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STOWE, Vt. — Competitors throughout the season, hundreds of juniors came together on Saturday and teamed up to represent their respective regions in the 3 x 3-kilometer freestyle relays on the final day of 2014 Junior Nationals in Stowe, Vt.
New England topped the Midwest by 368 points for the coveted Alaska Cup — the overall accolade awarded to the team with the most cumulative points throughout the week.
Below are the top teams in the U16, U18 and U20 relays, including six national-championship winners. Intermountain swept the U16 races, Alaska’s U18 men won, and New England capped the day off with two U20 victories and a U18 women’s win.
- Intermountain 1: Brooke Dunnagan (Bogus Basin), Anna Gibson (Jackson Hole), Leah Lange (Park City)
- New England 1: Chloe Levins (Mountain Top), Mackenzie Rizio (Stratton Mountain School), Leah Brams (Cambridge Sports Union)
- Rocky Mountain 1: Jordan Floyd (Steamboat Springs WSC), Kathleen O’Connell (Steamboat Springs), Hailey Swirbul (Aspen Valley SSC)
- Far West 1: Hannah Halvorsen (Sugar Bowl), Lizzie Larkins (Auburn), Jenna Rohlf (Auburn)
- Midwest 1: Amanada Kautzer (Loppet Nordic Racing), Erin Moening (Endurance United), Anna Johnson (Mesabi East)
- Intermountain 2: Sofia Shomento (Bridger Ski Foundation), Madison Morgan (Park City), Katy Bonacci (The Utah Nordic Alliance)
- New England 2: Tegan Thorley (SMS), Kirsten Miller, Sophia Hodges (Frost Mountain)
- Rocky Mountain 2: Anna Fake (Durango), Katja Freeburn (Durango), Maddie Donovan (SSC Vail)
- Alaska 1: Barae Hirsch (Alaska Pacific University), Jenna Difolco (NSCF-Fairbanks-FXC), Anna Darnell (APU)
- Midwest 2: Hannah Rudd (LNR), Dorothy Anderson (LNR), Abigail Jarzin (Ashwaubenon)
Fun Facts: Lange received the tag in third and went on to win by 7.3 seconds with the fastest anchor leg. “I saw that she was in first and I got so excited I just started screaming,” Gibson said. Lange placed second in the 5 k classic and third in the 1.4 k freestyle sprint earlier in the week. “We were just so excited; the relay there’s so much more energy in the other races,” Lange said. “It’s definitely the best race to do so good in.”
- Intermountain 1: Max Polito (Jackson Hole), Peter Wolter (Sun Valley), Zach Williams (Sun Valley)
- Alaska 1: Benjamin Koenig (NSCF-Fairbanks-FXC), Jack Consenstein (APU), Hunter Wonders (APU)
- New England 1: Daniel Steinz (Maine WSC), Russell Boswell (SMS), Forrest Hamilton (Mansfield)
- New England 2: Anders Hanson (Craftsbury), Adam Glueck (Ford Sayre), Calvin Bates (Dublin School)
- Alaska 2: Dawson Knopp (Alaska Nordic Racing), Gus Schumacher (Alaska Winter Stars), Tracen Knopp (ANR)
- Intermountain 2: Eli Jensen (Sun Valley), Carter Ros (Sun Valley), River Vorse (Sun Valley)
- Rocky Mountain 1: Noel Keeffe (Steamboat Springs), Evan Barbier (Steamboat Springs), Simon Zink (Steamboat Springs)
- Rocky Mountain 2: Kai Sherman (Crested Butte), Wyatt Gebhardt (Steamboat Springs), Alden Truettner (Crested Butte)
- Midwest 1: Anders Sonnesyn (Endurance United), Xavier Mansfield (LNR), Henry Gore (Madnorski/CXC)
- Far West 1: Brandon Herhusky (Sugar Bowl), Ryland Belisle (Sugar Bowl), Skyler Mullings (Sugar Bowl)
Fun Fact: Intermountain went 2-for-2 to start Saturday, with victories in the U16 men’s and women’s races. The winning men’s team wore blue do-rags and painted mustaches. “We got this right before the race from our coach,” Wolter said, pointing to his face. “And I don’t think we really had a plan.” Williams said they didn’t know the course until shortly before their race. “We just kind of went for it,” Williams said. “We relied on outside information, no personal experience,” Wolter added.
