Coaching Staff Announced for 2018 Junior Nationals and NENSA U16 Trip

The Midwest Executive Committee wishes to thank everyone for their applications and interest in the Midwest Team and NENSA U16 trips. The following coaches have been named to the 2018 Junior National and NENSA U16 trip staffs.

2018 Junior Nationals
March 3-11 / Soldier Hollow, Midway (UT)

Piotr Bednarski – Head Coach, Loppet Nordic Racing
Chris Harvey – Trip Leader, Loppet Nordic Racing
Liz Peterson – Head Glide Wax, Endurance United
Scott Putman – Head Kick Wax, Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team
Kim Rudd – Loppet Nordic Racing / Armstrong High School
Julia Curry – Age Group Coach, Loppet Nordic Racing
Ted Theyerl – Age Group Coach, Chippewa Valley Nordic
Deno Johnson – Age Group Coach, Nordicwerks
Andrew Joda – Wax Tech, Loppet Nordic Racing
Thomas Kendrick – Wax Tech, MYSL/Skiwerx
Elizabeth Smith – Physical Therapist
Joe Haggenmiller – Central Cross Country Skiing

2018 NENSA U16 Championships
March 8-11 / Gore Mountain, North Creek (NY)

Kris Hanson – Trip Leader, 4591 Sports Development
Bjorn Hanson – 4591 Sports Development
Charil Reis – Rhinelander Nordic

2017 NENSA U16 Championship Weekend Recap

Last weekend marked the 2017 NENSA U16 at Titcomb Mountain in West Farmington, Maine. For the Midwest that meant sending a total of eight (four boys and four girls) qualifying U16 athletes.

This race series proves to be an integral building block for the development of Midwest U16 skiers.

“The NENSA U16 trip provides the athletes with the opportunities to learn how to race, eat, recover and travel as a team. I believe this trip is a great building block for any skier’s career. Racing on new trails and other snow conditions is a great learning experience.” – Bjorn Hanson

The Championship weekend began on Friday March 10th with a 5km Freestyle race, followed by a 5km Classic race on Saturday and the series wrapped up on Sunday with the Team Relay event.

As a whole, the group did exceptionally well. Of special note were top 10 results from athletes Alice House, Lauren Lackman, Anni Skillicorn, Matthew Clarke, Cooper Lennox and Nick Parent. Podium finishes went to Alice House who got 2nd in the 5km freestyle race, Lauren Lackman just behind her in 3rd and on the men’s side Matthew Clarke stepped up on the podium with the 3rd place finish in the 5km freestyle as well.

“The NENSA organization is very inviting, friendly and helpful. In the two years I have attended this trip, they have had challenging weather conditions. In both cases they have made good choices regarding the course and skier safety. I believe they have the best interest of the U26 skier in mind. They ensure a high level of competition in a relaxed setting” – Kris Hanson Midwest NENSA Team Head Coach

The Midwest put forth two team relays, placing in first in the guest division was Midwest Team Alice House, Nick Parent, Anni Skillicorn and Cooper Lennox. Though separated into the guest category, this team from the Midwest raced a time that put them 2nd overall. Midwest skiers Ellie Munger, Matthew Clarke, Lauren Lackman and Garrett Walters raced together in the relay placing 2nd in the guest category with an overall time that placed them 5th overall.

Midwest 2017 Junior National and NENSA U16 Team Naming

MAYOR’S XC CHALLENGE, Minneapolis MN, served as the location for the last Midwest JNQ event of the season. The series of qualifying races started December 17th in Houghton, MI traveling to three other race venues for a total of 8 races where there was a potential to qualify for a spot on Midwest’s 2017 USSA Cross Country Jr. National Championship Team.

Both races Saturday and Sunday were classic discipline with sprint competitions on Saturday and a distance mass start on Sunday.

Though temperatures reached a balmy mid-50s both days, race organizers were able to hold the races on well covered man-made loops with tracks set throughout the day.

After the competitive weekend was over, the team gathered for the highly anticipated team naming for the Midwest 2017 USSA Cross Country Jr. National Championship Team and Midwest 2017 NENSA U16 Championships Team.


