Large group of locals make junior nationals in Nordic | VailDaily.com

Large group of locals make junior nationals in Nordic

A Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete pushes through a steep uphill section of the Maloit Park course in Minturn on Sunday, Feb. 11. The race was the final qualifier of the season for local athletes attempting to qualify for the US Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Junior National Championships; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail qualified 13 athletes.

MINTURN — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail will boast the largest representation of athletes at the US Ski & Snowboard Cross-Country Junior National Championship this year, with 13 young Nordic skiers now qualified.

The Nordic races at Maloit Park on Sunday, Feb. 11, marked the last chance for locals to make it to the championship, which is scheduled to take place at the Olympic venue in Soldier Hollow, Utah, in March.

For local teenagers in the world of cross-country skiing, making it to the US Ski & Snowboard Cross-Country Junior National Championship is an 11-month process.

They start May 1 with training.

"For a lot of these athletes, making it to the Junior Championships is a full-time gig," said Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic program director Dan Weiland. "We ski through March, and then they get April off, and then we start up again."

Season-long battle

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Weiland said for many of the athletes, it's a season-long battle.

"We didn't know until today, until all the points were tallied," Weiland said on Sunday. "There's so many different variables, so it's always a little stressful on the athlete and the coach."

Weiland said a feeling of relief could be perceived among those who received their assurance that they will be competing in junior nationals this year. For certain others on the bubble, however, there's still hope.

"We also have some athletes who will be named as alternates," Weiland said.

Among those qualified on Sunday was Marcus Gore, who will be racing in the U18 junior championships for 16- and 17-year-old racers. Gore, who also competes in the biathlon, was able to compete in last year's junior championships after earning alternate status.

"We had some kids ski as well as they could of and just miss it by a small amount," Weiland said.

LOCALS TO MAKE JUNIOR NATIONALS

Girls

U18

Gracie Shanley

Bridget Donovan

Sophia Grewal

Emma Blakslee

U16

Emma Reeder

Sharon Seabury

Haley Brewster

Katy Jane Hardenbergh

Molly Blakslee

Boys

U18

Nolan Herzog

Cameron Wolfe

Collin Wilson

Marcus Gore