It’s a pretty long journey from CXC-land to the famed top of Maine. Aroostook County is Maine’s northern most county. Locals call it simply “the County.” It’s a land rich in tradition and in love with nordic skiing. That’s why recently a contingent of CXC athletes and coaches made the trip here.
by Peter Graves, Winter Olympic Games Announcer and CXC Writer
The NENSA U16 Championships was an awesome opportunity for development. Qualifiers get the chance to race in a different part of the country against their peers from the New England area. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York rotate the annual hosting duties. This year the championships were held in Ft. Kent, Maine, site of numerous IBU Biathlon World Cups in the past decade.
4 boys and 4 girls qualified off of the JNQ points list.
Wave starts and field sizes of 92 athletes pitted racers against each other in a 5k skate, 5k classic, 1.2k sprint, and a 4×2.5k mixed relay, all in 3 days of high level junior competition.
Head Coach for the trip was former USST athlete Kelly Skillicorn who told me…
The trip is short (6 days) and packed full. Learning how to travel and race while forming a team with other athletes and coaches is the main goal.
There are many challenges to be overcome: airline and van travel, time zone changes, getting to know the other athletes and coaches, lodging and meals with people you don’t know, household chores (dishes, sweeping, keeping the area clean etc..), homework, adjusting personal schedules (bedtime) to accommodate the group, as well as cleaning and waxing skis.
It’s a short time to come together as a team, but I feel the athletes did a great job. These kids will be friends for life.
That’s the meaning of attending such a race series for CXC athletes. It’s win-win for everyone.
As you can see from our results, the Midwest athletes were very successful. We had 9 top 10 finishes as well as a 3rd place overall in the points standings.
Just as important, they were personable with the other teams, displayed positive sportsmanship, and had lots of fun!