The Methow Valley Nordic Team traveled to Sovereign Lake, B.C., on Dec. 8-9 for its first weekend of racing this season.
“Excellent conditions and cold temperatures greeted us as we arrived on the scene of the Sovereign Nor-Am Super Tour, which is a race for all North Americans with 453 competitors,” Methow Valley coach Leslie Hall reported.
Saturday started with a freestyle sprint for the older skiers (ages 18 and older) and a freestyle mass start race for younger skiers (ages 17 and younger).
“With top competitors from the U.S. and Canada in attendance, some of our skiers chose to ‘ski up’ with an older age category for the experience and competition,” Hall said.
In qualifiers, Bodhi Kuzyk and Hadassah Lurbur were unable to finish in the top 30 in their groups, and did not move on. Novie McCabe finished first and Ella Kuzyk seventh in the U20 women’s qualifiers, and both moved on to the heats.
“Ella finished third in her quarterfinal and was close to securing a lucky loser spot but did not advance in the end,” Hall said. “Novie went on to win each of her heats and the final for the junior women’s win.”
In the afternoon, Garrett Butts, Cooper Legler and Travis Grialou were in the mass start junior/juvenile boys’ 5-kilometer race.
“Garrett had a good start position and used it well for a strong third-place finish in this class,” Hall reported. “Cooper and Travis started at the back of the 60-person field with Travis moving up to sixth place and Cooper finishing in 30th.”
The junior/juvenile girls followed with a 5K freestyle mass start. “All of our skiers were at the back of the pack at the start with 79 skiers on the line,” Hall said. Jori Grialou moved up to fifth in her class, Greta Laesch 13th in her class, Lilia Kuzyk 22nd, Mahali Kuzyk 25th, Mariah Lucy 31st and Wyatt Albright 42nd.
The midget skiers were up next with mass start 2.5K. In the boys’ race, Ben Kaufman placed 23rd. Dashe McCabe and Stella Scholz fought their way through the field to finish fourth and 17th, respectively.
On Sunday, Garrett Butts chose to “ski up” with the Open Men’s race, skiing 15K on the tough World Cup course, Hall reported. He finished 19th in the U20 men’s category.
In the Open Women’s 10K race, Hadassah Lurbur placed 23rd in the Junior Women’s category, Ella Kuzyk was fifth in the Junior Women’s race, and Novie McCabe won the Junior Women’s category.
Greta Laesch skied a 5K race, placing ninth in the Junior Girls’ category. Bodhi Kuzyk and Cooper Legler competed in the Juvenile Boys’ (U16) two-by-2.5K race, with Kuzyk taking seventh and Legler 30th.
“Our large group of Juvenile Girls skied two laps of the 2.5K course with Eva Weymuller placing fourth with a strong race, Jori Grialou finishing ninth, Lilia Kuzyk 20th, Mariah Lucy 25th, Mahali Kuzyk 29th, and Wyatt Albright 43rd in this competitive field,” Hall reported. “Ben Kaufman placed 29th in his 2.5K classic race. Dashe McCabe was fifth and Stella Scholz eighth in the Midget Girls’ 2.5K race.”
Next up: Bend, Oregon, for the first Pacific Northwest Ski Association Junior Qualifier of the season. Racers will be earning points towards the goal of qualifying to go to Anchorage, Alaska, in March for the Junior National Championships.