Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gelso climbs podium at Nordic Senior Nationals

At Soldier Hollow, Utah

Express Staff Writer

     Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Nordic Gold Team racer Matt Gelso climbed the podium twice over the weekend during the 2013 U.S. Cross Country Championships on the 2002 Winter Olympic venue at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

     Gelso, 24, won the Senior Men’s class and finished fourth overall in Sunday’s Senior Men’s 30-kilometer classic mass start race won by Bridger Ski Foundation’s Torin Koos, 32, with a time of 1.26:04. Gelso poled to the finish line 11 seconds later in 1.26:15.

     Koos won his eighth career U.S. title and second of the week at nationals.

     But former University of Colorado All-American Gelso from Truckee (Ca.) High School was the workhorse of the day, according to, consistently pushing the pace from the front and losing out on the 30k classic podium only in the final 10 meters.

     In Friday’s men’s 15k freestyle national finale for 227 men, Gelso placed third overall in 37:18 just 16 seconds off the top pace of Alaska Pacific University’s Erik Bjornsen (37:02). It was the first national title for Bjornsen, 21, from Winthrop, Wash.

     SVSEF Gold Teamer Patrick Johnson, 23, of Anchorage, Ak. and Middlebury College was fifth overall Friday in 38:03. And Johnson placed 11th of 79 finishers, the sixth senior, in Sunday’s Senior Men’s 30k classic competition.

     Ketchum’s Mike Sinnott, 27, the silver medalist in Wednesday’s classic sprint competition at Soldier Hollow, placed seventh overall in Friday’s 15k skate with a time of 38:44, 1:42 off the winning pace. Sinnott DNFd Sunday’s 30k classic event.

     Another SVSEF Gold Team racer, 25-year-old Chelsea Holmes, placed sixth overall of 59 women in Sunday’s Senior Women’s 20k mass start classic race. Holmes (1.06:15) was 36 seconds behind winner Sadie Bjornsen, 23, of Alaska Pacific (1.05:39). It was the first national gold for Sadie Bjornsen.

     Winner of Friday’s women’s 10k skate final was Rosie Brennan, 24, of APU’s Nordic Ski Center and Park City, Utah. It was Brennan’s first national championship.

     Clocking outstanding back-to-back results Friday and Sunday was former SVSEF racer and Community School graduate Annie Pokorny, 20, of Vermont’s Middlebury College. Her results qualified Pokorny for the American U-23 team to World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic next week.

     Pokorny (29:52) placed fourth overall of 150 women in Friday’s 10k national skate race, 40 seconds off the winning pace of Brennan (29:12). On Sunday, Pokorny (1.08:44) had enough left in the tank to place eighth (4th U-23) in the women’s 20k classic.

     Other SVSEF top class placings at nationals included:

     Kevin Bolger, 19, of Wisconsin just missed out on qualifying for the European trip by the slimmest of margins. Bolger placed 86th overall, 21st Older Junior, in Friday’s 15k skate. He moved up to fifth place overall, fifth OJ, in Sunday’s Junior 10k classic mass start.

     Bolger tied for sixth place among men vying for the six Junior World Championship berths and just missed qualifying because a tiebreaker. Other Sun Valley results:

     Alexa Turzian 8th Senior Women in 20k classic; Makayla Cappel of the University of Denver 13th U-23 in 20k classic; Cole Morgan of the University of Vermont 12th OJ in 15k skate; Sloan Storey of the University of Utah 4th OJ in women’s 10k skate;

     Laurel Fiddler 3rd J1 in women’s 10k skate; and Maggie Williams 12 J1 in women’s 10k skate. Meanwhile, Omar Bermejo of the Wood River Ability Program won his class in Friday’s 15k freestyle race with a time of 1.01:42, and also won his class in Sunday’s Junior Men’s 10k skate in 45:29.

     Action wrapped up at Soldier Hollow Tuesday, Jan. 8 with national freestyle sprints.


