The Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) hosted the final PNSA Junior Qualifying race at the McCabe Trail at Liberty Bell High School last weekend, with great weather and excellent grooming making ideal conditions for the Nordic racers taking part in the Race of the Methow.
MVNT fielded 38 skiers in events that included over 150 competitors from around the region, team director Leslie Hall reported. Ten MVNT competitors hit qualifying marks, she said.
Saturday was the classic sprint event which was run in a King’s Court format to allow all skiers to have four rounds of racing (qualifier, quarterfinal, semifinal and final). The U16 and older skiers raced on a challenging 1.1-kilometer loop while the U14 and younger skiers raced on a 900-meter loop.
After all four rounds the standings for MVNT competitors were: Eli Nielsen winning overall as well as the U20 men’s category; Walker Hall 2nd overall and winning the U16 category; Bodhi Kuzyk 2nd in U16; Travis Grialou 3rd in U16; Ian Delong 5th in U16; Novie McCabe 1st overall women and 1st in U18; Ella Kuzyk 3rd overall and 2nd in U18; Gretta Scholz 4th in U18; Liv Aspholm 4th in U16; Eva Weymuller 6th in U16; Keeley Brooks 8th in U16; and Lena Nelson 11th in U16.
At noon, the younger skiers hit the trail with the boys and girls going head-to-head in the heats but earning their own age group/gender medals.
Jori Grialou ended up 3rd overall and 1st in U14 girls; Mariah Lucy 2nd in U14 girls; Wyatt Albright 3rd in U14 girls; and then Lilia Kuzy 4th, Stella Scholz 5th, Mahali Kuzyk 9th and Thomasin Schkrohowsky 14th.
In the U12 category, Dexter Delaney was the 2nd boy and Emmet Bondi 5th; Dashe McCabe was the 1st U12 girl; Leki Albright 2nd; Marta Schkrohowsky 5th and Hannah Simmons 10th. In the U10 category, Ben Kaufman won the boys’ division; Emil Schkrohowsky 3rd; Yolo Salas 5th and Sam Polson 7th. The U10 girls’ event was won by Marit Nelson, with Wylie Smith 3rd and Sisu Clark 4th.
Sunday was another chilly but beautiful morning for racing with mass start skate races on the agenda for the day.
The older boys started off the day with a 10K freestyle race. Walker Hall chose to race against the older skiers and made a break late on the second lap to come in for the win just ahead of teammate Eli Nielsen in the U18/20 men’s category.
Novie McCabe led the way for the women’s U18/20 10K race. Ella Kuzyk was 2nd, Gretta Scholz 4th and Danielle Micheletti 17th (winning the master’s category).
Travis Grialou was the victor in the U16 boys’ 5K race with Bodhi Kuzyk in 2nd and Ian Delong in 3rd.
In the U16 girls’ 5K race, Eva Weymuller placed 5th, Keeley Brooks 7th, Liv Aspholm 8th and Lina Nelson 12th. In the U14 category, MVNT needs a few more boys, Leslie Hall said, but “our girls were super strong.” They swept the podium with Jori Grialou in 1st, Lilia Kuzyk in 2nd, Mahali Kuzyk 3rd, Mariah Lucy 5th, Stella Scholz 6th, Wyatt Albright 8th and Amelia Bondi 11th.
Ben Kaufman chose to ski up in the U12 boys’ race, winning with an exciting sprint finish. Dexter Delaney was 4th, and Emmet Bondi 6th.
Leki Albright won the U12 girls’ race with Marit Nelson (skiing up) in 2nd. In the U10 boys’ 1.5K race, Sawyer DeSalvo was 2nd, Sam Polson 3rd, Mason Michelson 6th and Yolo Salas 7th. Wylie Smith was 2nd in U10 girls, Sisu Clark 3rd and Ingrid Venable 5th.
The races were the final qualifiers races for Junior National Championships scheduled for March 5-11 in Soldier Hollow, Utah. Team members solidified their spots, with 10 MVNT athletes qualifying for the trip: Novie McCabe, Walker Hall, Ella Kuzyk, Gretta Scholz, Travis Grialou, Ian Delong, Bodhi Kuzyk, Eva Weymuller, Keeley Brooks and Eli Nielsen all meeting the qualifying standards.
Nielsen is opting out to go to Biathlon World Junior Championships in Estonia and Keeley Brooks is participating in a regional violin competition.
The team will travel to West Kelowna, B.C., this weekend for three days of racing at the BC Championships.