Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nordic racers compete at Soldier Hollow

For JN qualifiers on Olympic trails

Thirty-nine Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross-country skiers moved a step up the ladder of Junior National qualifying during last weekend's set of Nordic races at Soldier Hollow, Utah, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Competing were 634 racers in all.

Classic sprints were a major source of pride for the Sun Valley contingent in the second of three JN qualifiers. The Junior Nationals themselves are March 2-10 at the same location in Midway, Utah. Final qualifier is Feb. 9-12 at McCall.

Sun Valley J1 (ages 16-17) Cole Morgan, 17, captured first place in the Older Junior/J1 Final "A" sprint by a margin of nearly three seconds. Morgan was second to teammate Kevin Bolger in the semi-finals, but Morgan turned it up in the "A" Final. OJ (ages 18-19) Bolger, 18, ended up fifth in the heat. Jack Steele finished 12th.

The Sun Valley women enjoyed similar success in the OJ/J1 final heats. Jesse Knori, 17, won the "A" Final by three-and-a-half seconds after sweeping her quarterfinals and semi-finals by big margins. Sloan Storey, 17, was fifth. Maggie Williams, 16, took the "B" Final for seventh place overall, and Maranda Stopol, 17, was 10th.

In the men's J2 (14-15) "A" Final, Nate Thomas was sixth.

After Saturday's sprints, sizable field of racers from Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Utah, Oregon tackled Sunday's test of 10-kilometer and 15k skate races. And the SVSEF racers posted top results, once again.

In 15k men (9.3 miles), Cole Morgan podiumed in third place among J1s, good for ninth overall in 32:58. Bolger was the runner-up in the OJ men's 15k, fifth overall, in 32:37.

Storey was the second J1 woman, in third overall of 89 finishers at the 10k distance. Her time was 26:58, just 23 seconds behind winner Emily Hannah of Steamboat Springs, Colo. Margaret Pope, 17, was third J1, fifth overall in 27:32, and Maggie Williams the fifth J1, seventh overall, in 27:32. Morgan Atkinson, 18, was second in OJ women's 10k, 28:32.

Complete freestyle distance race results for the SVSEF contingent are on today's Web site.

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