Junior Nationals CoverageMarch 12, 2012
Skinnyski.com spent March 4th-11th covering the Junior Nationals competition at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. We owe a big thanks to Maplelag Resort for helping underwrite a portion of our 2012 Junior National coverage!
Junior Nationals: Classical Sprints CoverageMarch 5, 2012
A beautiful morning in Soldier Hollow for the opening event of the 2012 Junior Nationals, the 1.3K classical sprints. Midwest skiers posted some impresive qualifying times on a fast course in the morning. Eric Slater topped the J1 boys field, Zach Golberg 9th; Ben Saxton 6th OJ boys; Nichole Bathe 9th J1; Claire Galvin 2nd OJ girls, Elizabeth Simak 4th, Nicolette Amber 6th; Mattie Watts 4th J2 girls. Overall, the Midwest qualified over 25 skiers for the afternoon sprint heats. In the afternoon sprint heats, Midwest skiers seemed to encounter some technical issues with the very warm and wet conditions as a few skiers lost a race lead after being outglided on the long descent into the stadium. The bright spots on the afternoon were a near total domination by the OJ girls, placing five Midwest girls and one transplant in the final - Paige Schember 1st, Rachel Mason (GL) 2nd, and Sharmila Ahmed 3rd. Alayna Sonnesyn posted some strong races, finishing 3rd for J2 girls. Zach Goldberg was 5th, Harris Dirnberger 6th in the J1 boys final. Kyle Bratrud (OJ) and Steve Hokanson (J2) won their B finals. The Midwest stands just two points out of second place in the Alaska Cup team standings! Racing continues Wednesday with mass start skate races.
Junior Nationals: Freestyle CoverageMarch 7, 2012
Wednesday morning at Soldier Hollow brought another day of epic racing in the 2012 Junior Nationals competition. The story of the day was the boys OJ 15K freestyle race. Canadian Daviod Palmer broke away by the second lap and moved out to nearly a 30 second lead going into the final lap. Midwest skiers Kyle Bratrud and Ben Saxton lead a group of roughly six skiers in pursuit. Saxton, using a pair of fast skis and some big lungs, put the hammer down on the final long climb, and caught Palmer as the two came into the stadium together, setting up an incredible sprint to the finish, won in a photo finish by Saxton! The Midwest OJ girls continued their strong run with Sharmila Ahmed overtaking teammate Elizabeth Simak in the final K as the pair finished 1-2. In the J2 girls race, Alayna Sonnesyn had another stellar race, moving smartly up the field and taking the lead on the final climb. But like the classic sprints, Sonnensyn was outglided on the descent and dropped back to settle for third. Photos and results up now. Racing resumes Friday with the classical interval start events.
Junior Nationals: Classical CoverageMarch 9, 2012
Conditions returned to "normal" spring weather Friday for the Junior Nationals classical races -- Bright sunshine, with temperatures starting in the low to mid 20s to start and shooting up to the 40s by the end of the racing just before noon. While not quite as strong a performance on the Midwest team as the previous events, there were still some solid performances on the trail. Ben Saxton continued his top form, finishing second in the boys 10K OJ race. Elizabeth Simak also stayed on the podium, finishing third OJ today. Other top results: Paige Schember 7th OJ, Nicolette Amber 9th, Sharmila Ahmed 11th, Claire Galvin 16th, Alice Flanders 18th; Nichole Bathe 6th J1, Delaney FitzPatrick 13th; Alayna Sonnseyn 9th J2, Vivian Hett 17th, Rocci Wolhk 19th; Scott Johanik 13th OJ, Kyle Bratrud 15th; Adam Martin 5th J1; Steve Hokanson 12th J2. Racing action concludes Saturday morning with the 3 X 3K relays.
Junior Nationals: Relay CoverageMarch 10, 2012
Junior Nationals at Soldier Hollow in Utah wrapped up Saturday morning with the exciting 3X3K team relays. For the Midwest, it proved to be a mix of surprises and confirmations. The OJ girls made good on their dominance this week with a solid victory. Alayna Sonnesyn skied a great anchor leg for the J2 girls, taking the team from 5th to nab 3rd in a photo finish. And the J1 trio of Sam Elfstrom, Adam Martin and Jan Ketterson pulled off a nice third place finish.