The 2017 XC Junior National Championships held in Lake Placid, New York, is a competition series regarded as the pinnacle of the competition season for many junior skiers ages 15-20. The event has come to a close as skiers travel back home and settle into the spring season.
The National event encompasses 10 divisional teams from different areas of the country. Each team brings their best athletes to compete for the Alaska Cup and individual best performances.
After a lively opening ceremony at the Ice Arena where “The Miracle on Ice” happened at the 1980 Winter Olympics, the racing week began on Monday with an individual skate race, followed by Classic Sprints on Wednesday, a Classic Individual start on Friday and a Skate Team Relay event on Saturday.
This year, Great Lakes Division had outstanding top ten performances in the U20 Female category with skier Sarah Goble place 4th in the 5km Skate and 7th in the 10km Classic events. On the men’s side, U18 skier Mitchell DeLong placed 6th overall in the classic sprint event and helped the GLD team toward their 5th place in the team relay.
The Midwest team brought nearly 60 athletes to nationals this year, and was awarded numerous top-ten finishes.
Throughout the week special mentions go the Midwest’s top 10 finishers Alexander Nameth, Peter Moore, Sara Olson, Luci Anderson, Kelly Koch, Luc Golin, Xavier Mansfield, Margie Freed, Hannah Rudd, Abby Jarzin, James Schneider, Libby Tuttle, Mara McCollor, Erin Moening and Jenna Parent. In the relay event U16 Boys took home silver with 2nd place, U18 Boys and girls both received bronze with 3rd place finishes and the U20 girls took home gold with their first-place performance.
I felt the Mid West results got better every race- with some really exciting results on Relay Day. The Lake Placid JN’s organizers really did a great job managing the tricky snow conditions and weather. I think the athletes REALLY enjoyed themselves outside of the racing time- there were lots of fun social activities right across from our hotel. This trip will be very memorable for the Minnesota/Wisconsin athletes. JN’s represents an important goal for any junior xc skier- and the goal of qualifying and competing at JN’s provides a great carrot for our top juniors in the Mid West region. Many are fired up to start preparing right away! – Piotr Bednarski Midwest Junior National Head Coach
A special thanks goes out to the organizing committee, volunteers and coaches for their hard work and dedication in making a high quality event that the athletes will regard as one of the most outstanding opportunities in their skiing career!