Junior World teams named

     The U.S. Ski Team named its U-18 Trip and Junior World Championship teams on Sunday, Jan. 6 based on age-group rankings after three races at U.S. Nationals.

     Points were awarded to athletes like they are on the World Cup (100 points for first, 80 for second, etc.) and added together from their best two out of three races. Athletes were named to each team from the top of the ranking lists after pre-qualified athletes.

     The U-23 Championship team was due to be named Tuesday after the conclusion of the final U.S. Nationals race, the freestyle sprint. That U-23 squad was selected from rankings based on the best two out of four national races.

     On the Junior World Championship Team headed to Liberec, Czech Republic Jan. 12-28 are:

     · Women: Mary O’Connell (Dartmouth College), Corey Stock (Dartmouth College), Heather Mooney (Middlebury College), Anika Miller (Payette Lakes Sports) of McCall, Sloan Storey (University of Utah) of Ketchum and Emily Hannah (Harvard University).

     Older Junior racer O’Connell earned the most points, 180, over J2 standout Katharine Ogden of Stratton Mountain School. Storey amassed 90 points including 50 in the mass start classic and 40 in distance skate.

From left, Chelsea Holmes of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, eventual winner Sadie Bjornsen of Alaska Pa-cific, third-place Sophie Cald-well of Stratton Mountain and second-place Kate Fitzgerald of APU during Sunday’s 20-kilometer class mass start race of the 2013 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships on the Olympic trails at Soldier Hol-low, Utah.
Photo by Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team

     · Men: Logan Hanneman (University of Alaska, Fairbanks), Ben Saxton (F.A.S.T. Performance Training), Tucker McCrerey (University of Utah), Kyle Bratrud (Northern Michigan University), Sawyer Kesselheim (Bridger Ski Foundation) and Forest Mahlen (APU Nordic Ski Center).

     Chosen for the U-18/J1 trip Jan. 13-25 to Trondheim, Norway were:

     · Women: Katherine Ogden (Stratton Mountain School), Nichole Bathe (Central Cross Country), Gretchen Burkholder (Steamboat Springs WSC), Julia Kern (Cambridge Sports Union), Heidi Halvorsen (Greet Mountain Valley School) and Hailey Swirbul (Aspen Valley SSC).

     · Men: Keegan Swirbul (Aspen Valley SSC), Cal Deline (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail), Cully Brown (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail), Hamish McEwan (Stratton Mountain School), Haakon Sigurslid (Durango Nordic) and Evan Weinman (Steamboat Sprints WSC).


Other national results for SVSEF

     · Friday’s Men’s 15k skate—Older Junior: 12—Cole Morgan. 14—Nick Lovett. 15—Will Wicherski. 21—Kevin Bolger. 37—Jack Steele (Middlebury). 42—Ketchum Wilt. 47—Luke Costley. 49—Zach Lindahl. U-23: 52—Scotty Phelan (Montana State). J1: 31—Jake Adicoff. 35—Nate Thomas. 40—Cole Greenberg.

     · Friday’s Women’s 10k skate—Senior: 8—Alexa Turzian. 11—Chelsea Holmes. Older Junior: 16—Margaret Pope (Bates College). 19—Maranda Stopol. J1: 3—Laurel Fiddler. 12—Maggie Williams. 27—Katie Feldman.

     · Sunday’s Junior Men’s 10k classic mass start—Older Junior: 16—Cole Morgan. 23—Nick Lovett. 30—Will Wicherski. 38—Luke Costley. 40—Jack Steele. DNF—Ketchum Wilt and Zach Lindahl.J1: 26—Jake Adicoff. 30—Nate Thomas. 43—Cole Greenberg. DNF—Stephen Pfeiffer and Andrew Graves.

     · Sunday’s Junior Women’s 5k classic mass start—Older Junior: 19—Jesse Knori. 20—Maranda Stopol. 25—Margaret Pope. J1: 6—Maggie Williams. 7—Laurel Fiddler. 32—Katie Feldman.

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