Rocky Mountain Nordic (RMN) was second in the final tally of
points in the competition among the ten Nordic Divisions that are represented
at the Junior National Cross Country events. RMN had never finished higher than fourth in
previous Junior Nationals for the Alaska Cup.
RMN usually held a tight grip on fifth place.
New England won by a large margin. RMN was happy with second place. RMN demonstrated strength in all four
competitions, the sprints, the mass start, the interval start, and the
relays. RMN had did not win a gold medal
until the relays and then they won the J1 male class in a very exciting
race. The team was made up of Cal
Deline, Christian Shanley, and Max Scrimgeour.
A Gold Medal was also won in another exciting relay with the OJ male
class. The team was Charlie Von Thaden,
Mike Vigers, and Tucker McCrerey. The J1
female class of Mary O’Connell, Rachel Hampton, and Emily Larson also captured
a gold medal in another very exciting relay.
The sprint competition was the first event and RMN placed
second behind New England as a division and two points ahead of Mid West. In past Junior Nationals the sprints have not
been a strong event of RMN. The goal leading
into the sprints was to qualify 25 skiers to move on to the heats. RMN qualified 31 skiers.
Rocky Mountain knows the course well at Soldier Hollow and
they enjoy skiing at a lower altitude.
All the other divisions race at lower altitude and they were concerned
at skiing at a high altitude. Rocky
Mountain actually went down to a lower altitude to race at Soldier Hollow.
Cully Brown from Durango had an emergency appendectomy two
weeks before the first race at the Junior National Championships. He still managed to place 3rd in
the sprints and 2nd in the interval start classic race. Cully likes the classic technique and he
demonstrated that he can go fast skiing classic.
Charlie Von Thaden, who has taken a Post Graduate year of
training and racing in Steamboat Springs, was the Rocky Mountain nominee for
the Dave Quinn Award. Jesse Knori from
Sun Valley, Idaho was the eventual winner of this outstanding award. It is quite an honor just to be nominated for
this very prestigious award.
The 15 coaches who represent seven different clubs worked
together to provide the support for the respective skiers. In the races, a pair of race skis were
handled seven to eight different times getting skis prepared by cleaning and
waxing each pair for the competitions.
In the interval race, there were three different split timing stations
giving information to skiers as to where they were in relationship to the
competitors. Coaches now use their
IPhones to provide splits. It is a lot
easier to use and quicker that the old style split timer that costs $700 to
$800. I am a little bias, but I believe
the level of support Rocky skiers receive may have been a cut above other
divisions. The Wax Techs, Dan Weiland,
Eric Pepper, Brian Tate, and Nick Brown were awesome as were the coaches, Josh
Smullin and Lenka Palnova who spent a
lot of time testing the wax.
Rocky Mountain Nordic took 48 skiers, 15 coaches to the JNs
in Soldier Hollow, Utah March 3 – 11, 2012.
It was a fun week and we used a lot of sun screen.