Incline High's Evan Vomund and Brandon Herhusky have earned the honor of racing at the Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, from March 11-16.
The best junior skiers from across the country will compete, with Vomund and Herhusky racing for the Far West Nordic team.
Qualifying is primarily performance-based. Team members must race in at least four of seven designated races and qualification is based on race results and a quota system. Skiers must qualify in both freestyle (skate) and classic races.
Vomund and Herhusky's achievement is the culmination of a lot of effort. They both trained with the Auburn Ski Club (ASC) throughout summer, sometimes two times a day. Training included running, biking, roller-skiing and strength training. Herhusky continued his dry-land training with ASC during the fall while Vomund ran for Incline's cross-country running team.
Vomund, a junior, will compete in a 10-kilometer freestyle, a 10K classic, a sprint and a relay race. Looking at the events, he said, "The race I look forward to the most is the 10K freestyle. It is a very technical course, which suits me well."
Herhusky, a freshman, will compete in a 5K freestyle, a 5K classic, a sprint and a relay race. Herhusky is looking forward to the 1K sprint and wants to make it to the semifinals. He has other goals, too.
"Something I have been thinking about since last year is qualifying for the national J2 camp, which is reserved for the top 20 skiers at Junior Nationals," he said.
Both skiers are also focused on team performance and believe this year's Far West Nordic team is exceptionally strong.
"Last year the Far West team tied our second-best performance ever," Herhusky said. "This year's team is even stronger and I feel we can see our best results ever."
Far West Nordic's top skiers include Peter Holmes and Patrick McElravey, as well as Hannah Halvorsen and Katrin Larusson.
Skiing at the Birch Hill Recreational Area in Fairbanks will present some challenges to the racers from Tahoe's relatively comfortable climate. The average mid-March temperature in Fairbanks is 9 degrees. Altitude, however, is in their favor. They will be racing at an elevation of 900 feet above sea level.
Follow Vomund and Herhusky's performances at Junior Nationals at www.farwestnordic.org.