Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) earned its best-ever club result at the Junior National Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah last week. SSCV finished sixth against every other competitive club in the county.
SSCV’s Nordic program was formed in 2004, making it relatively young compared to many of the other top programs in the country. Its previous best result at the junior national championship is eighth.
Program Director Dan Weiland said the key to the club’s success this year was depth.
“In the grand scheme, this was our best JNs ever,” said Weiland. “The cool part is, we had results come from quite a few our our athletes, not just a couple athletes. It’s often the case, with other programs, you’ll see that one or two people will score all the points for their club. … The depth of our racers was why we did well.”
The top three clubs at the championship were Loppet Nordic Racing, out of Minneapolis, which fielded twice as many athletes as SSCV, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which fielded a few college racers (alumni of their club), and Stratton Mountain School, who finished third.
“The ones that you would think of as the major players in our sport were all there,” said Weiland.
SSCV’s girls finished third by way of their point totals at the event, although that is not an official recognition of the championship.
In the opening classic race, SSCV’s Nolan Herzog was fourth for U20s; Collin Wilson was seventh for U18s; Cam Wolfe was 11th for U18s. On the girls’ side, Bridget Donovan was sixth for U18s; Haley Brewster was 11th for U16s; Sharon Seabury was 12th for U16s; Emma Reeder was 13th for U16s.
Top results for the club came in the skate race with Reeder taking second and Brewster finishing third for U16 girls. SSCV athletes also cracked the podium in a handful of team relay events.
Overall, the team logged three top fives, seven top 10s, and 19 top 20s in individual races across various age groups.
“The snow wasn’t like what we are used to, warm and wet,” said Weiland. “It was our first time racing on klister wax this season. Some of the other clubs from Alaska and New England have the advantage there because they ski in those conditions a little more often.
“I think the team, going into it, didn’t anticipate we would finish as well as we did,” he added. “Historically, we’ve been very good at Soldier Hallow. But for the most part, the depth of our racers is why we did well. … The fact that we were so good as a club across the whole program was a real highlight of the event.”