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Methow Valley Nordic Club Racing

photoOlivia Ekblad sporting bib #1 in her quarterfinal heat. Photo courtesy of the Methow Valley Nordic Club.

The Methow Valley Nordic Team’s older competition skiers traveled to Soldier Hollow, Utah, to race in the Super Junior Qualifier last weekend. There were 650 skiers! It is always a great experience for our skiers to see so many other like-minded peers and to race on the excellent trails where the 2002 Olympics were held. 

 The classic sprint competition was on Friday, Feb. 7. The weather decided to behave like typical Pacific Northwest weather and it was damp and warm rather than dry and cold, which didn't phase the coaches from the Northwest. We had a great start to the day with Taya Delong qualifying in 7th and Maya Seckinger in 14th in the U16 girls field. They both moved on to quarterfinals later in the day. Danielle Mott was 38th and did not make it into the heats. 

In the U18/20 ladies' race, Olivia Ekblad raced her way around with the fastest qualifying time of the morning in her field of 84 racers. She was followed by Ella Hall in 16th and Claire Waichler in 29th so they all advanced to the rounds. Elise Putnam was 49th and did not move on. 

The weather continued to warm and the tracks glazed with spots of windblown powder, keeping the coaches on their toes. Both Taya and Maya were eliminated in their quarterfinals. They finished 18th and 28th on the day.  In the older girl's competition, Ella was eliminated in a close battle for 2nd in her quarterfinal. Claire missed moving on, but Olivia won her quarterfinal and advanced to the semis. Olivia battled to a close second in her semifinal and moved on to the finals!  She had slippery skis in the final and ended up in 4th place -- a great effort!  Ella was 15th and Claire 24th in the final reckoning. 

photoThe Midget Sprint podium with Peter Aspholm in 1st and Emerson Worrell in 3rd. Photo courtesy of the Methow Valley Nordic Club.

The skate mass start race was held Saturday, Feb. 8,  with some more wet snow falling and lots of skiers. The U16 ladies raced a 5k on a tough and hilly course. Taya Delong finished 23rd with the hard fighting Danielle Mott right behind her in 24th. Maya Seckinger was 43rd. The older girl's did two laps of the tough course. Olivia Ekblad had another strong day and finished 12th. Claire Waichler had a great day and worked her way up to 16th, followed by Ella Hall in 22nd and Elise Putnam in 51st. 


Complete results can be found at:


After six races Taya Delong, Ella Hall, Olivia Ekblad and Claire Waichler have met the qualifying criteria for Junior Nationals so they will be traveling to Stowe, Vermont, in early March to compete against  the best juniors in the country. There are still two races left, this coming weekend at Mt. Spokane, so there is still a chance Maya Seckinger also will make the team. 

Young skiers in Canada

Our younger skiers traveled to Salmon Arm, B.C., for the British Columbia Midget Championships -- an annual event for Canadian 10-12 year olds. The skiers compete against other kids of the same birth year in two events, a classic distance race and a skate sprint. There also is a team relay with all ages mixed.


It was chilly in Salmon Arm, but the Methow skiers made their mark. They started Saturday with a 2k classic race. In the 2004 girls event Jori Grialou was 5th. The 2003 girls had Liv Aspholm in 3rd, Lindsay Worrell in 4th, Keeley Brooks in 5th and Lena Nelson in 7th. The 2002 girls had Josephine Cole in her first race ever placing 16th.


The 2003 boys were led by Zane Strom in 3rd with Aidan Catlin in 13th.  The 2002 boys were led by Walker Hall in 3rd, Ian Delong in 5th and Travis Grialou in 7th. Our 2001 skiers shone with Novie McCabe taking 2nd and Gretta Scholz 11th in the girls field. Peter Aspholm won the coveted oldest boys' event. Emerson Worrell was in 3rd and Michael Mott in 15th. 


Later Saturday, they were  back at it with the relays consisting of two  classic legs followed by two skate legs.  The "Faster than Furious" girls’ team of Novie McCabe, Lindsay Worrell, Gretta Scholz and Liv Aspholm placed 2nd in the 25 team field. The second Methow Team "GRRLS" took 11th with Lena Nelson leading off, followed by Josephine Cole, Jori Grialou and Keeley Brooks.


The boys were not to be outdone by the girls and the "Chomper Bompers" -- Peter Aspholm, Ian Delong, Emerson Worrell and Walker Hall raced to a solid 2nd place in the 21-team field. They were followed by the "Olympic Chaos Force" of Zane Strom, Aidan Catlin, Michael Mott and Travis Grialou.


The Canadians like to recognize those who ski well technically and Novie McCabe was one of the five kids recognized for her classical technique. 


Skate sprints were set for Sunday, Feb. 9, and the start was delayed slightly due to the cold Canadian weather. The classic results were used to rank the skiers for the heats. 


Again the Methow was a strong force with Jori Grialou placing 3rd in the 2004 girls sprint. In the 2003 boys' sprint Aidan Catlin used his calm strong skiing to place 2nd. He was followed by Zane Strom in 3rd.


In the girls' 2003 competition, Lindsay Worrell placed 2nd, Liv Aspholm 3rd, Keeley Brooks 6th and Lena Nelson 8th. The 2002 boys had Walker Hall in a dead even tie for 3rd, Ian Delong in 8th and Travis Grialou in 10th.  Josephine Cole was 19th in the 2002 girls. The 2001 boys were again led by Peter Aspholm in 1st, Emerson Worrell in 3rd and Michael Mott in 17th.  Novie McCabe placed 4th and Gretta Scholz 9th for the 2001 girls. 

Keeley Brooks was recognized for her skating technique. And for overall team points, the Methow Valley Nordic Team was second  among the 15 or so clubs represented. 


Results can be found at:,, and at under BC Midgets sprint final results. 


Leslie Hall is the Methow Valley Nordic Team program director and all-around coach. She is a three-time Olympian, five-time World Championship team member and an 11-time U.S. National Champion. She has coached for MVNT since 1997.



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