bulletin board
events calendar
business directory

best friend
news briefs

Follow Us
Facebook youtube


Methow Valley Nordic Team report

We are just back from Bend, Oregon, where the Methow Valley Nordic Ski Team juniors had their second weekend of Pacific Northwest Ski Association qualifying races. They were attempting to place well to earn a chance to race at Junior Nationals in Vermont in March. 

photoOlivia Ekblad leads the train of U16/18 girls in the mass start skate race in Bend, Oregon. Photo by Wendy Waichler

It was a long and foggy drive to Bend, but the skiers managed the travel well and we showed up on Saturday morning ready to race on the wonderful snow at Mt. Bachelor.  Snow levels are much lower than normal but it was good skiing and fast conditions. The courses were tough and it was the first time some of the skiers had raced at a higher elevation (6,000 ft.), which made for an additional challenge.

Saturday was devoted to mass start skate competitions for all racers.  We had a few U14 (under age 14) skiers with us, and Novie McCabe showed the other PNSA skiers how it should be done with a commanding win in the girls’ U14 race.

Walker Hall won the boys' U14 race even though the organizers were not prepared for the competitors to finish so soon and the lead boys had to dodge spectators and course barriers to get to the finish line.  Despite the confusion, Peter Aspholm came in a close third. A skier from Bend snuck ahead of him at the finish.

The ladies all raced together in the 5k mass start race. The field spread out but the Methow ladies hung tough near the front and impressed us all with their speedy downhill finish.

Claire Waichler came from third to first at the finish line for her first ever win in a PNSA qualifier. Ella Hall was tight on her heels in second. Olivia Ekblad finished fourth, and Elise Putnam took sixth in the U18 ladies category. 

In the U16 race, Taya Delong finished in third and Danielle Mott in eighth. The U18/20 men all started together for a tough two-laps of the same course.  Jake Harrop finished eighth in the U20 group, and Geza Sukovaty, racing in his first 10k, finished 19th. 

Saturday's results can be found online >>

photoClaire Waichler, Ella Hall and coach Leslie Hall pose in the Bend, Oregon, sunshine. Waichler took a first place and Hall a second place in races helping qualify them for the upcoming Junior Nationals. Photo by Wendy Waichler.

Sunday was a classic race with a Pursuit start, meaning those that finished first left the start line first and were chased by all the other racers. Times and awards were based on their actual race time.

Novie McCabe left the gate first and managed to stay in front the whole 3k for the ladies' U14 race.  Walker Hall was the first male finisher, but was second in the classic race with Peter Aspholm close behind in third.

The U16/U18 skiers all started together. Ella Hall took second place in the U18. Claire Waichler was third, Olivia Ekblad fourth, and Elise Putnam finished fifth.

This was a strong showing for the Methow ladies and an impressive classic result once again from Elise, who is focusing on biathlon. That means the expectation is that she would be a stronger skater (biathletes only skate), but Elise is having great classic results this season. 

In the U16 ladies, Taya Delong finished in third behind a couple of strong Leavenworth skiers, and Danielle Mott had a better day, ending up in fifth. 

In the boys' 10k classic, Geza Sukovaty placed 19th and Jake Harrop improved in the U20 men's race to place fourth in that category.

When Sunday's results are compiled they will be on


We are now halfway through the qualifying races for Junior National selection. To qualify, skiers need to place within 7 percent of the average of the top three finishers in their age category in five out of eight races.

The Methow Valley Nordic Ski Team has four ladies with four qualifying races each: Ella, Olivia, Claire and Taya. Danielle has one qualifying race.

Elise has two qualifying races, but she is focusing on biathlon and will be competing at National Guard Championships in Vermont while we are there for Junior Nationals. She then will travel to Germany for more biathlon competition.

Paul Everett will compete in biathlon World Juniors so he won't attend Junior Nationals in Vermont. He currently is in the Czech Republic where he will compete this week in the European U26 Biathlon Championships. 

Another racer, Maya Seckinger, has been sick so we hope she recovers in time to compete in our final four qualifiers.  We will be heading to the 2002 Olympic Venue at Soldier Hollow, Utah, for the next qualifying event on February 6-8, and cheering on our Olympic alumni at the same time.  The final qualifiers will be held at Mt. Spokane (moved from Snoqualmie Pass) on February 15-16.

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.


see past stories in the archive >>

Have a comment? >>