Excellent weather greeted local competitors, visiting skiers and spectators alike last weekend when the Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) hosted junior qualifier races on the McCabe Trails at Liberty Bell High School.
Classic sprint races kept the course busy on Saturday for all competitors in the 8- to 20-year-old divisions.
“This meant a sprint qualifier in the morning (900 meters for the 8- to 13-year-olds and 1.3 kilometers for the 14- to 20-year-olds),” MVNT coach Leslie Hall said in an email report. “These were followed by a short break and then heats of the same distance. Some age groups raced full sets of heats (quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals) and others went straight to semi-finals and finals based on the numbers in each age class.”
In the U10 age group, MVNT swept the combined boy/girl class with Stella Scholz winning, Dashe McCabe in second, Leki Albright in third and Thomasin Schrkrohowsky finishing sixth.
“In the U12 combined boy/girl sprint, Mt. Bachelor skier Aidan Whitelaw beat out two MVNT girls, Lindsay Worrell and Liv Aspholm, in an exciting sprint to the finish,” Hall said. Zane Strome was fourth and Lena Nelson sixth in that final.
In the U14 girls’ class, Novie McCabe led all her heats and won the final with teammate Gretta Scholz in second. In the U14 boys’ race, Peter Aspholm led all his heats and won the final handily over Momentum Northwest’s Cooper Jackson and MVNT’s Emerson Worrell.
“The U16 and U18/20 skiers use the morning qualifier as their points race for qualifying for Junior Nationals, and most MVNT skiers aiming for Junior Nationals had races that will help them secure a spot on the team going to Truckee, California, in March,” Hall said.
They include Paul Everett, Elise Putnam, Claire Waichler, Ella Hall, Taya Delong, Danielle Mott and Eli Nielsen, who all turned in solid qualifying times that put them under the 7 percent back threshold, Hall said.
In U16 girls’ category, Delong placed a strong second and Mott fourth. Nielsen was third in a sprint battle for second with Leavenworth’s Moses Lurber in the U16 boys’ competition.
Claire Waichler was MVNT’s sole U18/20 skier to make the final, and placed fourth after putting in a great effort in her tough semi-final round, Hall said.
Everett skied to a solid third-place finish in the U18/20 men’s category. Link to Saturday’s results at www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=35394.
Sunday’s competition featured individual start skate competition for all age groups.
It started with the 10K U18/20 and master men’s race. Everett skied a strong race for MVNT and had the fastest time, leading the U18/20 men.
Geza Sukovaty placed 16th in this category. Local master skiers Mark Rhinehart, Dan Weinstein, Jim Kelley and Louis Sukovaty also competed. In the U18/20 women’s category, Maya Seckinger of Winthrop, skiing for Bend Endurance Academy, won, with Ella Hall in second and Waichler taking fourth in the women’s 10K race. Local skier and MVNT board member Ginny Price also competed.
In the U16 boys’ 5K race, Nielsen kept up his strong skiing and placed second. Delong was second in the U16 ladies’ 5K with Mott in eighth and Icel Sukovaty, skiing her first skate race, placing 22nd.
The U14 skiers raced 3.5K and MVNT racers dominated the large groups, with Walker Hall winning the boys’ race followed by Peter Aspholm and Emerson Worrell. Ian Delong was fifth, Travis Grialou 10th, Myles Davis 12th and Michael Mott 13th.
On the girls’ side, Novie McCabe again led from start to finish and had the fastest 3.5K time of the day. Scholz was a solid third and Greta Laesch ninth.
The U12 skiers competed in a 2.5K race with Strome placing second in the boys’ race. Liv Aspholm won the girls’ category followed by Lindsay Worrell and Keeley Brooks for an MVNT sweep. Lena Nelson was fourth, Mariah Lucy seventh, Jory Grialou eighth and Amelia Bondi 10th in this large group.
The final event was the U10 1.5K race. In the boys’ race, Conrad Laesch was second and Emmet Bondi fourth. Stella Scholz won the girls’ race, followed by Dashe McCabe.
Links to Sunday’s results are at www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=35473.
“All the visiting skiers were impressed with the McCabe Trails, our friendly town and volunteers and the great grooming thanks to Methow Trails,” Hall said. “We had many great volunteers and excellent support to put on these races with 175 competitors. It was a great event and many commented on how fun it is to come to the Methow Valley.”