Woody Martineau bound for Junior Nationals
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Nordic Team (CBNT) closed out the 2016 season with a weekend of Junior National Qualifier races in Minturn Saturday and Sunday, February 20-21. With final race results now in for the season, it looks like Woody Martineau is headed to Junior Nationals in his first year, racing in the U18 age class, and Aiden Truettner is the first alternate from the Rocky Mountain Division.
The CBNT came into the race weekend strong with months of training under their belts and 10 skiers making the trip to the final races of the season.
“It was a pretty solid group for our little team,” says coach Austin Ross.
The event kicked off with an individual-start classic race on Saturday, and the highlight from the day came from U14 CBNT skier Seve Petersen continuing his rise through the ranks. After winning in Soldier Hollow in his last race, Petersen skied to another win in Minturn.
“That guy is on a hot streak,” says Ross. “It’s an individual start so it’s hard to know where you are but we gave him splits and he responded really well.”
The U18 crew of Martineau, Truettner and Benjamin Swift had their hands full with the 10-kilometer course.
“It was a really hard course for the 10k,” says Ross.
Adding to the mix were course conditions. What started out as “firm and fast” then fluctuated throughout the race, with the course getting hit by the sun in some spots and remaining cold in other spots.
“We did pretty well with the wax but it was changing throughout the day,” says Ross. “We had to tell the kids, do the best you can with what you got, it’s really hard to hit everything.”
The U18 crew dealt accordingly and all three cracked the top 20, led by Martineau in 11th place, Truettner in 15th place and Swift in 17th place.
“It was a strong finish for those guys but not their best races,” says Ross.
The rest of the team had decent results as well, with some skiing in their first races of the season.
“The younger kids jumped in there and did pretty well,” says Ross.
The team then peaked across the board on Sunday in the freestyle races. Truettner struggled with training earlier in the season and had yet to reach his potential until Sunday, when he led the CBNT team with a seventh-place finish in what might be his final high school race.
“I was really excited Aiden had his best finish of the year,” says Ross. “It was a really good bit of affirmation for him to get back to where he knew he could be.”
Martineau got tangled in a pile-up early in the race and spent the remainder of his time playing catch-up but still managed an eighth-place finish, and Swift closed out his high school Nordic career with an 11th-place finish.
“Benjamin had his best race of the season by far,” says Ross.
The same was true for the younger CBNT skiers as well, as they all closed the year with their best effort to date. Petersen stepped up to the top of the podium once again, beating his closest competitor in the 2.5-kilometer U14 race by 30 seconds.
“He just sort of crushed everybody,” says Ross. “It really bodes well for what he can do in the future. It was a really good day for me as a coach to see so many people set personal bests.”
Martineau and Truettner will continue training with the Junior Nationals in Telemark, Wisc., coming up March 7-12. Truettner is in a difficult holding pattern as the first alternate, but anything can happen.
“We’ll keep him training to make sure he’s prepared,“ says Ross. “Could be a week and a half notice, could be two days notice.”
As for Martineau, Ross will avoid setting any expectations on him at Junior Nationals.
“He seems to be able to reach that next level when it matters most,” says Ross. “Sometimes he pops that big race so I’m not going to rule anything out.”