Woody Martineau earns all-American title
The cards were stacked somewhat against Crested Butte Nordic Team (CBNT) skiers Aiden Truettner and Woody Martineau as they headed to the Junior Nationals last week in California. Truettner was coming in as a first year U-18 skier in an intensely competitive age group and Martineau was making his first trip to the big show as a U-16 skier.
As a result, goals were somewhat muted for the two athletes, with Truettner just looking to finish top 50 in his events throughout the week and Martineau focused on a strong performance rather than a specific finish.
In the end, both skiers exceeded their goals, putting down their strongest efforts all season when it mattered most, with Martineau being named an all-American.
The week opened on Monday, March 9 with a skate sprint event. The race starts with a qualifying heat and then skiers match wits throughout the day in a series of elimination heats. It’s a format that does not necessarily play to the strengths of the CBNT skiers, but that was okay as there was plenty of more racing ahead that week.
“We knew that wasn’t going to be our strength and in the end it was a blessing because it was a shorter day,” says coach Austin Ross.
Following a day of rest, Truettner and Martineau lined up Wednesday, March 11 for an individual start skate race. Due to low snow conditions, race organizers were forced to adjust the course into a 2.5-kilometer loop with U-16 skiers making two laps and U-18 athletes taking four trips around the loop.
“I thought it was a tough course but the difficulty favored the Rocky Mountain skiers,” says Ross. “It has a lot to offer with fast downhills and big uphills.”
Martineau hit the course for his first lap and as Ross started hearing splits coming in over the radio, he knew something special was in the works. As times continued to come in, Ross headed out to the final stretch to cheer Martineau into the stadium.
“You could see he was focused and was going to leave everything out on the course,” says Ross. “I knew he was having a really good race.”
In the end, Martineau’s effort on his second lap propelled him into fifth place overall among the U-16 racers to seal his all-American status.
“That was a huge race for him,” says Ross. “To have a result like that was a big jump. All the training, the teaching and his health came together.”
Truettner put together a strong effort in his race as well. While the skate technique is not his strength, Truettner gritted his way to a 34th-place finish in the U-18 age class.
“Aiden definitely had a good day and I thought it was a fantastic result,” says Ross.
Athletes had another day off before closing out the week of Junior Nationals with a classic mass start race on Friday and then relays on Saturday. Martineau finished the week off with a 24th-place finish in the classic race and then helped lead a Rocky Mountain relay team to a seventh-place finish out of 18 teams. Truettner finished 31st in the classic race, third among Rocky Mountain skiers, and laid down a blistering split to open the relay race as his team skied to a 13th-place finish out of 29 teams.
In the end, Ross feels they both hit their peak when it mattered most.
“Both exceeded their goals and performed to their potential and that’s all you can hope for at Junior Nationals,” says Ross. “The all-American certificate is the icing on the cake.”
Martineau and Truettner will now shift gears into spring sports mode and with his all-American status, Martineau is invited to train with U.S. Ski Team coaches for a week this summer in Burlington, Vermont.