The second day of racing came pretty fast after the long evening of classical sprints Friday. The morning routine is now well set – morning jog, buffet breakfast, short break, then head up to the venue.
Today was the Junior Nordic Competition (U18 Nations) 5K and 10K freestyle races, which actually was a much larger event at Knyken Skisenter as the Trondheim district championships were also included. This meant there were a lot more people at the venue – parents, coaches, and kids (Friday night was very quiet by comparison).
Temps right around freezing helped provided a very fast, but safe course, for the races. The girls 5K was up first, with the JNC girls starting shortly after 11 am. The US girls put down some fast times, with the first 5 finishing within 16 seconds of each other led by Anna Lehmann who was 16th overall. To emphasize the fast conditions, the girls winning 5K time was 11:28, and Lehmann was less than 21 seconds from the podium!
The boys 10K went off at noon, skiing two laps of the 5K course. The Norwegians dominated the top of the board, taking three of the top four positions. But the star on the day was Gus Schumacher who hammered out a 7th place finish, and just 16 seconds off the podium after 10K! Canyon Tobin just missed the top 10, finishing 11th by just over one second, with Ben Ogden also posting a top 15th finish.
After races, the team grabbed lunch at the chalet, which featured a tasty build-your-own-soup (and have some french fries) smorgasbord. A brief outdoor awards ceremony followed, in which most of the JNC skiers were recognized and given gift certificates to a local sports shop. Back on the bus and to the hotel, to rest up for the evening banquet and team meeting.
Boarding the bus, the team went back up to Knyken Saturday evening for a prize banquet (awards). It was packed with all the teams in attendence, and the volunteers were kept quite busy serving up food including a chicken stroganoff dish over rice, with a nice salad and bread, finishing with an ice cream dessert. All of the Friday and Saturday events were recognized during the ceremony, and in fact, every skier received a gift (etched skier glass).
Sunday will wrap up the racing portion of the U18 Nation’s trip with team relays. The 3x3K format will feature one leg classical followed by two freestyle legs.
The NNF's mission is to support athletic excellence in developing nordic athletes in the United States.
“To the NNF: The assistance has been an absolute necessity for me and the increased level of support played a role in the performance levels that U.S. skiers produced last year.”- Holly Brooks