Eagle Valley Nordic gets ready for season-opener in Vail | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley Nordic gets ready for season-opener in Vail

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado

GYPSUM, Colorado ” The Eagle Valley Nordic team may be young, but the Devils possess one pivotal attribute.

They get after it in practice ” a key for success in the lung-scorching sport.

Eagle Valley hopes the hard work pays off when the season starts this Saturday. The Devils ” along with Battle Mountain, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain ” have a home meet Saturday to open the season. The boys race is at noon, followed by the girls at 12:45.

“They’re getting excited (to start the season),” Eagle Valley coach Sean Kerrigan said. “They are a little bit nervous. We’ve done some interval training, so they’ve got a taste of what it feels like to go hard. They are trying to translate that into going hard for 25 minutes. There are some the kids that raced last year, so they know what it’s all about.”

The roster lists 12 athletes, none of them seniors, on the squad this year. The boys’ team is made up of Casey Kerrigan, James Jagger, Ben Muehlethaler, Jason Cirkovic, Christian Garberg, Dan Woods and Wyatt Smith. Athletes on the girls’ side are Ann Carlin, Raina Gulick, Jessica Kline, Zoe Thrasher and Jo Jo Trifanova.

After doing dryland training to start the season, Eagle Valley has been able to work on snow for the past couple of weeks. It’s a new experience for many of the skiers.

“The kids are starting to pick it up,” Kerrigan said. “A lot of kids on the team, it’s their first time picking up Nordic skis.”

To accelerate the learning curve, Kerrigan is depending on the team’s veterans to help the younger athletes. Jagger said he is taking an active leadership role to help keep everyone motivated.

“The team, for this first race, is really realizing they have a lot of work to do,” Jagger said. “We’re trying to get ourselves ready.”

Fortunately for Eagle Valley, the terrain for Saturday’s race should be familiar. The Devils hold their practices at the Vail Nordic Center, and on Thursday, the team was able to actually train on the course.

That should help, especially for the athletes taking the starting line for the first time in a Nordic race.

“We’re starting to gel as a team,” Kerrigan said. “The leaders are starting to show themselves. That first race will kind of help establish the pecking order on the team. I kind of know who the fast skiers are on the boys team. The girls team, we’ll see who are the fast skiers.”

Eagle Valley will compete in seven races this season. Saturday’s meet is the only home race of the year for the Devils.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism