Junior Nationals Super Qualifier at Soldier Hollow
By Kathryn Tucker, parent of SVSEF skier Torin Tucker (J2)
Soldier Hollow hosted the Junior Nationals Super Qualifier January 30-31, 2009, drawing competitors from Vermont to California and most everywhere in between, yielding a starting field of 579. This venue can easily accommodate such a large race field, having hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics Nordic competitions, and offers some nice amenities including a world class stadium start/finish area, first rate sound system to announce races and results, and huge electronic results boards which display results instantly.
Day one: Classic Sprints. Clear, brilliantly sunny, cold; the snow was abrasive, hard, fast.
Coaches and waxing staff made countless loops of the course, testing between every race. An interval start qualifying race resulted in 30 competitors progressing to heats. Quarterfinal heats: 5 heats of 6 skiers. Top 2 from the quarterfinals progressed to semis, top 3 in each semi progressed to A final, next 3 to B final. The 1K sprint course launched skiers out of the stadium, up a slow rise, down under the bridge, up a long climb to a sweeping, curving downhill back toward the stadium, with a final rise until a long straightaway finish. The course is a delight for spectators as racers can be seen over the entire sprint course. Spectators were out in force, cheering and exhorting skiers on. Skiers are competing for spots on the Junior National Team for their division, which is determined on how they finish relative to others in their division, rather than on overall result. This is a chance, however, to see how skiers from each division do against each other and offers a bit of a preview of Nationals.
On the podium for J2 Boys: Jack Steele, Glacier (IM), with a commanding 7 second lead; Justin Ondry, Far West (FW); Cole Morgan, Bridger (IM). Intermountain had 9 of the top 10 finishes for J2 boys, including 2 from Sun Valley: Brandon Wade, 5th overall/ 4th Intermountain, and Torin Tucker, 9th overall/8th Intermountain.
J1/OJ boys: on the podium: Miles Havlick, Sun Valley (IM), with almost a 5 second lead over 2 skiers from Vail(RM), Chris Woods and Anthony Ryerson. Other IM skiers in top 10: Opel Marshal, Glacier; John Springer, Jackson Hole; Willie Neal and Scott Schoen, both Sun Valley.
J2 girls: Stella Holt, Glacier (IM); Hannah Smith, Crested Butte (RM); Michaela Frias, Steamboat(RM). Top 12 finishes for Intermountain included Ruby Zitzer, Bridger; Maggie Williams, Maranda Stopol, and Emily Williams all of Sun Valley; and Tristin Lowe, Soldier Hollow. The most remarkable among this division may be Maggie Williams who at only 13 years old is racing up a division against skiers as much as 2 years older.
J1/OJ girls, podium finishes: Tyler Parker, Univ Utah, finishing w/a 6 second lead; Bernie Nelson, Far West; Monica Markvardsen, Black Jack (IM); Other finalists from IM included Isabel Smith, Bend; Natalie Flowers, Bridger; Makayla Cappel, Sun Valley.
Day two: It is a Hollow: heavy dense fog blanketed the Hollow on Saturday morning.
There were sections of the course where it was invisible. Course officials placed bright blue lane markers to outline the edge. The younger skiers, J5, J4, J3 skied in the fog. By start time for J2 and older divisions the fog had finally burned off and sun shone brightly through the rest of the day.
Saturday’s races: freestyle mass start. 5K for J2s, 10K for J1/OJ women, 15K for J1/OJ men.
The top 11 finishers from Day 1 were placed in the first row, followed by the rest of the field based on Saturday’s results. J2 Boys was a tight race throughout: Will Wicherski, Bogus Basin(IM) nipped the win by less than half a second over Akeo Maifeld-Carucci, Bridger(IM), a bit back was Cole Morgan, Bridger(IM), followed by Saturday’s winner Jack Steele in 4th, 2 Rocky Mountain skiers next: Gino Pastore, Durango 5th, Max Scrimgeour, Steamboat 6th, then 2 Sun Valley skiers: Torin Tucker, 7th/5th Intermountain, and Brandon Wade, 8th/6th Intermountain. Rounding out the top 10: Tucker Mccreary, Summit Nordic (RM), Tyler Smith, Park City (IM).
J1/OJ boys: Even Sletten, Univ Utah, by just 1 second over Utah teammate Tom Smith, followed by Iam Mallams, Steamboat(RM). Ian Havlick, Univ Utah in 4th; Miles Havlick, Sun Valley 5th overall/3rd OJ; Rogan Brown, Durango(RM), 6th overall/1st J1; Opel Marshall, Glacier, 8th overall/2nd J1; Other top Intermountain finishers: Willie Neal, Sun Valley 11th overall/ 6th OJ; Tanner Weigand, Bridger, 13th overall/4th J1; Danny Sundali, Sun Valley, 19th overall/8th J1.