Photo Credit:

This year, members of the Midwest Junior National team travel to Lake Placid, NY for a week long series of 4 races against the nation’s top junior skiers. More information on the event can be found at

Members of the 2017 U16 NENSA trip will travel to Farmington, Maine for a weekend of three races.

A special congratulations to all Midwest qualifiers and, good luck in New York!


Photo Credit:

Full results from the weekend can be found at


U16 Boys
James Schneider
Peter Moore
Henry Hall
Alex Nemeth
Noah Bodewes
Joe Lynch
Matt Bourne
Eli Gore

U16 Girls
Sarah Olson
Kasia Bednarski
Olivia Dreger
Leah Rudd
Isabel Seay
Kaelin Jackson
Charlotte Brown

U20 Boys
Xavier Mansfield
Foss Kerker
Shad Kraftson
Jack Christianson
Sam Myers
Ian Ivens

U18 Boys
Patrick Acton
Luc Golin
Anders Sonnesyn
Cullen Chosy
Ryan Steger
Jackson Adler
Torsten Brinkema
Ben Olson
Alternate: Gavin Martell

U20 Girls
Renae Anderson
Dottie Anderson
Sadie Peterson

U18 Girls
Abby Jarzin
Lucy Anderson
Kelly Koch
Anna Johnson
Mara McCollor
Erin Moening
Rana Krafton
Jenna Parent
Regan Duffy
Anja Maijala
Mae Barnes
Alternate: Siri Bohacek


Photo Credit:


Cooper Lennox
Matt Clarke
Nick Parent
Garrett Walters

Lauren Lackman
Anni Skillicorn
Alice House
Ellie Munger



Application Process Now Open for Midwest Junior National and U16 NENSA Trips

The Midwest Coaches Committee is opening the application process for both the 2017 Junior National Championships in Lake Placid, NY as well as the U16 NENSA Trip in Farmington, Maine. Coaches on these trips will volunteer their time to coach the best in the Midwest at these championship events.

This application process is for Head Wax Coaches, Assistant Wax Coaches, Age Group Coaches, and Support Staff. Requirements for each position can be found in the Midwest Junior Committee Bylaws.

Applications can be submitted online and are due October 16th.

Any USSA and CXC licensed coach is invited to apply for these trips. The trip time frame is March, 3rd-12th, 2017 for the Junior Nationals Trip to Mt. Van Hovenberg in Lake Placid, NY and March 8th-12th, 2017 for the NENSA U16 Trip.





Head Junior National and NENSA Coaches Named | Midwest & Great Lakes

After the 2016 Spring Meetings, The Midwest and Great Lakes Junior Committees named coaches for the 2017 Junior Nationals and NENSA U16 Trip.

The Junior National head coach and trip leader, are two year positions and are selected on different years. All other coaching positions are year to year. The head glide and head kick wax coaches are selected by the head coach and trip leader and those four make up the executive committee, to choose the remaining coaches.



Coach Piotr Bednarski and Andy Keller, at the 2016 Junior National Championships in Cable, WI.

Junior Nationals: 

Head Coach: Piotr Bednarski – Loppet Nordic Racing

Trip Leader: Andy Keller – CXC Team

NENSA U16 Trip: 

Head Coach: Kristin Hanson – Out There Nordic & Chippewa Valley Nordic

*All of the remaining Midwest and NENSA coaches will go through an application process in late summer, early fall and will be named in November or December. 

Great Lakes


The Great Lakes men’s relay team for the Hill Climb race, at the 2016 Junior National Championships in Cable, WI.

Junior Nationals: 

Head Coach: Tom Wood – Copper Country Ski Tigers

Trip Leader: Nick Baic – Lake Michigan Ski Club

NENSA U16 Trip: 

Head Coach: Mike Young – Copper Country Ski Tigers

The Midwest Team Claims Several Podium and Top Ten Finishes at the U16 NENSA Trip

The 2016 New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) U16 Championships at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine concluded March 13th, after three days of fun, tough and competitive competition.

