The North Series team had 27 athletes at Snow King in Jackson, Wyoming, for their first race series with two giant slalom events. For some of the skiers, this was their first race experience. Head Coach Adele Savaria was happy with how all of the athletes approached the weekend. “It was a great first weekend of racing. All of the kids’ hard work over the past month was shown in their races. They also demonstrated great team spirit by taking down each other’s coats and cheering for each other too! It was fantastic to see all of the smiles and to see our athletes have so much fun throughout the weekend.”
In the first giant slalom, SVSEF U12 girls took eight of the top 20 spots. Natalie Gowe finished fourth, Ruby Crist seventh, Taylor Hovey 12, Simone Tumolo 13, Madda Mourier-Floyd 14, Ava Agnew 18, Bridgette Normand 19 and Josie Sarchett 20.
In the second giant slalom, Natalie Gowe was again fourth, Ruby Crist ninth, Taylor Hovey 12, and Scarlet Rixon 20.
SVSEF had two athletes in the men’s U10 class; Jay Blackburn landed a podium in second, and Tommy Hovey was eleventh. In the U12 class for the first giant slalom, Max Meucci was fourth, Will Kogelmann eighth, Drew Kogelmann 14, Sacha Stern-Pre 16 and Jensen Pierre 19 for the top 20.
During the second day of racing, Jay Blackburn was again near the top of the field in third for U10s. Tommy Hovey finished 13. In the U12 class, Tucker Smith topped the podium, followed by teammate Max Meucci in second. Sacha Stern-Pre was 10, Drew Kogelmann 18, Abel Marx 19, Paxton Sammis 20 and Owen Walker 21.
U16 National Performance Series
U16 athletes Ryder Sarchett and Buey Grossman qualified to compete at the National Performance Series (NPS) at Burke Mountain, VT, January 9-12. The series brings together the best U16 athletes from around the country and is invitation-only. As part of the National Development System, athletes are selected based on high-level results over the past season at regional and national events. According to U.S. Ski and Snowboard, which runs the project along with club coaches from across the country, “stimulating long-term growth and preparing athletes for future international competition are the overarching goals.” The top six men and women from this series are invited to represent the U.S. at the Seven Nations Cup in Malbun, Liechtenstein, February 8-9. Based on his performance, Ryder has been selected as one of those six U.S. athletes invited to compete in this year’s Seven Nations Cup.
Ryder started the series off right in third in U16 NPS slalom on January 9, and teammate Buey Grossman finished seventh in the field of 15 finishers. Buey with sixth in the second slalom of the day, and Ryder did not start. In the giant slalom on the tenth, Buey finished 11 and Ryder did not finish. In the second giant slalom the next day, Ryder found the podium again in third, and Buey did not finish.
From the desk of Rick Kapala, cross country program director:
The SVSEF cross country ski team ventured to West Yellowstone this past weekend for the first of three national qualifier weekends over the next month. Snow conditions were exceptional and the local race organizers did the usual top notch job of hosting. Saturday the format was interval start distance races in classic technique while Sunday was mass start distance races in skate technique. What was unique about the weekend was that the NCAA Rocky Mountain Ski Conference co-hosted the races with USSA Intermountain, so the races featured many of the top collegiate skiers in the U.S. skiing alongside of the junior skiers. It was a great opportunity for our skiers to see the next level, as many of these same collegiate skiers also posted top results at U.S. Nationals recently completed in Anchorage, Alaska.
Highlights from the weekend
Logan Smith and Anja Jensen dominated the girls U16 category by posting two wins for Logan and two silvers for Anja. In addition, Sascha Leidecker made a solid bid in her efforts to qualify for Junior Nationals with a fifth and seventh among IMD juniors.
Sophia Mazzoni posted two podium finishes among IMD juniors in the U18/20’s, while Eve Jensen added a U18/20 IMD bronze. They were joined during the weekend in the IMD top ten by SVSEF juniors Ella Wolter, Kirsys Campbell and Lily Brunelle.
In the U14 girls class, Anja Grover posted two solid wins, while in the U12 girls class Berkley Canfield grabbed the top spot on the podium in her 2.5km classic race.
Among the older boys, Henry Raff led the way for SVSEF U18/20 boys with a fourth in the 10km classic.
Kai Nelson grabbed his first IMD top-ten with an eighth in the 5km mass start skate race.
Snow conditions are currently marginal at Soldier Hollow which is scheduled to host the nxt JNQ on Jan 26, 27 . The IMD will make a determination later in the week as to whether the races will be held as planned or relocated to another venue.