All 2012 Cross Country Junior Nationals coverage is brought to you through the generous support of The Memory Clinic, in Bennington, Vt., committed to caring for the mind since 1987. Currently conducting clinical research on the Alzheimer’s disease vaccine.
MIDWAY, Utah — Eli Hoenig (New England/Cambridge Sports Union) knows how to make himself hurt.
He got off to a fast start and skied in front as the A-final pack moved up the first hill.
By the time he group came within sight of the finish line, Hoenig trailed teammate Paddy Caldwell (NE/SMS). But Hoenig didn’t doubt the speed in his double pole as he gained on Caldwell, who was striding down the straightaway
Inch by inch, Hoenig pulled ahead, and won by a slim 0.63 seconds. After crossing the line and managing to congratulate Caldwell on his race, his stomach protested to the ordeal of skiing four all-out sprints in one day and emptied itself in the finish pen.
“I don’t know, maybe it was something I ate, or I just went really hard,” said Hoenig once he’d recovered. “I feel great mentally—physically I’m kind of down in the dumps.”
It would be unsurprising if Hoenig’s finish line discomfort were simply a matter of exerting himself beyond his limit. His father confirmed in the finish area that it wasn’t the first time his son’s lunch had ended up on the snow after a race.
Hoenig and Caldwell’s battle left the rest of the J1 boys’ final a full 11 seconds back from the winning time. Cole Morgan (Intermountain/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) took the bronze medal, Nick St. Clair (Pacific Northwest/Bend Endurance Academy) took fourth, Zach Goldberg (Midwest/Minnesota Valley) finished fifth and Harris Dirnberger (MW/Central Cross Country JDP) was sixth.
Stock Knocks off Another National Title
As junior skiers grow through the age-class ranks, there are certain names that routinely pop up near the top of results at Junior Nationals. Corey Stock’s (New England/Cambridge Sports Union) is one such name. But she isn’t simply fast; she consistently performs at the very top of her game when it counts the most, destroying her competition.
Monday’s classic sprint at Soldier Hollow was no exception. After posting the fastest qualifier that morning, Stock went on to win the J1 final 4.36 seconds ahead of Jesse Knori (Intermountain/SVSEF). She opened an early lead and never let up.
“I was trying to just go all-out from the beginning and open a gap early,” said Stock after her win. “There are big hills in the beginning, and hills are probably my strong suit.”
A solid double-pole was also crucial to surviving the sprint. As the sun warmed the snow to well above 40 F, the course became soft and slow. The J1 girls’ were some of the last heats to go off, and featured with the worst of it. For the finals, the weather changed its mind again, and cloud cover began to cool the tracks back down.
“It was definitely pretty slow and sluggish in the [heats], but it’s good practice to learn to change it up in the different conditions,” said Stock.
The Lincoln-Sudbury senior doesn’t take each new win lightly; her triumphant fist pump as she crossed the line could easily have been in celebration of her first national title.
“It feels really nice—to be skiing against all these awesome athletes back in the U.S.,” said Stock, who was in Erzurum, Turkey at the end of February for her first World Junior Championships.
Behind Stock, Knori claimed the runner-up spot in front of third finisher Mary O’Connell (Rocky Mountain/Steamboat Springs WSC). Heather Mooney (NE/Stratton Mountain School) was fourth, Lucy Newman (RM/SSWSC) finished fifth and Emily Hannah (RM/SSWSC).
Qualifier results (scroll for J1 girls)
Overall sprint results (scroll for J1 girls)
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Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.