Four U16 men and four U16 women from the Midwest Division, competed among some of the best U16 athletes from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and New York. The Midwest Division came away with several podium and top ten finishes.

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The Midwest Girls Team: Leah Rudd, Kasia Bednarski, Val Hart and Olivia Dreger.

“Great experience for our skiers to travel and race in a different region.” Said Coach Steve Swenson. “They got to experience “classic” New England skiing: narrow trails and Klister. The conditions taught skiers to roll with the punches, they had to be flexible and the kids did great.”

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The Midwest NENSA U16 Team.

“It was a great experience meeting people from other teams and bonding with the Midwest team, said a Midwest Team athlete.”

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Women’s 5k Freestyle Podium.

Competition kicked off March 11th with a 5k freestyle race. In the women’s 5k, all four Midwest girls finished in the top 20. Leah Rudd (Plymouth, MN) led the Midwest U16 women’s team as she grabbed a spot on the podium, finishing third overall. Abigail Streinz (Hersey, ME) finished first by 8.5 seconds over Madeline Kitch (Belmont, MA) who was second. Kasia Bednarski (Minneapolis, MN) snatched a spot in the top five, finishing fifth overall, Olivia Dreger (Marathon, MN) was 12th and Val Hart (Stillwater, MN) was 19th.

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Olivia Dreger, skiing to a 12th place finish in the 5k freestyle.

“I’ve never really traveled for skiing before, it was totally worth it.” Said a Midwest Team athlete. “We got to get to know the people we traveled with a lot better as well as meet people from the East.”

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The Men’s 5k Freestyle Podium.

In the men’s 5k race, all four Midwest boys finished in the top 15. Noah Bodewes (Hazelhurst, WI) led the Midwest U16 boys finishing sixth overall. Bodewes was just five seconds out of the top five. Joshua Valentine (Gilford, NH) skied to a convincing first place finish, 15.2 seconds ahead of Matthew Moreau (Falmouth, ME) and Baxter Bishop (Williston, VT) who was third. Ben Olson (Coon Rapid, MN) and Alex Nemeth (Sartell, MN) were in the top 10, finishing ninth and 10th, respectively, followed by Joe Lynch (St. Anthony, MN) in 13th.

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Alex Nemeth, skiing to a top ten finish in the 5k freestyle race.

Warm temperatures and tough conditions greeted racers and coaches on Saturday, for the second day of competition which was a grueling back-to-back race day. The first race was a 5k classic followed by a 1.2k classic sprint. In the 5k, Rudd led the U16 girls team once again, finishing sixth overall, just 4.1 seconds out of the top five. Perrin Milliken (Norwich, VT) edged Madeline Kitch (Belmont, MA) for the victory, by just 0.7 second. Eilidh McKinnon (Center Con, NH) finished close behind in third. Hart was the next Midwest girl, finishing eighth overall, followed by Bednarski in 18th.

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Leah Rudd, skiing to a sixth place finish.

“This trip taught us how to figure out how to ski in these conditions: Klister, fast rising temps, slow and sloppy snow. Said a Midwest Team athlete”

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Val Hart finishing eighth overall in the 5k classic.

In the men’s 5k classic race, Joshua Valentine (Gilford, NH) claimed his second NENSA U16 Championship victory, 16.4 seconds ahead of Oliver Snow (Weston, MA) and Thomas Hussey (Middlebury, VT) who finished third. Olson led the Midwest team finishing 11th overall, followed by Lynch in 13th, Nemeth 16th and Bodewes 27th.

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Ben Olson, in the classic sprints finishing 11th.

In the 1.2k classic sprint, three Midwest girls finished in the top ten. Bednarski led the Midwest girls team, grabbing a spot on the podium, finishing third overall. Perrin Milliken claimed her second NENSA U16 Championship victory, 5.45 seconds ahead of teammate Johanna Bandler (Norwich, VT) who finished second. Hart was the next Midwest girl, finishing eighth overall, followed by Rudd in 8th and Dreger in 13th.

