The Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) hosted the regional Junior National Qualifier races on the McCabe Trail at Liberty Bell High School last weekend — the third of four Pacific Northwest qualifying race weekends. Trips to California for Junior Nationals are the goal for many of the skiers ages 16 and up, and a trip to Minneapolis for some racing and World Cup viewing is an option for qualifying 12-13-year-old skiers, team director Leslie Hall reported.
Saturday (Feb. 1) was a King’s Court classic sprint, with skiers competing in a qualifying time trial, followed by three heats each The older skiers competed on a 1.25-kilometer course and those U14 on down raced an 800-meter loop.
“With unprecedented horrible weather greeting us in the morning, we were happy to see that the trails had been well-groomed and were firm with solid tracks,” Hall said.
Travis Grialou led the U18/20 men’s field with Aidan Whitelaw in 4th and Ian Delong in 6th, all competing in the A final. Cooper Legler was 14th and Oliver Orkand 21st. In the U16 boys’ field, Graham Sheley finished 11th, Carter Sheley 12th and Alex Tareski 16th.
In the girls’ race, Novie McCabe led the way all day, winning the A final for the U18/20 skiers by a good margin. Gretta Scholz was 3rd, Greta Laesch 4th, Keeley Brooks 5th and Lena Nelson 7th. In the U16 class, Jori Grialou led the way (skiing in the A final with the U18/20s). Stella Scholz finished 2nd for the U16s followed by Mariah Lucy in 5th. Wyatt Albright kept moving up through the day and finished a strong 7th.
The rain let up for the afternoon skiing for the U10-U14 age groups. Dashe McCabe took 1st in U14 girls race. Leki Albright was 3rd in the U14 girls’ group followed by Marta Schkrohowsky in 4th and Zoe Kaltenbach in 14th.
In U14 boys, Dexter Delaney finished 11th, Conrad Laesch 15th, Baker Smith 16th and Emmett Bondi in 18th. Ben Kaufman had a strong day leading the U12 boys category, with Aidan Sands in 6th, Emil Schkrohowsky in 10th, Cooper Buzzard 11th and Sam Polson 16th.
Marit Nelson battled back from a pole issue in the qualifier to win the U12 girls’ class with Wylie Smith in 8th, Josie Bolinger 9th and Sisu Clark 10th. In the U10 girls’ group, Clara Ramsay George was 2nd, Madison Williams 4th and Maren Sands 6th. Dylan Sands was 2nd in the U8 boys’ group.
“In true Methow fashion, the skies cleared and the trail froze solid and Sunday was a fantastic day of blue skies and fast tracks for the mass start freestyle races,” Hall reported.
The day started with the U18/20 men racing 10K. Walker Hall skied away from the pack early for the win, followed by Travis Grialou, who put on a strong push to ski away from the 3rd-place racer. Ian Delong finished 6th overall, Cooper Legler was 15th and Oliver Orkand moved up through the race, finishing 20th.
The U18/20 girls were next, and Novie McCabe put the home course advantage to use, crushing the field in her 10K race. Other Methow Valley skiers had a strong day with Gretta Scholz in 2nd, Greta Laesch 3rd, Keeley Brooks 5th and Lena Nelson in 10th.
The U16 boys skied two fast laps of the 2.5K course for their mass start 5K race. Graham Sheley battled back-and-forth with several skiers to finish in 7th place, Alex Tareski 11th and Carter Sheley 16th.
The U16 girls had a stellar day in their 5K race with Jori Grialou leading the way, followed by Mariah Lucy and Stella Scholz in 2nd and 3rd. Wyatt Albright finished 16th.
The U12/14 skiers had a mass start of 65 skiers for their 3K loop. In U14 girls’ competition, Dashe McCabe was 1st, Leki Albright 2nd, Marta Schkrohowsky 6th and Zoe Kaltenbach 14th. For the U14 boys: Dexter Delaney 10th, Conrad Laesch 16th, Emmett Bondi 17th.
In U12 girls, Marit Nelson was 1st, Wylie Smith 9th, Sisu Clark 10th and Josie Bolinger 11th. For the U12 boys, Ben Kaufman was 1st, Aidan Sands 4th, Sam Polson 13th, Cooper Buzzard 15th and Sam Kaltenbach 15th.
The U8/U10 skiers did a mass start 1.5K race with these results: U10 girls, Clara Ramsay George 2nd, Madison Williams 4th, Maren Sands in 5th. U8 boys: Nils Smith 2nd, Dylan Sands 3rd, Jude Polson 4th. U8 girls: Neva Clark 1st.
The final Junior Qualifier for Junior Nationals for the U16 and older skiers will be in Soldier Hollow, Utah, Feb. 14-15. The races will be for Western college skiers as well as qualifiers for several Western regions. The Minneapolis team was selected based on the three earlier race weekends. Dashe McCabe and Marta Schkrohowsky were selected for the trip. U12 skiers Marit Nelson and Ben Kaufman both skied well enough to earn the option to go on the trip.