JuniorsRacingSuper JOQ At Soldier Hollow

FasterSkier FasterSkierFebruary 7, 2006

Over 500 junior Nordic skiers compete in the Junior Olympic Qualifiers at Soldier Hollow

Wearing tattered Carhartt overalls, a cowboy hat and skate skis, Jed Lehman from Cody, Wyoming watched as wave after wave of younger, lycra clad competitive-class skiers flew by. “It is just amazing how fast and how well some of these little folks ski,” he exclaimed. A novice-class skier new to skate skiing and competing, Jed shared his gusto for the sport as he cheered and encouraged the skiers working hard to crest Horseshoe Hill. He talked about how great it is to be on the Cody High School ski team with such good friends, and about how he loves this sport!

Jed was one of over 500 junior skiers who enjoyed two superb days of competing, meeting new friends, and basking in the energy of the Junior Olympic Qualifiers at Soldier Hollow. Held January 27th and 28th, 2006, these races were organized by The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) and Soldier Hollow. The nearly 75 volunteers made these events run seamlessly and, as always, Soldier Hollow provided a premier experience for racers, spectators, and support crews. Summit Systems Timers made determination of both personal and overall victories possible.

Competitors, ranging in age from seven to 19 years, traveled from 10 states representing four ski divisions. The divisions represented were: Intermountain (Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington), Rocky Mountain (Colorado) and Far West (California, Nevada, and Arizona). Top competitors in the older age classes were competing to qualify for the 2006 Junior Olympics this March in Michigan’s famed Upper Peninsula. For most, perhaps, the triumph was in the adventure, camaraderie, and fun.

On Friday, the skate technique sprints were held in steady snow and stable, warm temps. The course was fast and waxing must have been fairly simple, as most competitors appeared to have equally fast skis. Even with 500 skiers churning through the course, in nearly 40 heats, conditions were firm and fair for the finals. The overall top three included:

Boys 16-19: Charlie Smith (OR), Luke Pletcher (ID), Colin Struthers (CO)
Girls 16-19: Mellie Park (MT), Sarah MacCarthy (CO), Mali Noyes (ID)
Boys 14-15: Erik Bjornsen (WA), Scott Lacy (CO), Thomas Sawyer (CO)
Girls 14-15: Gretchen Sellegren (MT), Casey Kutz (WA), Katherine Ingalls (CO)
Boys 12-13: Charlie Fereday (ID), Akeo Maifeld-Carucci (MT), Spencer Lacy (CO)
Girls 12-13: Alicia Rose Pastore (CO), Elena Breed (CO), Hannah Madden (CO)
Boys 10-11: Gino Pastore (CO), Max Scrimgeour (CO), Nathan Hausman (CO)
Girls 10-11: Tanya Petach (CO), Lucy Newman (CO), Stephanie Ogier (CO)
Boys 8-9: Cully Brown (CO), Abe Ott (CO), Karsten Hokanson (UT)
Girls 8-9: Olivia Rose (CO), Sophie McDonald (UT), Hannah Bruns (UT)
Boys 1-7: Noah Putt (UT), Max Wilbrecht (WY)
Novice Boys: Ben Gunn (WY), Frazer Tear (WY), Josh Ryan (WY)
Novice Girls: Kerry Molina (ID), Megan Overton (WY), Katie Harris (WY)

Top Utah finishers, and their placing within the Intermountain Division, were: Tyler Scott and Sam Lepley (10th and 11th Boys 16-19); Erin Eppler, Kirsten Stray-Gundersen and Elisa Nord (9th, 10th and 20th Girls 16-19); Andrew Putt, Wilson Dippo and Ben Lepley (2nd, 4th and 8th Boys 14-15); Elizabeth Guiney and Wendy Dunkle (6th and 15th Girls 14-15); Sten Stray-Gundersen, Chris Putt, and Jonathan Bruns (1st, 2nd and 5th Boys 12-13); Maurissa Weight, Andrea Dunkle and Kajsa Vlasic (6th, 7th and 9th Girls 12-13); Garrett Bullough, Kurt Bruns and Kyle Beling (1st, 2nd and 5th Boys 10-11); Tristin Lowe, Madison Kieffer and Dani Poirier (1st, 2nd and 3rd Girls 10-11); Karsten Hokanson, Michael Dunkle and Gunnar Stray-Gundersen (1st, 2nd and 3rd Boys 8-9); Sophie McDonald, Hannah Bruns and Lauren Jackson (1st, 2nd and 3rd Girls 8-9); and Noah Putt (1st Boys 1-7).

