision
on wax selection came as late as possible. “Good wax helped,” continued
Owen, who also runs cross country at Michigan Tech. “Some teams iced
up. I was concerned with the conditions before the event. I only got
my skis 20 minutes before the race.” And now that it’s over?

“I’m going to watch
TV tonight and eat Snickers,” smiled Owen.

Other Classic highlights
saw Ida Sargent of Barton, Vt. take her second gold medal in as many
days. Sargent took Wednesday’s women’s junior 2 race after capturing
the Sprint on Monday.

New York Ski Educational
Foundation skiers Sophie and Megan McClelland of Lake Placid placed
fifth and sixth, respectively, behind Sargent.

Annelies Cook of
Saranac Lake, N.Y., a member of the U.S. Biathlon Team, placed fifth
behind Owen.

Athletes will return
to the Verizon Sports Complex Thursday for a day of official training
leading to Friday’s Free Technique events, presented by I LOVE NY. Distances
are set for 5K and 10K. Start time is 9 AM.

For complete results,
please log on to www.summit-systems-timers.com/lake_placid_jos.

<Race Photos Here.

Source: ORDA


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