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Wednesday — February 4, 2004


On the road
to Lake Placid

Nordic kids race at Bozeman

Last weekend on flat courses at Lindley Park in Bozeman, Mont., Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team racers took a big step along the road to the 2004 Junior Nationals in early March at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Sun Valley, sending 25 junior racers to Bozeman with coach Rick Kapala, did particularly well in Sunday’s classic (diagonal) races. "We had a really good day in classic, winning five out of six classes," said Kapala.

Luke Pletcher (40:31 for 15 kilometers) and Morgan Arritola (26:58 for 9k) won their J1 classic races, Pletcher by 28 seconds and Arritola by 39 seconds. Delamon Rego (41:09) and Fraiser Opel (27:44) were third.

Alexa Turzian (18:27 for 6k) and Reid Pletcher (16:06 for 6k) captured the J2 classic races, and Artie Livingston (16:36) placed third in J2 boys. The OJ girls’ winner was Erin Magee (29:16 for 9k).

"Our classic races went really well on a flat course, compared to the up-and-down course we had at Soldier Hollow (the first JN qualifier earlier in January in Utah)," said Kapala.

Sickness did a number on some of Sun Valley’s usual J1 boys’ dominance, Kapala said. David Vanderpool had food poisoning, while Chase Cleveland and George Livingston opted out of classic racing because of colds.

On Saturday, Sun Valley skiers learned their lessons of how hard it is to battle in the sprint qualifications and final heats, according to Kapala. "We had a decent day in skating, but we weren’t dominant," he said.

Reid Pletcher continued his solid all-around weekend by winning the J2 boys’ sprint final after also capturing the qualifying round on Saturday’s 1.2k course. Artie Livingston also made progress with a third place in the J2 boys’ sprint final.

Another big story for Sun Valley in the sprints was written by Courtney Perry. She fell twice in the preliminary qualifications and settled for 14th place, only to turn around and win the B final for fifth-place overall. "Courtney showed a lot of grit," Kapala said.

Summing up the weekend, "our strong kids stayed strong and some other kids stayed in the hunt for Junior Nationals," said Kapala.

The final JN qualifying race is scheduled for Feb. 14-15 at Bogus Basin, with the Intermountain Division team headed for Lake Placid to be announced Feb. 15. Current standings are on intermountainxc.com.

"We’re looking at possibly 14 or 15 kids making it from Sun Valley," said Kapala. "As coaches we’ll be convincing the kids they have a lot of work to do in the next four weeks before Junior Nationals."

Here are results and placings by class from Bozeman, in each event. There were 162 cross-country skiers competing including the Open class:

OJ girls (ages 18-19)—Classic (9k): 1—Erin Magee 29:16. OJ/J1 sprint finals: 13—Erin Magee.

OJ boys—Classic (15k): 2—Alex Hamlin 41:27. OJ/J1 sprint finals: 16—Alex Hamlin.

J1 girls (ages 16-17)—Classic (9k): 1—Morgan Arritola 26:58. 3—Fraiser Opel 27:44. 5—Erin McQueen 28:31. 6—Margii Driscoll 28:59. 10—Ruth Anderson 30:15. 11—Lexie Praggastis 30:36. OJ/J1 sprint finals: 5—Morgan Arritola. 6—Erin McQueen. 7—Fraiser Opel. 8—Margii Driscoll. 9—Ruth Anderson.

J1 boys—Classic (15k): 1—Luke Pletcher 40:31. 3—Delamon Rego 41:09. 13—Brad Bradford 45:36. 17—Robbie Hamlin 48:04. OJ/J1 sprint finals: 4—Chase Cleveland. 6—Luke Pletcher. 11—Delamon Rego. 20—George Livingston. 25—Dawson Paschall. 26—Brad Bradford. 31—Robbie Hamlin.

J2 girls (ages 14-15)—Classic (6k): 1—Alexa Turzian 18:27. 7—Mali Noyes 19:32. 10—Courtney Perry 20:20. 14—Tess Dahlgren 21:33. Sprint finals: 4—Alexa Turzian. 5—Courtney Perry. 11—Mali Noyes. 16—Tess Dahlgren.

J2 boys—Classic (6k): 1—Reid Pletcher 16:06. 3—Artie Livingston 16:36. 6—Max Danielson 17:28. 7—Conor Davis 17:40. 13—Mike Matteson 18:33. Sprint finals: 1—Reid Pletcher. 3—Artie Livingston. 12—Conor Davis. 19—Mike Matteson. 26—Max Danielson.

J3 boys (ages 12-13)—Classic (3k): 10—Scotty Phelan 10:57. 11—Travis Job 11:06. 12—Sam Farnham 11:13. 15—Max Durtschi 12:00.



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