Anchorage, Alaska – Racing continued at the Junior Nationals in Anchorage, Alaska, with the 5 and 10km freestyle events. Intermountain bounced back from a disappointing showing in the classic sprint, taking seven podium finishes, more than both New England and Alaska.
In the girl's J2 5km race, Tara Geraghty-Moats (NE) skied to a 6.8 second victory over Katie Gill (IM).
â€œMy skis were awesome, the fastest they have been all year,â€ says Geraghty-Moats.
The home-schooled 15 year-old approached the race with a two-part strategy.
â€œThe first part of the course had long climbs and the second part had more hills, with lots of ups and downs. I went 95 percent on the first part and then all-out for the second half.â€
Geragthy-Moats' New England teammate Heidi Caldwell finished third, 14.9 seconds back of the wining time of 16:36.6.
The boy's J2 race was nowhere near as close, with Alaska's Scott Patterson posting a time of 13:20.2 and gapping the field by 1:16.5. David Sinclair (NE) took second and Will Wicherski (IM) was third. Intermountain took 5 of the top 10 places.
Jessie Diggins, a sophomore at Stillwater Area High School, Minn., led from start to finish in the J1 girls 5 km race.
Donning bib number three, the 16 year-old caught the two racers in front of her before they even reached the halfway point in the course, winning the race by more than 26 seconds over Kate Dolan, from the Intermountain team.
â€œI was motivated after Monday’s races,â€ says Diggins, who placed second in the 1.5 km sprints earlier this week. â€œI did a lot of training this year to prepare for the season.â€
Caught off-guard by a 2-inch dusting of snow that fell late yesterday evening and early this morning, Team Midwest coach Reid Lutter says his staff was out at the venue by six o’clock this morning, re-waxing every ski before the 10 a.m. start.
Diggins credited her win, in part, to the Team Midwest wax crew.
â€œOur wax men hit it just right,â€ says Diggins. â€œThey worked really hard and my skis were really fast.
Adele Espy (NE) was third, only 2.1 seconds behind Dolan.
The J1 and OJ boys both skied 10 kilometers. Lex Treinen (AK) led an Alaskan sweep, with teammates Eric Packer and Cole Talbot 17.3 and 26.9 seconds back in second and third respectively. Treinen's time of 27:52 would have placed him second in the OJ classification.
Noah Hoffman, just back from the World Junior Championships won that event, outskiing Tad Elliot (RM) and World Junior teammate Max Treinen (AK) by 27.6 and 46.6 seconds.
Intermountain answered Alaska's J1 boy's sweep with one of their own in the OJ girls race. Mali Noyes led the way, winning by 28.1 seconds over Bridger Ski Foundation's Ase Carlson. Erika Flowers was third, one minute behind Noyes. The rest of the top 10 was filled with New England and Alaskan skiers.