The Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) traveled to Midway, Utah, last weekend for the final Junior National Qualifier of the season, with athletes competing from all the western divisions of US Ski and Snowboard, plus Western Collegiate athletes. When it was all over, MVNT qualified 13 skiers for the Junior National Championships.
Friday (Feb. 14) was skate individual start races for all age categories. The men started the day with three laps of the challenging 3.3-kilometer course and over 160 men in the U18-Collegiate age categories.
“The courses were on man-made snow and with the cold nights and warm days, the trail was hard and fast,” team director Leslie Hall reported.
Walker Hall was 2nd in the U18 category, finishing 18th overall. Other U18 men’s’ results were Ian Delong in 27th, Aidan Whitelaw in 41st and Oliver Orkand in 80th.
All the women and girls 14 years and older raced a 5K individual skate race on a 2.5K loop. Novie McCabe won the U20 category, finishing 8th overall and “mixing right in with the strong collegiate skiers,” Hall said. Gretta Scholz finished 2nd to McCabe in the U20 category and 17th overall. In the U18 category, Keeley Brooks was 26th, Greta Laesch 27th and Eva Weymuller 59th. Jori Grialou led the U16 girls with a 12th-place finish followed by Stella Scholz in 41st and Mariah Lucy close behind her in 42nd.
The U16 boys raced the same course. Graham Sheley finished 55th and Alex Tareski 63rd. Dashe McCabe raced in the U14 girls 3.3K skate race with a strong 7th-place finish.
On Saturday (Feb. 15), the women led the way for the mass start classic races with the U18 through collegiate skier age categories skiing the three-lap 10K course. Novie McCabe finished 4th overall and won the U20 age group again. Gretta Scholz was 3rd in the U20. Eva Weymuller took 13th in the U18 girls with Keeley Brooks in 17th.
The men followed on the same course and Walker Hall won the U18 group with his 24th-place overall. Travis Grialou had a strong day finishing 7th in the U18 race with Ian Delong not far behind in 10th. Aidan Whitelaw and Oliver Orkand were 45th and 80th in the U18 class.
The U16 girls were up next with a mass start 5K on a different loop. Jori Grialou led MVNT with a strong 10th-place finish with Stella Scholz pushing from a ways back to 26th place and Mariah Lucy close behind in 30th.
The 14-15 -year-old boys also raced the 5K. Graham Sheley pushed himself to a 35th-place finish followed by Carter Sheley in 52nd and Alex Tareski in 76th. Dashe McCabe did the 3.3K loop again, this time finishing 2nd in an exciting push to the finish line.
Twelve MVNT members were named to the Junior National Teams and will travel to Truckee, California, for the Junior National Championships March 6-15 as part of the 36-person Pacific Northwest Division’s Team. They are: Walker Hall, Gretta Scholz, Travis Grialou, Ian Delong, Aidan Whitelaw, Greta Laesch, Keeley Brooks, Eva Weymuller, Jori Grialou, Stella Scholz, Mariah Lucy and Graham Sheley. Novie McCabe also qualified but she will be at the World Junior Championships in Oberweisenthal, Germany.