Seven members of the Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) traveled to Soldier Hollow, Utah, last weekend for a Super Junior National Qualifier to compete against skiers from all over the West.
More than 700 skiers aged 7 – 19 competed on the thin snow at the 2002 Olympic venue, according to a report from team director Leslie Hall.
Friday (Jan. 30) was a warm and wet day, Hall said. All the skiers raced on a 1.3-kilometer loop, with the older skiers using their morning time trial results for advancing into the rounds of heats. With top 30 skiers from each age class advancing, all MVNT skiers advanced to the quarterfinals.
Danielle Mott had the 12th-fastest time trial, followed by Taya Delong in 14th in the U16 girls’ category. Claire Waichler was 14th and Ella Hall 18th in the U18/20 ladies’ time trial, and Eli Nielsen was 18th in the field of 102 in the U16 boys’ time trial.
While the older skiers rested up for their heats, Novie McCabe and Emerson Worrell competed in the U14 1.3K skate event. Worrell waded through the deep slush for a 12th-place finish in the 92-boy field, and McCabe jump-skated to a second-place finish in the U14 girls’ field of 86.
None of the MVNT skiers advanced past the quarterfinals, Hall reported. Delong ended in 17th place overall, and Mott 22nd in the U16 girls. Waichler was 14th and Ella Hall 17th at the end of the heats in the U18/20 category, with MVNT alumna Olivia Ekblad winning the event skiing for Wasatch Nordic. Eli Nielsen ended the day in 17th. Complete results can be found at http://summittiming.com/race_results/.
Saturday (Jan. 31) dawned clear and slightly colder for the mass start classic races, Hall reported.
“With these huge fields and the small amount of snow, everyone was squeezed into a narrow starting area,” the coach said. “The younger skiers raced first and our Methow skiers skied well in their 3K mass start race.”
Worrell ended up fifth in the U14 boys’ race and McCabe ran away from the pack for a win in the U14 girls’ event. The U16 boys raced 5K, and Nielsen finished in ninth place. The U16 girls also raced 5K, with Delong finishing seventh and Mott 24th. In the U18 10K race, Ella Hall ended up 15th and Waichler 18th.
“Conditions were warm with deep slush by the time the older skiers competed, probably similar to what our racers will face in California,” Hall said.
MVNT now has four skiers qualified for Junior Nationals in Truckee, California, in March: Delong and Mott will compete for the Pacific Northwest Ski Association in the U16 girls’ class, Nielsen in the U16 boys’ race, and Waichler in the U18 girls’ race.
Paul Everett will likely also be named to the team once he returns from competing at Biathlon World Junior Championships in Belarus, Hall said.
“Ella Hall needs one more race to qualify and expects to get that at the Spokane JNQ Feb. 14-15,” coach Hall said.