Martin gives up weekends for higher goals |

Martin gives up weekends for higher goals

Nordic skiers frequently remind their Alpine brethren cross country is sometimes an uphill battle.

South Tahoe High’s Cory Martin has been trying to climb not only the hills on his team’s California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation circuit, but to reach a higher level of competition. On Monday, he found out he was on his way. Martin qualified for the Nordic Junior Olympics and the Far West ski team with his performance in a qualifier on Saturday.

“(It was) just to take my skiing to a different level than just high school skiing,” said Martin, a senior who has skied for South Tahoe for four years and has been shooting for a spot in the JOs for the same amount of time.

The JOs begin with 1-kilometer sprints March 6, and continue with a classical race March 8. The skiers in the JI – like Martin – and OJ age groups ski a 10K race on March 8.

Making the Far West team demanded more out of Martin than even most Nordic skiers endure. When winter on the South Shore started off slowly with low snowfall totals, it demanded Martin find his own snow to use for training.

“I think it probably would have been the same, maybe a little faster in one or the other, but a lot of the other kids are doing both,” said Martin, one of South Tahoe’s most consistent skiers. Heading into the state championships, Martin sits among the top five boys overall.

But those efforts also demanded Martin race twice a week, hitting the trail for CNISSF events a day or two before the Far West qualifiers.

“He’s racing when other kids are home watching TV, kicking back, so it takes a lot of effort on his part, dedication,” said Martin’s South Tahoe coach, Lynn Harriman. “He’s really showing a spirit, a dedication, a willingness to work hard.”

Martin locked his Far West spot down at Saturday’s Tahoe City Classic race at the Tahoe Cross Country Center near Northstar-at-Tahoe. He is one of 24 racers on the team, which includes competitors both male and female, in three different age divisions. Junior racers must ski in three of the season’s four races and have a time within six percent behind the average of the top- three finishing times in the age group.

The biggest difference between the two levels of competition for Martin was the atmosphere. The senior – also a member of South Tahoe’s Nevada state championship cross country running team – didn’t find the transition difficult.

“I think I kind of like the atmosphere of the Far West races,” he said. “You just make the transition as best you can and deal with it.”

And the extra races have been beneficial. Martin said he feels great, and hopes to carry the advantage of training more than 6,000 feet above sea level down to 400 feet above in New Hampshire.

“This is probably the best shape I’ve been in throughout high school, and I think that’s one of the reasons I can race in two races in a weekend,” Martin said.

Martin is working with Harriman, and his Far West coach, Glenn Jobe, on technique for the Junior Olympics.

“I think a lot of it is just to see how I can stack up against the best juniors in our country, but I don’t know, maybe I’d like to see a top-40 finish,” Martin said. “I think it’s just going to take a lot of hard work from now until March 5 and a lot of focus, and not getting sick.”

But the CNISSF races aren’t far from his mind. Martin returns to action on Friday at the Auburn Ski Club, where he’s raced twice before this year, and likes the course.

“I’m definitely concentrating on my finish at state,” he said. “That’s important for me. It’s my last year.”

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