The Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) traveled around the region last weekend, with nine athletes traveling to Bend, Oregon, for the first Pacific Northwest regional Junior National qualifying event and 13 athletes and various assorted family members traveling to Echo Ridge near Chelan for the Echo Ridge Loppet.
The Loppet participants skied their choice of 10-, 20- or 30-kilometer events and enjoyed visiting a new venue.
It was beautiful and cold in Bend with bountiful snow both in the city and at Mt. Bachelor on Friday, MVNT director Leslie Hall reported. But the weather changed in time for the classic race on Saturday morning, bringing in some blustery snowfall to add to the challenge of the race, Hall said.
All MVNT skiers were slated to compete in 5K classic individual start races. The U16 boys were up first with Walker Hall taking the win, followed by Travis Grialou in second, Emerson Worrell in fifth, Peter Aspholm (battling illness) in eighth and Ian Delong in 12th. The U16 girls were up next, interspersed with the U18 women. Novie McCabe dominated the race, beating all the other girls by over a minute and a half. Gretta Scholz skied a solid race for third in the U16 class and Lindsay Worrell, skiing up an age class, finished eighth in that group.
Taya Delong was the lone U18 competitor and took a strong second-place finish.
The weather forecast for Sunday was horrific and thankfully it only partly came to pass, Hall said. Temperatures were around freezing at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center. Wet snow piled up before the race but Mt. Bachelor staff did a good job preparing the course so it was fine for the mass start freestyle races, according to Hall.
In order to give Novie McCabe a bit more competition, she started with the U16 boys for their 5K competition, Hall said. Walker Hall was able to win again, pulling away from McCabe in the last kilometer to put her in second place. Travis Grialou fourth, Emerson Worrell fifth and Ian Delong sixth for close to a sweep for the team. Peter Aspholm and Taya Delong were ill and sat out the event on Sunday.
In the ladies’ U16 event, Gretta Scholz used great tactics and finishing strength to move from fourth to second place in the last kilometer. Lindsay Worrell placed eighth in the tough U16 field.
There are four Junior National Qualifiers events over the winter, where the athletes will work to qualify for the PNSA team that will compete at Junior Nationals to be held in Lake Placid, New York, on March 4–12. The team will travel to Auburn Ski Club in California for the next qualifying event on Jan. 19–22.