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Winning & Learning
Methow Valley Nordic Team report

The Methow Valley Nordic Team spent the weekend in Rossland, B.C., where NorAm races for skiers 18 and older were taking place and Kootenay Cup races for those under 18 were held.  Here is a summary of the weekend from my viewpoint.

We arrived on Friday and skied the courses, which were challenging!  I heard they were at the legal limit for a homologated course (meaning it has maximum climb and descent). That was eye opening for some of our racers but exciting, too.

Saturday was the skate sprint for the NorAm racers, including two MVNT members, Maya Seckinger and Olivia Ekblad, who "raced up" (beyond their age group). Some superstars from the Methow also were racing—Erik Bjornsen, Sam Naney and Caitlin Gregg. We provided a large cheering contingent for them. Their family members—Tom & Mary Bjornsen, Anne and Bob Naney and Jim and Jan Gregg—were all there cheering too, which was great. (see their results here >>)

Both Maya and Olivia advanced to the junior quarterfinal but were eliminated by the tough Canadian field. Sam had bad luck in his quarterfinal and was taken out by another skier. Caitlin advanced all the way through to the final and ended up in 4th place but was moved to 6th after the jury determined that she inadvertently blocked another skier. Erik eeked through his quarterfinal but then went on to win his semifinal heat AND WIN the final!!! We were all so happy to see this and it motivated our skiers to ski fast in their mass start skate races.

young ski racersIan Delong in Bib 4 leads the pack in Saturday’s Bantam class skate sprint in Rossland, B.C. Delong won in a photo-finish with teammate Travis Grialou. Photo by Claire Waichler.

Kootenay Cup Results

  • Jory Grialou and Dashe McCabe raced in the Peewee age group (8-9 year olds) and took first and second in that event!
  • Lindsay Worrell won her Bantam age group (10-11 year old) skate race. Ian Delong and Travis Grialou had an awesome sprint finish at the end of their Bantam race. Ian lunged for the line, taking the win in a video-reviewed finish. Zane Strome followed in 3rd place.
  • In the Midget age class (12-13 year olds) Novie McCabe was 2nd and Gretta Scholz 3rd; Walker Hall led a pack of MVNT boys taking 3rd, with Peter Aspholm and Emerson Worrell right behind him.
  • In the Juvenile girls class (14-15 year olds) Taya Delong was 3rd and Danielle 8th in the 5k mass start skate.
  • In the Junior category (16-17 year olds) Ella Hall outlunged Claire Waichler for the win. Elise Putnam placed 4th.
  • Sunday's event was the classic distance race—10k for NorAm Women, 15k for NorAm men -- and as often happens on classic days, when we need to kick-wax, it warmed up and made for challenging waxing conditions!
  • Olivia and Maya again took up the challenge of skiing with the older juniors on a tough course. They put in a hard effort and ended up 13th and 14th respectively.
  • Jory Grialou and Dashe McCabe ended up 2nd and 3rd in the classic Peewee category. The Bantams again were led by Ian Delong who won the race followed by Zane Strome in 3rd and Travis Grialou in 5th. Liv Aspholm won the Bantam girls class and Lindsay Worrell placed 4th.
  • In the Midget race Novie McCabe celebrated her 12th birthday with a win and Gretta Scholz again placed 3rd in a strong field. Walker Hall also took 3rd again followed by Emerson Worrell in 4th and Peter Aspholm in 5th for the classic event.
  • Taya Delong was 4th (only 3 seconds out of 3rd) for the Juvenile girls with Danielle Mott placing 7th. Elise Putnam had a great classic race and placed 4th in the Junior girls. Ella Hall took 5th place and Claire Waichler 7th.

Brian, Caitlin and Erik all commented on how wonderful it was to have the Methow cheering squad up there!  We were loud and enthusiastic and hopefully helped push our favorite racers to better results.

We had a group dinner at our hotel on Saturday night for our Methow contingent and had 33 people eating Margo Aspholm's delicious homemade lasagna.

It seems like each of our racers had at least one decent race despite some struggles. Liv Aspholm lost her pole in the mass start on Saturday and not sure what to do ended up not competing—sad but a good learning experience. Others had trouble passing people in the mass start so some tears were shed and more racing enlightenment took place.

The Nor Am racers were great examples for our young skiers with their ability and humility! Several skiers had to deal with snow build up on their skis in the classic race due to tricky waxing and couldn't glide downhill well so they were frustrated with their wax. But others were happy and so the wax techs ( Laura MCabe, Alex Hall, Gregg Strome and I) felt it was an okay day in tough conditions.

And Travis and Ian's photo finish in the skate race was declared the "best of the day" by the race announcer.

The MVNT members were pleased to get their race season underway and are all looking forward to the Mazama Rodeo on December 28 hosted by MVSTA.

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 >>

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