SSCV shines in final two Junior National cross-country ski races

Horning claims individual silver medal in classic mass start as girls finish second in club standings

SSCV Nordic skier Rose Horning won the silver medal in the U16 classic mass start race on Friday.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

When Truckee or Sun Valley hosts the Junior National cross-country championships, usually athletes have at least one day of spring skiing in short sleeves. As the 2022 event concluded at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the weekend, athletes reached for an extra neck gaiter.

While the mercury played tag with negative temps all week, the racing from Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s 15 athletes was as hot as ever.

Going against the best U20, U18 and U16 skiers in the country, the club helped the Rocky Mountain Nordic (RMN) region to a fifth place finish in the Alaskan Cup team standings, a competition between each of the 10 nationwide regions (Alaska, High Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Far West, Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain, Intermountain, Midwest, and New England).

“I think we had a pretty good week,” head coach Eric Pepper stated. “It was probably a decent balance of feeling successful and feeling like we can do more.”

When organizing athletes’ performances by club instead of region, SSCV ranked eighth out of 34 clubs. In the girl’s club race, they were second. “That is quite an accomplishment,” Pepper said.

Support Local Journalism

Highlighting the final two events — a mass start distance classic ski on Friday and a mixed gender relay on Saturday — was a silver medal from U16 athlete Rose Horning. After finishing right behind teammate Lucy Perkins and narrowly missing the sprint podium on Wednesday, Horning fought off Maeve Ingelfinger by three seconds to claim the second slot behind the prodigious Minnesota state champion Sydney Drevlow.

Gracen Kennedy bolstered the depth of the U16 girls, placing eighth, 35-seconds off the podium, while Cassidy Wright finished 19th and Perkins wound up 25th. Horning and Perkins anchored the top RMN mixed-gender relay team the next day, helping them to a fourth place finish out of 35 squads in the inaugural event.

Sarah Bivens finished sixth as the top Rocky Mountain region athlete in the U20 10-kilometer mass start. She would join forces with fellow RMN athletes to claim fifth out of 26 teams in their mixed relay as well.

Adele Horning led the way in the U18 girls mass start, placing 16th; Isabel Glackin was 51st. Summit High School student Nina Schamberger walked off the tarmac in returning from the Junior World Championships in Norway a week ago to finish second in the race, 32-seconds behind New England skier Ava Thurston, who was dominant all week.

On the boy’s side, Tyler Wright finished 59th out of 93 athletes in the U18 classic, while Reiner Schmidt, Andrew Lombardi and Henry Reynolds were 43rd, 52nd and 67th, respectively, in the U16 race.

“I look forward to our next opportunity to ski courses at sea level like this,” commented Pepper.

“These courses in particular ski very fast and I think are very oriented towards power; we can clearly see that there’s some areas we excel at and some areas where we can improve.”

Support Local Journalism