Twenty-eight Far West Nordic Junior competitors recently returned from their best showing in nine years at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Junior Nationals in Stowe, Vt.
Placing sixth overall in the championship “Alaska Cup,” Far West competed against the best cross-country skiers in the country, hailing from traditionally strong areas such as New England, Minnesota, the Rockies, Alaska and more.
Far West received 444 points, more than any other year since they placed fifth at the 2005 championships here in Truckee (then called the “Junior Olympics”).
In addition to the overall team placing, there were a plethora of excellent individual results, including two National Championships by Peter Holmes of Tahoe City (Unleashed Coaching), winning both the Classic Mid-Distance 10-kilometer event on Monday and following it up with a rare double at the Classic Sprint race on Wednesday.
Holmes also made it to the podium with second place in the Men’s Under-20 relays, moving up an age division to partner with Tahoe City’s Patrick McElravey (Middlebury College) and Shane Christian (Unleashed Coaching).
Truckee’s Hannah Halvorsen (Sugar Bowl Academy) was also on the podium twice during the competitions, taking third place in both the Women’s U16 5-kilometer Classic and the 5K Freestyle race, and medaling in the Classic Sprints with a fourth-place finish and another fourth place by leading off teammates Lizzie Larkins and Jenna Rohlf (both from Auburn Ski Club) in the Women’s U16 age class.
Christian was also a multi-medalist (top 10 in individual races, top five in the relays) with a sixth place in the Men’s U20 15-kilometer Freestyle event.
In the relay event alone, Far West placed a top 10 in five out of the six age/gender divisions.
Topping off the week was a special honor given to Holmes as the recipient of the Dave Quinn Award. Representatives of each of the 10 national divisions voted on the athlete who best exemplifies the ideals of not only outstanding race results, but a true love of the sport, leadership, and work ethic. This is Far West’s first award of this kind since 2004.
In addition to the athletes, Far West Nordic was represented by a hard-working crew of eight coaches, including Martin Benes, Mary ellen Benier, Caitlin Curran, Gustavo Johnson, Mark Nadell, Jeff Schloss, August Teague and Holly Whitney.
Far West Nordic and Auburn Ski Club are already starting preparations for the Junior National 2015 Championships in Truckee, with an organizational meeting for the Nordic Community on March 29 at the ASC Training Center on Donner Summit. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the event.
For more information on the 2014 Junior Nationals, go to Far West Nordic’s website at www.farwestnordic.org. Click here for photos from the event.