A clear, cold night following Friday’s storm, and the perfect diagonal tracks created by Soldier Hollow groomers, made for absolutely flawless conditions for Saturday’s classic technique races. Multiple kick waxes were working and even on the steepest hills most looked to have adequate grip. The overall top three were:

Boys 16-19: Luke Pletcher (ID), Mikey Matteson (ID), Willie Neal (WY)
Girls 16-19: Mali Noyes (ID), Brittney Perkins (CO), Sarah MacCarthy (CO)
Boys 14-15: Scott Lacy (CO), Erik Bjornsen (WA), Thomas Sawyer (CO)
Girls 14-15: Hannah Hausman (CO), Katherine Ingalls (CO), Karlie Moore (CO)
Boys 12-13: Spencer Lacy (CO), Charlie Fereday (ID), Joe Casey (CO)
Girls 12-13: Alicia Rose Pastore (CO), Elena Breed (CO), Jessica Jortberg (CO)
Boys 10-11: Gino Pastore (CO), Max Scrimgeour (CO), Nathan Hausman (CO)
Girls 10-11: Lucy Newman (CO), Tanya Petach (CO), Stephanie Ogier (CO)
Boys 8-9: Cully Brown (CO), Karsten Hokanson (UT), Abe Ott (CO)
Girls 8-9: Olivia Rose (CO), Hannah Bruns (UT), Brenna Egan (UT),
Boys 1-7: Noah Putt (UT), Jackson Burton (UT), Grady Anderson (UT)
Novice Boys: Ben Gunn (WY), Pryce Nelson (WY), Matt Mitton (WY)
Novice Girls: Kerry Molina (ID), Lina Klumpp (ID), Lauren Henken (ID)

Top Utah finishers, and their placing within the Intermountain Division, included: Ben Page, Sam Lepley and Daniel Guiney (8th, 15th and 17th Boys 16-19); Kirsten Stray-Gundersen, Erin Eppler and Alexis Sumsion (8th, 10th and 14th Girls 16-19); Andrew Putt, Wilson Dippo and Peter Lowell (4th, 6th and 13th Boys 14-15); Wendy Dunkle and Elizabeth Guiney (3rd and 10th Girls 14-15); Henrik Burns, Logan Phippen and Jonathan Bruns (4th, 5th and 6th Boys 12-13); Andrea Dunkle, Lisa Palomaki and Maurissa Weight (5th, 7th and 10th Girls 12-13); Garrett Bullough, Kurt Bruns and Isaac Rogers (1st, 2nd and 4th Boys 10-11); Tristin Lowe, Katie Susong and Madison Kieffer (1st, 2nd and 3rd Girls 10-11); Karsten Hokanson, Michael Dunkle, and Gunner Stray-Gundersen (1st, 2nd and 3rd Boys 8-9); Hannah Bruns, Brenna Egan and Ellie Burton (1st, 2nd and 3rd Girls 8-9); and Noah Putt, Jackson Burton and Grady Anderson (1st, 2nd and 3rd Boys 1-7).

The racing on both days was of the highest caliber, as was the sportsmanship of the athletes. Most appreciated by the volunteers were the numerous skiers, parents, and coaches who went out of their way to say “thank you.” After the races, many volunteers shared stories about their positive experiences with athletes and others. Al Davis, who has volunteered at Soldier Hollow in events ranging from the Olympics to local events stated, “The most heart warming were the athletes personally thanking us for being there and putting on such a well run event for them. I told them that if they keep coming, we’d keep coming.” And then there was Jed from Cody. As he skied away he stopped, looked back at me, and said, “Sir, it was a pleasure. Thank you for letting us come and ski.” From Soldier Hollow, TUNA, and the volunteers…you are always welcome, we will be here.

All photos by Jane Gerstenberger































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