J1/OJ girls: Annelies Cook,Senior, Univ Utah, finished with a spectacular 15 second lead over second place Monica Markvardsen, Black Jack, 1st J1; Rose Kemp(IM), 1st OJ, a half second ahead of 4th place finisher OJ Briana Perkins, Summit(RM). The girl who traveled the farthest: Corinne Prevot from Burke (VT/NE) finished 7th overall/3rd J1.
View some video of the J2 Classic sprints at http://www.bsfnordic.com/
Full results at www.summittiming.com
More Cold weather Action in Fairbanks
The fourth and final event in the 13th Annual Flint Hills Resources Alaska Town Race Series, the Auto Service Company Trophy, took place in somewhat truncated form on Saturday, January 31. Because of temperatures of approximately -18F the elementary races were not held. However, the junior high and high school/adult races did take place as scheduled.
Sarah Jackson was the only entrant and was the winner of the grade 7-8 girls class. Torgen Karns outskied Alex Teslow and Keegan Ragan to win the junior high boys’ class. Grade 7-8 skiers skied 3Km in free technique, but all chose to classic ski. Temperature at race time was approximately -17F.
The original format for the high school/adult races was to have been skiathlon/pursuit, with women going 3Km classic followed by 3Km skating, and the men doing 4Km + 4Km. However, because of the cold fresh snow, the decision was made Friday to have a classic-only event for the high school and adult skiers. Rather than skiing separate classic and skating courses, the skiers did two laps of their respective classic courses.
An excellent turnout in the women’s race produced 38 finishers. Davya Flaharty was the winner in 24:30.4, almost half-a-minute ahead of West Valley’s Wendy Boger, with Karin Gillis (first in 40-49), the leader at the end of the first lap, in third. Eric Blake was fourth, and Elizabeth Whisenhant (WVHS) just edged out North Pole’s Christi Schmitz for 5th. Heather Best won the 30-39 class in 7th overall.
Flaharty’s mother, Sharon (DeVoe) Baker started out easy then picked it up to come in 8th overall and first in her 50-59 class, just ahead of her younger sister (and Davya’s aunt), Donna (DeVoe) DiFolco (2nd in 40-49). Tania Spurkland won the 60-69 women’s class.
In the guys two-lap 8Km race West Valley skiers Jacob Remington and Kelsey Boyer gapped Mike Kramer on the final climb of the warmup loop first lap, then Remington, in turn, gapped Boyer to win going away by 36 seconds. Kramer (1st in 40-49) was third at 47 seconds back. Max Kaufman (1st in 30-39) and Jim Button (2nd in 40-49) rounded out the top 5.
Rick Johnson was the 50-59 winner in a class of seven skiers, and Don Pendergrast was the pace-setter in the 60-69 class.
Temperatures were around -17F to -18F at the start, but the mercury had shot all the way up to -15F by the finish. Other than a small handful of cases of superficial frostnip, there were no significant cold-related problems. Though it was cold, it was a sunny day, and there were a few dozen spectators in attendance, sending spirited cheers in direction of the racers.
Coming events include:
Sunday, February 8 – Besh Cup #6 (Besh Cup #5 is scheduled for Saturday the 7th at Salcha)
Friday, February 13 – Region VI Championships mass-start skating
Saturday, February 14 – Region VI Championships relay (cl-cl-fr-fr)
Sunday, February 22 – Distance Series #3
Thursday, February 26 – ASAA State Championships Interval Start Classic
Friday, February 27 – ASAA State Championships Mass Start skate
Saturday, February 28 – ASAA State Championships Relay
Crested Butte Alley Loop
by Sharbel Dussault
This past weekend in the tiny town of Crested Butte, CO the 23rd annual Crested Butte Alley Loop was contested. In every direction there are mountains surrounding you that spring up from the valley floor. Part of the race takes you through the historic streets and alleys before putting you out on some challenging and scenic groomed trails. A record 420 entries, a beautiful blue sky day and a Birkie qualifier made for a great day of nordic racing.
Crested Butte racers have a reputation of showing up in costumes to almost every race and the Alley loop is no exception. However, in the midst of the crazy costumes there’s always hard core racers that show up to race their hearts out on the 42km course. Some notable names made for a serious contest for the men and women. The local favorite and 2006 Olympian Rebecca Dussault (Saab Salomon Factory Team) battled it our early against 2006 Olympic teammate Sarah Konrad (Madshus). It was about 2/3 through the race when Rebecca bridged the gap to the lead group of men who consisted of Michael Brothers, Travis Scheefer, Brian Smith and Andy Richmond.
Rebecca was still in the group with only one lap to go, when Brothers and Richmond were able to turn on the afterburners under the threat of being “girled.” In the end Rebecca held onto 3rd place overall just two and half minutes behind the winner. The men’s winner was Michael Brothers with Andy Richmond and Travis Scheefer rounding out the men’s podium. For the women it was Rebecca Dussault, Sarah Konrad and Tami Kochen.
All Photos by Sharbel Dussault