Nordic Club strong in Montana |

Nordic Club strong in Montana

Submitted by Lisa Palmer-Leger,

The first Junior Olympic Qualifier race was held at the Rendezvous ski trails in West Yellowstone, Montana, last weekend. Over 230 junior athletes from the Intermountain West competed in the first of the three JNQ races. The JNQ races are a series of races that will select the athletes (U16 and older) that will represent the Intermountain Division at the Junior Olympics March 8-15 in Truckee, California. Utah, along with Idaho, Montana, and Western Wyoming, is part of the Intermountain Division (IMD).

Thirty-one Park City Nordic Ski Club athletes competed over the weekend. PCNSC competed fiercely and came home with 26 top-10 finishes, including 12 in the top three.

On Saturday, the conditions were perfect for racing. Cold temperatures and good snow made it easier for the coaches and athletes to prep and wax skis. Racers started off with a interval start freestyle race. The U12 girls and boys kicked off the race with a two-kilometer loop. Janne Koch skied his way to second place, Liam Wallis took fifth and John Olson 12th. Sabine Wilson skied her way to second place in the U12 girls category. McKinley Hill placed fifth.

The U14 racers skied a 3K loop. Lane Myshrall took fifth in the boys’ category. Mila Leger Redel had an impressive race, winning the girls’ U14. Stine Koch, Kate Young, Lucy Flitton and Mia Vinding finished 11th, 16th, 22nd and 27th, respectively.

The U16, U18 and U20 skiers all skied a 5K loop that included Telemark Hill. The course went both up and down Telemark Hill, complete with a dicey corner on the downhill section. Drew Palmer-Leger skied his way to the podium with a second-place finish. Connor Patten fought for fifth place. Skyler Patten, Tate Hoefler and Karsten Beling placed eighth, 20th and 26th. Alex Jackson, racing in the men’s U18, finished ninth.

In the girls category, Sydney Palmer-Leger placed fourth in the U16 race. Sienna Leger Redel, Tracy Kucherak, Claire Oberg and Victoria Olson skied to 12th, 20th, 24th and 28th place. Leah Lange had another impressive race, winning the women’s U18 race. Teammates Riley Douglas, Julia Lazzaroni, Katy Bonacci, Lindsey Adams and Lydia Strohl earned fifth, eighth, ninth, 21st and 24th. Sophie McDonald skied fast for a first-place finish in the U20 women’s race and Brenna Egan finished third.

Recommended Stories For You

The classic race held on Sunday was another interval start race. The warm temperatures and new snow made the waxing for the kick zone interesting. Coaches Gordon Lange, Emma Garrard and Kirsten Stray-Gundersen put their skills to the test trying to "nail" the wax for each and every skier as conditions changed.

The younger skiers started off Sunday’s race. Janne Koch skied hard for a first-place finish in the boys U12. Teammate Liam Wallis captured the second step on the podium and John Olson skied to eighth place. Sabine Wilson had an impressive second-place finish in the girls U12, while McKinley Hill skied to fourth place.

Lane Myshrall also skied to fourth place in the boys U14. Strong results came from Mila Leger Redel as she skied her way to second place in the girls U14. Georgiana Fisher, Kate Young, Lucy Flitton and Mia Vinding skied into 10th, 15th, 26th and 29th place.

More impressive results came from the U16 boys. Drew Palmer-Leger skied his way to a fifth-place finish, while teammates Connor Patten, Karsten Beling, Styler Patten and Tate Hoefler earned 12th, 18th, 19th and 27th place. Alex Jackson took 10th place in the men’s U18 10K race. The U16 and U18/U20 girls once again dominated the podium for the classic race. Sydney Palmer-Leger skied her way to third place in the U16 girls. Sienna Redel Leger placed fourth, only 27 seconds back. Tracy Kucherak took 18th, Claire Oberg and Victoria Olson finished 19th and 22nd, respectively.

The U18/U20 girls also skied 10K. Powerhouse Leah Lange went two-for-two with another win in the women’s U18. Riley Douglas took fifth place and Julia Lazzaroni took seventh. Lindsey Adams and Lydia Strohl finished 15th and 18th. Sophie McDonald had another great race finishing second, only 44 seconds back. Brenna Egan raced hard for an impressive third place.

It was a great weekend for the Park City Nordic Ski Club with great skiing and impressive finishes. The next JNQ will be held at Soldier Hollow on Jan. 30-31. Because it is a Super Qualifier, other divisions are invited to race for podiums as well. It should be a very exciting weekend of racing. Hopefully these great results in West Yellowstone, Montana, will inspire our athletes to continue skiing fast like PCNSC alumni Rosie Brennan and Liz Guiney. Rosie Brennan won two U.S. National titles at the U.S. Nationals in Houghton, Michigan, and raced to sixth place in the Otepaa World Cup freestyle team sprint in Estonia this week. Liz Guiney, also from the PCNSC, took third at U.S. Nationals.