Calling it like it was: fir trees draped in fog and the colorful hues of Junior Worlds Lycra a deep contrast to the pervasive monochromatic snow and forest. This was the backdrop for World Junior’s freestyle sprint day in Oberwiesenthal, Germany. Keeping things real for several North Americans, expectations were high as the core, for example, of the U.S. team is riddled with potential podiums.
For the North American women, three skiers qualified for the heats in the 1.2 skate sprint: Novie McCabe (U.S./MVNT) qualified in 19th (+7.62), Elizabeth Elliott (CAN/Revelsoke Nordic) 27th (+9:05), and Benita Peiffer (CAN/Whistler Nordic) 30th (+9.58).
The fastest qualifier on the day was Norway’s Helene Marie Fossesholm in 2:28.53. According to FIS, Fossesholm has raced two individual World Cups. She placed fifth in Falun’s 10 k skate mass start, and 18th in Lillehammer’s 15 k skiathlon. Both races were this season.
Fossesholm advanced to the final’s but placed fifth, 2.62 seconds off the win. Sweden’s Louise Lindstrom, the day’s 11th fastest qualifier, won in 2:33.41. Poland’s Izabela Marcisz was second (+0.47), and Switzerland’s Siri Wigger third (+1:07).
McCabe placed fifth in the fourth quarterfinal to finish 22nd overall. The eighteen-year-old from Washington’s Methow Valley remained in contact with the quarterfinal’s leaders when she came to a stop to avoid a skier merging into her path on a short but critical climb. There, she lost vital time.
Elliott placed 23rd after placing fifth in the third heat, while Peiffer was 25th overall. Peiffer was fifth in the first quarterfinal.
Also for the U.S., Sydney Palmer-Leger (SVSEF) skied to 49th, Callie Young (Dartmouth) 54th, and Mara McCollor 73rd (Minneapolis Ski Club).
For Canada Liliane Gagnon (Skibec Nordique) placed 39th, and Molly Miller (Black Jack Ski Club) 42nd.