Hannah Smith knocking on door of Junior Team
The Crested Butte and Gunnison Junior Nordic Team traveled to Aspen last week for a three-day Nordic festival that included races and events for the youngest skiers all the way up through the junior and senior divisions. The festival also included the Owl Creek Chase a 25-kilometer race from Snowmass to Aspen.
The team competed in classic technique races on Thursday and Friday, February 7-8 and a skate technique race on Saturday, February 9. Hannah Smith and Dawson Stucki competed in Thursday’s classic events, 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer respectively. Smith and Stucki had great races to place 3rd and 15th respectively.
Friday’s race was when the team’s younger skiers raced and showed all the hard work that they’ve put in this season. Ian Boucher, Elisabeth Desmarais, and Amber Scott competed in the three-kilometer J3 age category where Ian posted a top ten result and Elisabeth and Amber skied to within three seconds of each other to place 11th and 12th respectively.
Forrest Smith, Pharwit Durgan and Kyle Boyle represented Crested Butte in the J4 age group placing 7th, 9th and 18th respectively. This is a great result for Kyle as it is his first season skiing with the team and his first Nordic race. In the J5 category, Kai Sherman came in a close second, only 1.7 seconds off the first place skier! All together, the team put in a very strong showing in the classic races.
Saturday’s skate technique races showed the teams versatility in both techniques. Kai Sherman placed 4th, Pharwit, Forrest and Kyle placed 5th, 8th and 21st respectively and Ian, Amber and Elisabeth placed 10th, 14th and 16th respectively in the J3 category. These are great results for our younger racers and the future of this team. Keep an eye on this group!
In the older age categories, Hannah Smith skied in the five-kilometer skate distance race and Stucki skied in the 15-kilometer. Both skiers turned in tough races skiing head to head against their competition in mass start races.
In the five-kilometer race, Smith skied with a group of three other competitors the majority of the race, before the final kilometer, when she dug deep and pulled away from the 4th place position to finish 3rd. This result and those from her previous races this year are placing her closer to qualifying for the Junior National Team that will compete in Anchorage, Alaska in March at the Junior National Championships.
The team will be traveling to Durango this coming weekend for the final race of the season for the team.