Hundreds battle at Cross Country junior nationals
The USSA Marriot Junior Championships Cross Country Junior Nationals kicked off with 403 athletes being whittled down to six champions in the classic sprint competition at the Olympic site at Soldier Hollow, Utah March 5.
Titles were awarded in three age classes (J2-J1 and OJ) ranging from 14 to 19 for men and women.
Mansfield Nordic took first and second in the J2 (14-15) men's race with Henry Harmeyer charging to the win over Ben Hegman. Durango, Colo., racer Cully Brown got the bronze medal placing With Stratton's Koby Gordon fourth and Wasatch Nordic racer Karsten Hokanson fifth.
In the JI (16-17) category the Eli Hoenig of Cambridge Sports took the win over Stratton's Patrick Caldwell with Cole Morgan of Sun Valley third. Nick StClair from Bend Endurance was fourth and Zach Goldberg of Minnesote Valley fifth.
The Older Juniors (18-19) were led by St Lawrence University racer Eric Lustgarten over Stratton's Austin Cobb with the bronze going to Nick Michaud of Maine Winter Sports. Dartmouth's Silas Talbot was fourth and Sawyer Kesselheim of Bridger Ski Foundation fifth.
J2 women, also racing the 1.3k sprint track, were led by Julia Kern of Cambridge Sport with Brooke Mooney of Stratton in the silver position and Alayna Sonnesyn, Sisu Ski Club, third. Zoe Snow of Cambridge got fourth and Kathrine Ogden of Stratton was fifth.
Corey Stock, Cambridge, blasted the J1 women's field with an eight second margin over Sun Valley racer Jesse Knori. Mary O'Connell of Steamboat Springs got third with Stratton's Heather Mooney fourth and Lucy Newman, also of Steamboat, fifth.
FAST Performance racer Paige Schember got the OJ women's win over MTU's Rachel Mason with GoTraining skier Sharmila Ahmed third. Elizabeth Simak of FAST and Claire Galvin of GoTraining were fourth and fifth respectively.
In the chaotic mass start freestyle event it was Hokanson (the fifth place sprint finisher) taking the J2 5k over Tanner Ramey of the Alaska Winter Starts. Tahoe XC skier Peter Holmes got third with Sam Miller of Bridger SEF fourth and Jack Elder, Cumberland Nordic, in fifth.
Lydia Blanchet of Alaska's APUNSC won the J2 women's 5k test over sprint champ Kern with sprint silver medalist Sonnesyn picking up the bronze. Kathrin Ogden, Stratton, and Hailey Swirbul, Aspen Valley, were fourth and fifth respectively.
Among the J1 men the gold and silver medalists from the sprints swapped spots on the podium in their 10k challenge, Caldwell getting the win and Hoenig second. Third went to guest racer Fabian Stocek out of Holderness Nordic with the bronze medal awarded Sean Doherty of Mount Washington Nordic and fifth going to Gina Pastore of Stratton.
Stock took her second gold medal in two competitions in the women's J1 race over Sloan Storey of Sun Valley with Marion Woods from Alaska Winter Stars collecting bronze. Emily Hahhan of Steamboat was fourth and Sarah Freistone of Alaska Nordic Racing fifth.
Ben Saxton took the men's OJ title for Minnesota Valley over Daviod Palmer of California's Black Jack with Dartmouth's Talbot grabbing podium spot with the third fastest finish. Kesselheim was fourth and Tucker McCrerey of Summit Nordic clocked in fifth.
Ahmed got the OJ women's win over Simak. Rachel Hall was third for Stratton and her teammate Isabelle Pelletier fourth. Mary Kate Cirelli of GMVS was awarded fifth.