Nordic athletes from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) headed down to Durango this past weekend to compete in the fourth and final Junior National Qualifier of the season. The team was more than successful at the event and numerous local athletes will be headed to Alaska to compete in the Junior National Championships against the best in the nation at the end of this month. On top of the great results, the team won the Colorado Cup, which is a first in the programs history. “All of the racers from young to old have done a tremendous job this year. We owe a lot to the support of our community and the parents of these athletes for all their help,” said SSCV’s nordic coach Eric Pepper.
The Colorado Cup is awarded to the top junior team in the state. With all the outstanding results that the nordic team has put together this season, including results from last weekends JNQ in Durango, the team had the best overall record of anyone in the state.
There were just fewer than 200 competitors of all shapes and ages at the JNQ this past weekend. Some of the fastest of those 200 were the nordic athletes from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV).
There has been a local group of nordic boys in particular that have been crushing the regional nordic scene. Saturday was the freestyle sprint and Ian Boucher proved to be the fastest in the Open Junior (OJ) and J1 class. Boucher had a tremendous race and sprinted his was to a first place finish. Cal Deline, another incredibly fast nordic local, placed second just behind Boucher. Steamboat Springs athlete Evan Weinman placed third breaking up the SSCV podium sweep. In fourth place was SSCV’s Christian Shanley. Cully Brown from SSCV had a solid race and skied to a seventh place finish. In the women’s OJ and J1 class there were a few notable performances from the SSCV racers. Hannah Hardenbergh placed fifth followed by her teammates Clare Baker in seventh, and Katie Scruggs in eighth. Cameron Moore was the only J2 male from SSCV racing in the event and finished fourth. The boys in the J3 class cleaned up again with Christian Wilson in first, Patrick Scruggs in second, and Nolan Herzog in fourth. The two SSCV boys in the J4 class also had a great day of racing with Ian Hardenbergh in second, and Andrew Rogers in third. Katy Hardenbergh kept results similar to that of her brother by also placing second in the girl’s J5/J6 class.
Sunday was the big of racing in Durango with the classic mass start. The OJ’s, J1’s, and J2’s all raced a 5km race with the J3’s and J4’s racing a 3km race followed by the J5/J6 class racing a 1.5km course. More SSCV top tens came out of the classic mass start for the male OJ/J1 class with Deline finishing in third, Shanley finishing in fifth, Brown finishing in sixth, Boucher finishing in seventh, and McDonald rounding out the top ten in 10th. In the women’s OJ/J1 category were the VMS girls Hardenbergh in third, Scruggs in fifth, and Baker in ninth. Annie Blakslee raced well in the J2 class finishing in seventh. The young J3 boys showed that they are a force to be reckoned with. Herzog won the race by one second. Following Herzog, a mere second behind, was SSCV’s Wilson in second. Scruggs skied well in the J3 class finishing sixth overall. Gracie Shanley had a great race on Sunday finishing in fifth place overall in the girl’s J3 class. Hardenbergh skied well in the boy’s J4 category placing third overall. The Hardenbergh family is composed of exceptional nordic skiers, all of whom have continued to perform well this season. Rogers had a great second day of nordic skiing and finished in sixth overall. Wilson and Rogers raced neck and neck in the boy’s J5/J6 class with Wilson coming out in ninth place and Rogers coming out in 10th. The youngest Hardenbergh showed that she knows how to ski well too and placed second in the girl’s J5/J6 class.
It was a great showing in southern Colorado and the last opportunity of the season to race in a JNQ race. Based on their points from the JNQ races this season, a handful of these athletes will be chosen to compete on the Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Team (for athletes 14 and older) in Alaska.
Christian Shanley, Max Scrimgeour, Cal Deline, Cully Brown, Ian Boucher, Parker McDonald, Cameron Moore, Hannah Hardenbergh, Clare Baker, Katie Scruggs, and Annie Blakslee make up the local nordic team headed to Alaska to compete in the national championships at the end of March.