- New England 1: Zoe Snow (Cambridge Sports Union), Katharine Ogden (SMS), Julia Kern (CSU)
- Midwest 1: Caroline Brisbois (Endurance United), Racquel Wohlk (Nordicwerks), Vivian Hett (LNR)
- Midwest 2: Alayna Sonnesyn (Endurance United), Anna French (LNR), Mattie Watts (Endurance United)
- Rocky Mountain 1: Hannah Peterson (Durango), Lauren Jortberg (Boulder), Gretchen Burkholder (Steamboat Springs)
- Intermountain 1: Brenna Egan (Park City), Aja Starkey (BSF), Sophie McDonald (Park City)
- Alaska 1: Sadie Fox (ANR), Emma Tarbath (AWS), Sarrissa Lammers (ANR)
- New England 2: Carmen Bango (Woodstock), Kaelyn Woods (Maine WSC), Autumn Eastman (Sleepy Hollow)
- Midwest 3: Allison Ternes (LNR), Michael Keller-Miller (Endurance United), Sarah Bezdicek (LRN)
- Intermountain 2: Bjork Hagensen (BSF), Mariah Bredal (Jackson Hole), Katie Feldman (Sun Valley)
- Rocky Mountain 2: Taeler McCrerey (Summit Nordic), Ruthie Boyd (Summit Nordic), Anna Martin (SSC Vail)
Fun Fact: The New England women combined for a 14.7-second win in what was Ogden’s third win and Kern’s second of the week. The three also defended their relay title from last year as J2’s (U16) at 2013 Junior Nationals.
“It was a lot of holding back everyone else because we knew that Katharine was going to kill it and Julia was going to keep it up,” Snow said. “We definitely had a plan going into it,” Ogden said.
“New England, we’re such close friends and teammates and it’s even more fun when you win together,” Kern said.
The team also gave a shout-out to their coach, Sverre Caldwell of the Stratton Mountain School, on his birthday on Saturday.
- Alaska 1: John Farr (APU), Joe Bue (FXC), Thomas O’Harra (APU)
- Intermountain 1: Logan Diekmann (BSF), Sam Miller (BSF), Karsten Hokanson (Wasatch Nordic)
- Midwest 1: Ian Torchia (LNR), Nick Gardener (Endurance United), Zak Ketterson (LNR)
- Alaska 3: Jake Bassett (AWS), Tanner Ramey (AWS), Jonathan Koenig (NSCF-Fairbanks-FXC)
- Rocky Mountain 1: Lars Hannah (Steamboat Springs), Paolo Takagi-Atilano (Boulder), Cully Brown (SSC Vail)
- Midwest 2: Daniel Delestry (CXC), Tamer Mische-Richter (Endurance United), Leo Hipp (Nordicwerks)
- Intermountain 2: Peter Neal (Jackson Hole), Danny Graves (Sun Valley), Alex Jackson (Park City)
- New England 1: Zane Fields (Woodstock), Ben Hegman (Mansfield), Gavin McEwen (CSU)
- Alaska 2: Seiji Takagi (AWS), Jacob Volz (APU), Tristan Sayre (FAST)
- Far West 1: Dylan Syben (Unleashed Coaching), Julien Bordes (Unleashed Coaching), Sam Zabell (Sugar Bowl)
Fun Fact: This is the first podium for both Farr and Bue, and O’Harra’s fifth in four years of competing at Junior Nationals. Farr and O’Harra have been teammates since O’Harra was in seventh grade and are the three-time defending champions of the Anchorage high school two-man relay competition. They hail from East Anchorage, the same high school as Kikkan Randall. “It’s the last Junior National race for us, and it could be the last race [Thomas] and I go together,” Farr said. “So it’s a good feeling to end it this way.”
