The Race of the Methow drew more than 150 competitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest to the McCabe Trails at Liberty Bell High School last weekend, and racers for the Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) made their usual impressive showing.
A new course layout was used for the first time, with skate sprint races on Saturday (Feb. 4) and a classic distance race on Sunday (Feb. 5). Top junior racers were vying for spots on the Junior National Team.
MVNT team director Leslie Hall reported that snow had been forecast, but Saturday dawned clear and stayed that way for most of the day. “We had excellent conditions for the sprint competition,” she said.
Saturday’s racing included qualifying time trials, heats and finals. In the U16 girls’ competition, MVNT’s Novie McCabe won the qualifier and all her subsequent heats. Gretta Scholz finished fourth in the final.
MVNT’s lone U18/20 women’s competitor, Taya Delong, is recovering from acute appendicitis and was unable to compete. Methow Valley native Maya Seckinger, competing for Bend Endurance Academy, won the race.
“The U16 boys had a competitive age group, battling through the day,” Hall reported. Hunter Greene from Mt. Bachelor was the winner, with MVNT’s Peter Aspholm out-lunging teammate Walker Hall for second place.
In the U18/20 men’s competition, MVNT’s Eli Nielsen skied well all day but broke a pole in his final heat and finished sixth, Hall reported.
In the younger groups, skiing a 900-meter loop, Liv Aspholm took first place to lead a large contingent of MVNT girls in the U14 sprint: Keeley Brooks in third, Eva Weymuller in fourth, Jori Grialou in fifth and Mariah Lucy in sixth.
Hall said she was pleased with the performances of the other U14 skiers who competed, including Wyatt Albright, Lena Nelson, Amelia Bondi, Payten Kaufman and Elke Wathen.
Isaac Simmons competed in the boys’ U14 class, finishing in 12th place for MVNT. In the U12 900-meter race, MVNT’s Stella Scholz topped all the boys and girls, followed by teammates Dashe McCabe in second, Leki Albright in fifth and Thomasin Schkrohowsky in eighth. Dexter Delaney was the fourth-place U12 boy for the day.
In the U10 category, Ben Kaufman took first place for MVNT, with teammates Marit Nelson in second, Marta Schkrohowsky in third, Emmet Bondi in fourth and Emil Schkrohowsky in eighth. MVNT alumna Tulie Budiselich also took part in the sprints, winning the senior/master category.
On Sunday, a few inches of cold powder snow early in the day made for excellent conditions for the classic races, Hall said.
Racing started with the senior/master men and Dave Ford skied a strong race to finish third in that category. The U18/20 men followed on the 10-kilometer course, with Eli Nielsen finishing fifth. Nielsen will be heading to the World Junior Biathlon Championships in Slovakia in two weeks.
In the U16 boys’ race, Walker Hall skied the fastest 5K of the day to take first place. Travis Grialou placed fourth, Emerson Worrell seventh, Ian Delong eighth and Peter Aspholm 12th.
In the U16 girls’ 5K, Novie McCabe took first place in a time that couldn’t be matched by the other competitors, nor by many of the boys, Hall said. Gretta Scholz skied to third place. In the Methow-dominated U14 girls’ category, Liv Aspholm claimed first place on the 3.5Kcourse, followed by Eva Weymuller in second, Keeley Brooks third, Jori Grialou fifth, Lena Nelson seventh, Mariah Lucy ninth, Wyatt Albright 13th, Amelia Bondi 14th, Elke Wathen 17th and Payten Kaufman 18th.
The 2.5K U12 race was won by Dashe McCabe with Stella Scholz in second, Leki Albright in fourth and Dexter Delaney in fifth. The 8- and 9-year-olds raced a 1.5K loop and Ben Kaufman led the field with Marit Nelson in second and Emmet Bondi in fourth.
Complete results from the weekend can be found at methowvalleynordic.com/event/race-of-the-methow-2017.