The 2018 NENSA (New England Nordic Ski Association) U16 Championships were held March 9, 10 & 11 2018 in North Creek New York at Gore Mountain. As for the past few years the Midwest Region has selected four male and female athletes from the JNQ U16 division to travel to the event, compete and represent the Midwest.
This year three of those athletes came from Wisconsin (Nina Chosy- Madison, Jake Van Hefty- Minocqua & Garrett Walters- Eau Claire) and five from Minnesota (Will Nemeth- Sartell, Johanna Schwinghamer – Mora, Sydney Peterson- Stillwater, Celeste Alden- St. Paul & Roger Anderson- Minneapolis) The Athletes we accompained by four Midwest Coaches (three from Wisconsin & one from Minnesota)
Gore Mountain played Host for the 2018 event, with a fantastic trail system at the Gore Mountain Ski Bowl, this technical & challenging course was fun and exciting. The course leaving from the base of the alpine area in the stadium consisted of three climbs going up the lower alpine slopes, with turning technical descents coming down from each of the climbs. Gore’s chief of course Paul Allison, along with TD Fred Griffin & NENSA Rep Amber Freeman created a fun & challenging event for the athletes.
The event opened on Friday with the 5km Freestyle event. Athletes went off in waves of 6 to take on the course. This day found the ladies had a strong showing with Celeste on the podium in 2nd, Sydney in 4th, Johanna in 18th & Nina in 33rd .For the guys Roger Anderson of the Midwest on the Podiumin 3rd place followed by Will in 4th, Garrett in 8th & Jake in 16th..
Day two saw temps at 31° F with 20+ mph winds & four (yes four) different types of snow falling during the 5km Classic race. With significant challenges to the kick wax due to the temps, fresh snow and long sustained climbs the Midwestern athletes fought to have the ladies placing 16th, 23rd, 24th & 53rd of the 103 person field. The gents with Garrett in 3rd and the others rounding out in 5th, 15th & 21st.
The afternoon followed with sunshine for the 1.2km Freestyle Ski Cross sprints. Results from the Ski Cross found the ladies finishing 6th, 12th, 15th & 33rd. While the gents came in with 6th, 8th, 17th & 19th.
The most excitement of the weekends’ racing came down to Sunday with the Mixed Team Relay. The 4×3.3km event started with a lead-off lady in classic, followed by one of the guys in classic, then to a lady for freestyle & the final leg with a guy in freestyle. With 51 Teams competing the Midwest being Coached by Wisconsin’s Kristin Hanson came in with two evenly matched strong teams. At the gun the Midwest teams being lead by Sydney Peterson and Johanna Schwinghamer. With Sydney exchanging Team 1 to Will, on to Celeste & the anchor leg with Jake. Team #2 with Johanna, off to Garrett, Nina & Roger. As the tags continued the two Midwest Teams remaind near the top in each lap. The event finished with Team #1 from the Midwest in 5th place overall and Team #2 in 9th. A fantastic showing out of the 51 Team field. As well out of the 51 team overall field Celeste posted the 2nd fastest female skate leg on the day and Will with the fastest Classic leg of the day.
All 8 athletes had an amazing time at the event and are looking forward to another summer of hard training and taking it to a new level for the next season. Thanks to the athletes & the Coaching staff. Led by Kristin Hanson from Rice Lake, assistant coaches Charil Reis from Rhinelander, David Paulson from Deephaven & Bjorn Hanson from Rice Lake.