Park City Nordic Ski Club finishes first qualifying race of season
Club produces impressive results in Wyoming
The Park City Nordic Ski Club competed in the first Junior National Qualifier at Trail Creek Nordic Center at the base of Teton Pass in Jackson Hole, Wyoming Dec. 16 and 17. The two-day Nordic event brought over 300 racers from Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming not only competing for the win, but, for those athletes U16 and older, a chance to qualify to compete at the U.S. Junior Nationals.
The Johnny Curtis Memorial race in Jackson, Wyoming was the first of three races that will select athletes U16 and older to represent the Intermountain Division at the Junior National Championships March 3-11 in Lake Placid, New York.
Nineteen Park City Nordic Ski Club athletes competed over the weekend, bringing home eight podiums and 17 top-ten finishes. A warm wet snowstorm swept into Wyoming Thursday through Friday, bringing warm temperatures and heavy snow for Friday’s Classic Interval start race. Over 300 racers lined up to race the 3K and 5K loops. Park City coaches Gordon Lange, Ruff Patterson, Art Myshrall and Alex Jackson worked hard to prepare the athletes skis for the constantly changing weather conditions.
McKinley Hibl kicked off the day racing with a 3K victory in the FU14 category. Missy Murcko, Beanie Nixon and Elena Grissom all had strong results finishing 12th, 14th and 24th, respectively.
Wess Campbell fought hard for 10th place in the MU14 field. John Olson captured 14th place, only 13 seconds behind.
In the FU16 5K race, Sydney Palmer-Leger, Geneva Humbert and Mia Vinding skied into 4th, 9th and 34th places, respectively. Lane Myshrall skied his way to silver in the men’s’ U16 race. Skylar Patten skied well into 7th place.
The MU18 boys also saw strong results. Drew Palmer-Leger charged took third place, while Connor Patten, Karsten Beling and Tate Hoefler skied impressively into 5th, 11th place and 24th places, respectively.
Day 2 of racing brought an arctic cold front. To allow for warmer racing temperatures, the race was postponed for three hours. At noon, the sun was beating down and the temperature was cold, but not frigid. The trails were freshly groomed for a freestyle mass start race. Racers were seeded chevron style based upon USSA points or previous race results depending on age.
The MU16 group was the first to race. Skylar Patten and Lane Myshrall skied impressively taking third and fifth place. Sydney Palmer-Leger crossed the line first to take the win 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the FU16 race. Geneva Humbert had a strong race taking 14th.
Drew Palmer-Leger, Connor Patten and Karsten Beling worked through a tough U20/U18 men’s field to complete a challenging 10K race. Drew Palmer-Leger was able to ski in the lead pack, taking first in the U18. Connor Patten skied well into 8th place and Karsten Beling into 21st.
The next JNQ will be held in Sun Valley from Jan. 21-22. Soldier Hollow Nordic Center will also be hosting the 2017 L.L Bean Cross Country Ski Championships January 6-12, 2017. Many local junior athletes will be competing at this event for a chance to qualify for World Juniors, also held at Soldier Hollow in February
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The Youth Sport Alliance is planning on expanding its program through the rest of the county, and, depending on a grant from the Women’s Giving Fund, adding two part-time positions.