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Kasia Bednarski, skiing to a podium finish in the classic sprints.

In the men’s U16 sprints, all four Midwest boys finished in the top 25. Nathan Smoller (VT) grabbed the sprint victory, 4.98 seconds ahead of teammate Hussey and Valentine who finished third. Olson led the Midwest team finishing 11th overall and was just 3.6 seconds out of the top 10. Lynch was the next Midwest boy, finishing 16th, followed by Bodewes in 19th and Nemeth in 21st.

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Joe Lynch finishing 16th overall in the classic sprints.

Competition concluded Sunday with a 1.2k skate sprint. Bednarski and Rudd finished second and third overall in the U16 girls sprint. Abigail Streinz (Hersey, ME) claimed her second NENSA U16 Championship victory by 3.97 seconds over Bednarski. The battle for second between Bednarski and Rudd was close as Bednarski stole second, 2.5 seconds over Rudd who finished third. Dreger was the next Midwest girl, finishing 14th, followed by Hart in 15th.

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Leah Rudd, skiing to a second place finish in the 1.2k freestyle sprints.

All four Midwest boys finished in the top 15 in the 1.2k freestyle sprints. Matthew Moreau (Falmouth, ME) edged Oliver Snow by 0.10 seconds to claim the sprint victory. Valentine followed close behind, finishing third overall. Olson led the Midwest team, grabbing a spot in the top five, finishing fifth overall. Lynch was the next Midwest boy, finishing seventh overall, followed by Bodewes in 12th and Nemeth in 13th.

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Noah Bodewes, finishing 12th in the skate sprints.

“I was amazed at the warmth and hospitality exhibited to our team by coaches, athletes, and parents across the New England area.” Said Coach Kelley Skillicorn. “It was a great all round experience. We felt very welcomed, they kept telling us to come back!”

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The Midwest Boys Team: Ben Olson, Noah Bodewes, Joe Lynch and Alex Nemeth.

“I can’t say enough how beneficial I think this trip is to our aspiring young athletes.” Said Coach Kris Hanson. “The experience they gained by being on this trip will last their whole athletic career.”


U16 Men’s and Women’s 

The Midwest U16 NENSA Team Naming

For the sixth year, Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC) will provide an opportunity for four U16 men and four U16 women from the Midwest Division to compete amongst their peers at the 2016 New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) U16 (J2) Championships at Black Mountain in Rumford, ME, March 11-13.


The NENSA trip brings together the best U16 athletes in New England and has been a fantastic development trip.

Getting the opportunity to travel and compete with some of the best U16 athletes in our region along with top skiers from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York, essentially becomes just like Junior Nationals but is a little more laid back, it is a shorter trip (three days of racing) and costs less.

“We’ve seen kids who went on the NENSA trip and come back and work hard over the spring and summer and a lot of those kids have gone on to make the Midwest Team the following year or even World Juniors,” said Chris Harvey, Midwest Junior National Team head coach. ” For example, Ian Torchia a skier at NMU currently, loved the NENSA trip and really got into skiing after that. Eventually he became the top American distance skier at World Juniors in Kazakhstan last winter. He is not the only example, there have been many other skiers who have become successful in their results after the NENSA trip that helped them progress.”

Midwest Team


Kelly SkillicornHead Coach & Trip Leader (Winona, MN)
Kris Hanson – (Rice Lake, WI) 
Drew Holbrook – (Minneapolis, MN)
Steve Swenson – (Madison, WI)

“We’re very excited to be taking this group of athletes to the NENSA U16 championships which will be held in Rumford, Maine. It’s a great opportunity for the Midwest kids to be racing their peers in another region,” said trip leader and coach Kelly Skillicorn.

U16 Males 

Ben Olson / LNR

Noah Bodewes / Lakeland

Joe Lynch / LNR

Alex Nemeth / Minneapolis Ski Club

U16 Females

Leah Rudd / LNR

Kasia Bednarski / LNR

Val Hart / Endurance United

Olivia Dreger / Wausau Nordic United