- New England 1: Hannah Benson (Williams Outing Club), Kelsey Phinney (Middlebury), Heidi Halvorsen
- New England 2: Sadie James (Bates), Tara Humphries (Bates), Maddy Pfeifer (Andover)
- Midwest 1: Sonja Hedblom (LNR), Nora Gilbertson (St. Olaf), Kristen Bourne (Northern Michigan)
- Rocky Mountain 1: Abbey Habermehl (Steamboat Springs), Cara Piske (Steamboat Springs), Nicole Schneider (LNR)
- Midwest 2: Elizabeth Evans (St. Scholastica), Maria Hauer (Flyer Nordic), Nicole Schneider (LNR)
- New England 3: Cate Brams (CSU), Erin Perryman (St. Lawrence), Emily Ramsey (Maine WSC)
- Alaska 1: Hannah Stevesn (ANR), Marion Woods (AWS), Anna Spencer (APU)
- Far West 1: Laurel Fiddler (Bates), Danielle Nivinski (Sugar Bowl), Amanda Kirkeby (Mammoth Mountain)
- Intermountain 1: Maggie Williams (Sun Valley), Sarah Williams (Sun Valley), Joelle Romo (BSF)
- High Plains 1: Laura Stamp (Willams), Leann Bentley (Laramie HS), Louisa Austin (Lander Valley)
Fun Facts: After New England swept first through six (not including Sweden’s Ulrika Axelsson of Michigan Tech) in the 5 k classic earlier in the week, Halvorsen said that along with other results throughout the week (including her sprint title) gave them confidence going into the relay. “I think we were pretty confident going into this race that we could potentially get two teams on the podium,” she said after the team went 1-2.
“I think it’s really nice because last year we didn’t have the greatest year,” Benson said. “We didn’t win the Alaska Cup. It’s awesome to come back here to New England to have such a significant lead over everyone else. I think it represents how New England skiing can come together.”
Phinney, of Boulder, Colo., is the daughter of Olympic cycling medalists, Davis and Connie Phinney. Her dad raced the Tour de France and her mom raced competitively and also rowed collegiately.
- New England 1: Jack Schrupp (Gunstock), Jack Hegman (University of Vermont), Cole Morgan (UVM)
- Far West 1: Peter Holmes (Unleashed Coaching), Shane Christian (Unleashed Coaching), Patrick McElravey (Middlebury)
- Rocky Mountain 1: Jackson Hill (University of Colorado), Oscar Friedman (Dartmouth), Haakon Sigurslid (Durango)
- Midwest 1: Mathew Nichols (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay), Jan Katterson (LNR), Thomas Bye (CXC)
- Intermountain 1: Connor Gray (BSF), Riis Wilbrecht (Wasatch), Henry Gorman (Wasatch)
- New England 3: Andrew Nadler (Dartmouth), Luke Costley (Williams), Sam Merrens (Ford Sayre)
- New England 2: Austin Huneck (Maine WSC), Calvin Swomley (St. Lawrence) Ian Moore (Green Mountain Valley School)
- Rocky Mountain 2: Ian Boucher (SSC Vail), Parker McDonald (SSC Vail), Evan Weinman (Steamboat Springs)
- Midwest 2: Sam Elfstrom (NMU), Kyle Marshall (Wisconsin-Green Bay), Luke Brown (LNR)
- Alaska 1: Kyle Hanson (NSCF-Fairbanks-FXC), Nicholas Lovett, Daniel Serventi (APU)
Fun Fact: This was Morgan’s third victory in four races at Junior Nationals (after being the top American in the sprint) and Hegman’s fourth consecutive podium. “I think we all just wanted to go out an hammer … and just go for it,” he said.
“It’s pretty sweet, a good feeling to end on a good note like that,” Hegman said.
Holmes, a U18 skier for Far West, raced in the older age group for his team, and McElravey rallied after a major crash in Friday’s 15 k mass start took him out of the race.
Stay tuned for videos of the last two days of Junior Nationals racing to be completed in the next week.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.