Following members of the Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) these days is like catching up on news of the world.

MVNT was scheduled to travel to Utah for the annual Super Junior Qualifier this past weekend, team director Leslie Hall reported, but lack of snow at Soldier Hollow led to the cancellation of that event. The Pacific Northwest Ski Association decided to team up with the Far West Division and hold a Junior National Qualifying race in Bend, Oregon, instead.

Meanwhile, MVNT’s Novie McCabe was representing the United States in Vuokatti, Finland, competing at the Scandinavian Nordic Junior Ski Competition. Fellow Liberty Bell High School student Eli Nielsen was in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, competing for the United States in International Biathlon Union (IBU) Junior Cup races.

McCabe and Nielsen both competed on Friday (Jan. 26), Nielsen in a 10-kilometer biathlon sprint that included two shooting stages. He finished 73rd in a field of 96 skiers. McCabe competed in a freestyle sprint event, finishing 9th on the day. That positioned her well for the next day’s 5K classic race, Hall said. McCabe finished 5th overall, just 3 seconds out of third place, and was the top American finisher.

On Saturday (Jan. 27), Nielsen competed in another 10K biathlon sprint. He finished 67th overall, and was the second American finisher. McCabe also competed in a relay race with two of her teammates on Sunday (Jan. 28), skiing the anchor leg and bringing her team home in 4th place. She is training in Finland for a few days before returning home.

Nielsen is traveling to Slovenia, where he will compete in the IBU Junior Open European Championships.

Back at Bend

Back in the Northwest, MVNT members were fighting for spots on the Junior National team. Saturday’s challenge was a skate sprint, with each age category competing among themselves, Hall reported.

Ella Kuzyk led the U18/20 women from start to finish, winning the qualifying round and all of her heats. Gretta Scholz dueled with a Far West skier to take 3rd in the U18 girls’ competition.

In the U16 boys’ race, Walker Hall led the qualifying and all the heats to take the win. Travis Grialou finished 3rd and Ian Delong 4th, with Bodhi Kuzyk winning the B final for 7th place.

The U16 girls faced a very competitive group but MVNT’s Keeley Brooks managed to place 4th overall, Hall reported. Eva Weymuller ended up in 8th place.

The U14 skiers raced a short mass start event rather than a sprint, and the Methow girls claimed the top three spots with Jori Grialou leading, Dashe McCabe in 2nd and Mahali Kuzyk in 3rd.

The U14s started Sunday with a combined male/female mass start 3.75K race. Jori Grialou took 1st for the girls (2nd overall), Dashe McCabe 2nd girl (4th overall), and Lilia Kuzyk was 3rd and Mahali 5th in the girls’ race.

The U16 boys went next with a classic mass start 5K on a super-fast course. Walker Hall led the way followed by teammates Travis Grialou 2nd and Ian Delong 3rd. Bodhi Kuzyk added a 6th-place finish.

In the U16 girls’ competition, Eva Weymuller placed 4th, Keeley Brooks finished 8th and Lena Nelson 11th.

The team has next weekend off followed by a home event, the Race of the Methow on Feb. 10-11 at the McCabe Trail at Liberty Bell High School. The PNSA Junior National Team that will compete at Soldier Hollow March 5-11 will be named after the Race of the Methow.