Soldier Hollow certainly displayed why they were the cross country venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics. There were 650 competitors J6 through OJ from the five western divisions Far West, High Plains, Intermountain, Pacific Northwest, and Rocky Mountain. All the skiing was on machine made snow on the sprint loop and a 3.2 km course that included the sprint loop. The trails were so well groomed. On the second day of racing it was cold and Soldier Hollow had nine guns making snow on courses to be used in the Junior National Championships that will be held there at Soldier Hollow March 5 – 10, 2012.
There was a sprint race the first day with the J3 and younger skiers doing wave starts. The Rocky Mountain Nordic Division was well represented and enjoyed some excellent results. No divisional team points were kept, but had there been points, RMN would have prevailed as the top division as everyone is looking forward to the Junior National Championships.
Tucker McCrerey from Summit continued to produce impressive results for this winter. He had the fastest qualifying time for the classic sprint, was 2nd in the A final, and he had the fastest junior time in the 15km mass start skate race. In the mass start race, Rocky Mountain had four out of the top five junior skiers and they were 3rd Cal Deline SSCV, 4th Mike Vigers SSCV, and 5th Max Scrimgeour SSWSC.
In the J1/OJ female class in the classic sprint, Steamboat Springs placed 2nd through 6th in the qualifying race with Emily Hannah, Haley Piske, Mary O’Connell, Lucy Newman, and Madison Keeffe. In the mass start skate race Emily Hannah was the fastest junior and Rocky Mountain had ten skiers in the first 18 places out of a field of 90 skiers. They were Hannah, Mary O’Connell SSWSC, Rachel Hampton DNSC, Emily Larson BNJRT, Haley Piske SSWSC, Kelsey Phinney BNJRT, Lucy Newman SSWSC, Madison Keeffe SSWSC, Eva Spaeh SSCV, Amy Katz DNSC.
The J2 male class was very exciting with five skiers, Cully Brown from Durango, Lars Hannah from Steamboat Springs, Sam Miller from Bozeman, Karsten Hokanson from Salt Lake City, and Forrest Smith from Crested Butte dominating this class. Results from the classic sprint were 1st Brown, 2nd Hokanson, 3rd Miller. Hannah was 5th and Smith was 7th and Smith won the B Final. In the mass start skate race it was Miller, Hokanson, Brown, Hannah, and Smith. The Junior Nationals are going to be extremely interesting and fun to watch the results from this class.
Hailey Swirbul from Aspen is a second year J3 skier and tested the waters as a J2 skier at Soldier Hollow. She recorded the best results in the classic sprints for the Rocky Mountain division with a 3rd place. Gretchen Burkholder SSWSC was 4th and RMN had the top four places in the B final, Hannah Hardenbergh SSCV, Katie Brodie SSWSC, Abbey Habermehl SSWSC, and Evelina Sutro CRMS respectively.
J2 females swept the top three podium spots in the mass start skate race (Hannah Hardenbergh, Gretchen Burkholder, and Abbey Habermehl) and placed seven in the top ten. 5th was Hailey Swirbul 6th Louren Jortberg, 9th Evelina Sutro CRMS, and 10th Hannah Peterson DNSC.
Kai Sherman from Crested Butte is a J3 male skier and he was a double winner in his class. He is listed in second place on the classic technique wave start. However he was award the Gold Medal and stood on top of the podium, but on the official results he is still listed in second place. The reason is that it looks like the skier listed ahead of him by two minutes in the wave start may have skied only one lap. The same skier placed 49th in the second day’s skate race 4.5 minutes behind Sherman. This certainly left the Chief of Competition, the Chief of Timing, and the TD suspecting that the young man may have only skied one lap in the wave start. It would be difficult for the race officials to keep track of the number of laps per skier in a wave start.
Steamboat Spring’s J3 skiers Jordi Floyd and Anna Burkholder were 2nd and 3rd in the wave start race and 2nd and 4th in the mass start race. Both results were behind Hannah Halvorsen from the Auburn Ski Club who was a double winner. The J3 female class is a very competitive and deep class. So congratulations to Floyd and Burkholder for their continued very impressive results this winter.
J4 male skiers Sven Tate from Steamboat Springs who had won all four of the RMN races leading up to Soldier Hollow tasted defeat for the first time this year. He was second in the wave start and was 4th in the mass start race. However a highlight for Tate was that he did beat the young man who was first in the wave start classic race where Tate was second.
In the J4 female class Avery Harrington from Steamboat Springs recorded a first in the classic technique wave start and a second place behind Sadie Cotton from Boulder in the mass start skate race. However the RMN J4 females had seven skiers in the top ten in the wave start. They were 4th Jaden Carlson BNJRT, 5th Eva Rosenbbloom-Bol BNJRT, 8th Gracie Shanley SSCV, 9th Railly Mewborn SSWSC, 10th Emma Blakslee SSCV. They had six in the top eight in the mass start race. These very impressive results were generated by skiers from Steamboat Springs, Boulder, and Vail.
J5 class Wiley Corra from Durango and Katy Floyd from Steamboat Springs were double winners at Soldier Hollow in the J5 class. RMN had over half the fields in each of those races.
The J6 female class from RMN produced the same result both days with Kendall Harrington from Steamboat Springs 1st and Ruby May from Durango 3rd. Ruby raced and skied on her first waxable skis.