Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SVSEF’s Cole Morgan wins Junior National Championship

Cole Morgan was a living, breathing red rubber ball on Friday, March 9, winning the J1 boys' 10k classic at the USSA Cross Country Junior National Championships at Soldier Hollow, Utah, according to

The 17-year-old SVSEF post-grad team member bounced back from a 22nd place showing in Wednesday's freestyle, in which he suffered crippling shin pain and had to pole much of the race, according to SVSEF Nordic Director Rick Kapala.

"He had a tough day with his legs locking up on him, but he was able to be resilient and come back today," Kapala said. "In Cole's case, the ability to be that mentally and physically tough really shows a lot. He was able to push to his physical capacity of Wednesday but it did not debilitate him, which shows his fitness is going in the right direction."

In Friday's race, Morgan was fourth after the first split, third after the second, second on the third until he crossed the finish line in 26:02, a full 17 seconds ahead of runner-up Patrick Caldwell.

"Cole has quietly put together a really good season - going to World Juniors as a 17-year-old. Chris Mallory deserves a lot of the credit as Cole and the other PG's coach on a day-to-day basis. He is having a lot of success down here and it is nice to see," Kapala remarked.

Kevin Bolger, another member of the post-grad team, skied to fifth place (26:20) in the OJ boys' 10, marking his third top-10 placement at junior nationals. In a field of 147, Jack Steele was 34th and Gray Riedinger 49th. Ketchum Wilt was 108th and Zach Lindahl was 113th after breaking his poles in the J1 class. Nate Thomas skied to 39th in the boys' J2 class.

Sloan Storey garnered her third top-ten finish with a fifth in the girls' 10k classic. In the J1/OJ race (results not separated by class), Jesse Knori was 32nd, Kelsey Dickinson 38th, Margaret Pope 59th, Maranda Stopol 61st and Morgan Atkinson 73rd. J2 racers, Annika Landis and Katie Feldman finished 26th and 47th, respectively.

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