Logan Hanneman has been skiing the Birch Hill Recreation Area trails as long as he can remember. On a chilly Thursday night at the U.S. Cross Country Junior Nationals, he and Ben Saxton gave spectators a race they’ll also remember for a long time.
The J2 boys national championship sprint was only seconds old, and already Koby Gordon feared disaster had struck. “My pole grip came undone so I had to grab my pole and put it back on,” Gordon said. “Yeah it was (stressful). I was like ‘This could put me in last’ but I was able to keep pushing really hard with my legs.”
Annika Miller had no intention of letting three Norwegians beat her in Thursday's J1 girls freestyle sprint at 2013 Junior Nationals. "I really wanted to (win). I was like ‘You know, the U.S. needs to be on top today,’ ” she said. Alaska's Lydia Blanchet and Felicia Gesior of Great Lakes took the J2 and OJ titles, respectively.
Hannah Boyer and Logan Hanneman got to experience something rare and special on Tuesday: a clinching anchor leg on their home trails at Junior Nationals. Boyer and Hanneman each helped Team Alaska win gold in the Older Junior divisions of the 3 x 3-kilometer classic sprint at Birch Hill Recreation Area.
Of the six 3 x 3-kilometer classic relays at Junior Nationals on Tuesday — two each in the Junior 1, J2 and Older Junior divisions — only two were decided by less than 30 seconds and only one was up for grabs on the final straightaway. That race was the girls Junior 1 event, in which Intermountain edged Midwest by 3.7 seconds and Alaska by four seconds.
Not even a navigational gaffe could derail the New England J2 girls in Tuesday’s 3x3k classic relay at Junior Nationals. Katharine Ogden, New England's lead skier, lost the substantial lead she’d gained on Rocky Mountain’s Hailey Swirbul after she accidentally skied into the finish lane instead of the lap lane — despite large signs that directed skiers — as she approached the end of the first leg.