This report comes from information provided by Leslie Hall, director of the Methow Valley Nordic Team.
The Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) sent six athletes to Truckee, California, last week as part of the Pacific Northwest Team for Junior Nationals. Nearly 400 athletes aged 14-19 competed in their age categories in four different events. The weather was hot and sunny most of the time, with one snowy/rainy interlude on the Wednesday skate race day.
Following are some highlights. Complete results can be found at xcjuniornationals2015.net/results.
March 9 was the skate sprint races with the qualifiers taking place on hard, fast snow and the heats following in progressively softer conditions. To move onto the heats, athletes had to place in the top 30 in their respective class. From MVNT, Danielle Mott placed 12th in the U16 category and Paul Everett 26th in the U20 category.
Danielle won her quarterfinal and moved onto the semi-final, where she finished fourth. That relegated her to the B final, where she ultimately finished the day in ninth place.
Paul was pushed into the netting on the first corner of his quarterfinal and was unable to complete, and finished 30th on the day.
Eli Nielsen barely missed qualifying with a 31st-place finish, only .07 seconds out of 30th place in the U16 boys’ race. In the U18 girls’ race, Taya Delong was 32nd, Ella Hall 37th and Claire Waichler 46th.
March 11 was the individual skate distance races, with tough conditions. Claire Waichler’s 38th-place finish in the U18 girls’ race and Paul Everett’s 21st-place finish in the U20 men’s race were the team’s best efforts for the day.
March 13 brought the warm sun again, with the U20 men benefiting from the first start of the day and faster courses for their 15-kilometer mass start classic race. It progressively got warmer and slower and many athletes felt the effects of dehydration and a long week of racing, and ended up dropping from the race.
All MVNT skiers were able to race the whole way, with Eli Nielsen’s 27th place being the best finish of the day.
Saturday (March 14) was the last day of racing, with classic-style relays on the docket. In each division, teams of three athletes each raced 2.5K. Ella Hall skied in the U20 division to make a full team there, and her team finished in fifth place, narrowly missing fourth in the 15-team field.
Claire Waichler also skied a strong middle leg for her U18 team, handing off with the seventh-fastest time of the day for her leg.
“Each athlete had some highlights and some struggles so came away with things to work on for next season,” MVNT Director Leslie Hall said.
The biathletes (Paul Everett, Claire Waichler and Eli Nielsen) stayed in Truckee to compete in biathlon championships this weekend (March 20-22), and will be joined by MVNT skier Elise Putnam. Ella Hall will travel to Sun Valley, Idaho, for Supertour finals.