Four to Europe for cross-country skiing, out of 26 picked from across the country.
Not a bad week's work for four Sun Valley Nordic skiers.
Mike Sinnott, Morgan Arritola, Mali Noyes and Reid Pletcher achieved the distinctions of making two different international teams based on their results at last week's 2005 Chevrolet U.S. Nordic Nationals at Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Dartmouth College sophomore Sinnott, 19, and 18-year-old Morgan Arritola of Fairfield were two of 14 American skiers chosen for the World Juniors team competing in late March at Rovaniemi, Finland.
Head coach for the World Juniors team going to Finland will be Rick Kapala, who is also head coach of the Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team.
Kapala said, "Having an opportunity to compete internationally is a big deal for our kids. To get that level of experience is extremely valuable."
Sinnott, the former Sun Valley skier who graduated from Wood River High School in 2003, nailed down his berth among the six female and eight male Americans by finishing as the second American junior in Saturday's classic sprints.
Arritola shocked the Nordic community by placing fourth overall and the top junior in last Monday's women's 15-kilometer freestyle race. Two days later, she was the third junior and 19th overall in the women's 5k classic event.
Community School sophomore Noyes, 15, and Wood River soph Reid Pletcher, 16, made the 12-skier Scandinavian Cup team signifying the top 16-17 year-old J1s in the country. The team leaves Feb. 7 for Lillehammer, Norway and embarks on an eight-day training camp prior to competitions Feb. 18-20 at Gjorvik, Norway.
Noyes earned her way on the strength of second-place J1 finish (29th overall) in Wednesday's 5k classic event and a sixth-place J1 (56th) in Thursday's 5k freestyle race. Making the results more impressive is the fact that Noyes is a J2.
Reid Pletcher was third among J1 boys (80th overall) in Wednesday's men's 10k classic and sixth among J1s (87th) in Thursday's men's 10k freestyle.
Kapala said, "We knew all the kids had been training well and that they had kept themselves healthy. We also knew Mali and Reid had a chance to make the Scandinavian Cup but they went out and did it—and Mali had top-flight results, considering she is still a J2."
Here are results from Thursday's men's 10k and women's 5k freestyle races, plus Monday's pursuit finale:
Men's 10k: 1—James Southam (Anchorage) 25:54, his first national title. 59—Jess Kiesel 29:04. 87—Reid Pletcher 30:05. 127—Matt DeCarufel 31:07. 129—Delamon Rego 31:09. 135—Jedd Young 31:17. 173—Mike Matteson 32:39. 177—Chris Holmquist 33:05. 182—Artie Livingston 33:13 (206 finishers).
Women's 5k: 1—Rebecca Dussault (Gunnison) 14:41, her sixth national title. 10—Brooke Baughman 15:56. 28—Ashley McQueen 16:28. 29—Hilary Patzer 16:33. 56—Mali Noyes 17:23. 65—Alexa Turzian 17:38. 118—Ruth Anderson 19:25 (146 finishers).
Men's pursuit (15k CL, 15k skate): 1—Andrew Johnson (Vt.), 1.22:31, second national title. 5—Lars Flora (Anchorage) 1.24:55 (67 finishers).
Women's pursuit (7.5 CL, 7.5 skate): 1—Rebecca Dussault (Gunnison) 47:08, seventh national title, third at 2005 nationals. 7—Brooke Baughman 50:26 (39 finishers).
The Sun Valley Junior Nordic team returns to Soldier Hollow for the first of three Junior National qualifying races Jan. 22-23. The team leaves for Utah on Thursday, Jan. 20.