Friday, February 15, 2013

Durango Nordic eyes Junior Nationals

4 races remain to qualify

Halfway through the season, eight Durango Nordic Ski Club members have qualifying positions on the Rocky Mountain Nordic team that will travel to Junior Nationals in Fairbanks, Alaska, next month.

Skiers earn positions on the team through the best-of-four divisional races. Four races remain for skiers to solidify their position, jump on or fall off the list.

Ten skiers already proved their mettle through top finishes at Senior Nationals in January and therefore prequalified for the Rocky Mountain Nordic team. An additional 44 skiers will be added to the team, and these are the spots up for grabs.

Durango’s prequalifiers are Haakon Sigurslid and Cully Brown, although Brown skis for Vail this year.

Topnotch hopefuls include Rachel Hampton with a first-place finish at Soldier Hollow, Utah, and Charlie Greenberg who has three seconds to his credit.

Other Durango Nordic qualifiers thus far include Hannah Peterson (bests of second and third), Kaylee Blevins and Amy Katz (both with two sixths), Lily Oswald (10th and 12th) and Avra Saslow (10th and 11th).

Durango Nordic skiers still fighting for places include Maggie Wigton and Levi Kurlander.

Nearly anything can happen in the last four races. The next races will be held in Frisco the last weekend of February. Durango Nordic will play host to races March 2-3.

Younger skiers also battle for position on the season-end achievements list in their respective age classes within the Rocky Mountain region. Topnotch Durango achievers here include J5 Wiley Cora, who has yet to lose a race this season, and Katja Freeburn with three golds in four races in the J3 women’s group.

Cora flew to two first-place finishes at a meet in Vail last month. On a course designed to challenge the country’s best skiers, Cora dominated the boys J5 division in the freestyle and classic races.

Among a field of 245 skiers representing teams from Crested Butte, Vail, Aspen, Boulder, Steamboat, Gunnison, Summit County, Sun Valley, Idaho, and the Universities of Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska-Anchorage, Utah, Wyoming, Denver and Montana State, several other Durango skiers also posted impressive results.

In podium performances, Katja Freeburn won the women’s J3 freestyle race and placed a close second to an inspired Eva Rosenboom-Bol from Boulder in the classic race. Freeburn led for most of that race.

In the same category, Marit May placed third in the classic race and fourth in the freestyle. Charlie Greenberg placed third in the classic and second in the freestyle against a tough J2 men’s field. Rachel Hampton was third and second, respectively, in the women’s OJ division, finishes that also placed her among the top 23 of some of the best university-level racers in the country. Hannah Peterson finished a strong second in the classic race and fourth in the freestyle. Peterson also competes on the Durango High School cross-country team.

In other top 10 finishes, Kaylee Blevins and Amy Katz both earned fifths in the J1 women’s category, Blevins in the classic and Katz in the freestyle. Blevins was seventh in the freestyle. Dylan Williamson, in the J3 men’s freestyle, and Cobe Freeburn, in the men’s J4 classic, placed sixth. In their opposite races, Williamson was eighth and Freeburn 11th.

Three other skiers earned ninth-place finishes: Levi Kurlander in the J1 classic, Lily Oswald in the J1 women’s freestyle and Skyler Sands in the J4 women’s free. Kurlander placed 10th in the freestyle. Carter Killen finished 10th in the J4 boys freestyle while Avra Saslow was 10th in the J2 women’s classic. They were 11th and 15th in the other races.

Other Durango Nordic skiers included another DHS cross-country runner, Gordon Giannini, who placed 12th and 13th in the J1 freestyle and classic races, respectively. J2 Maggie Wigton was 13th and 17th, and Stan Ott was 26th and 20th in his J3 races. Abe Ott placed 14th in the J1 freestyle.

Durango Nordic head coach Gary Colliander said even better finishes are likely to come as the season progresses, if history is to repeat. Complete results can be found at

Two weeks later, 27 Durango Nordic skiers were among 600 who competed at Soldier Hollow, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics cross-country ski races. Durangoans came away with 28 top-20 finishes and 11 podiums.

Leading Durango again with victories in the J5 freestyle and classic races was Wiley Cora. Ethan Craig placed second and third in those races. Rachel Hampton claimed the women’s OJ championship in the 10K classic while placing second in the freestyle sprint. Kiri May also claimed titles in her J6 races.

Katja Freeburn took two seconds in J3 women. And in what may have been the strongest performance of the weekend, Marit May passed 15 skiers on the second lap of the 3K classic to claim third in the same category. It was a photo finish with Freeburn 0.3 seconds back of winning and May 0.7 behind her. May was 12th in the freestyle.

Charlie Greenburg, who never before made the sprint heats (top 30 in the qualifier) in a big race, walked away with an incredible fourth place in the men’s J2 freestyle sprints out of a field of 91. He got a 13th in the classic.

Hannah Peterson placed seventh out of 77 J1 women in the classic. She was 13th in the freestyle sprints. Amy Katz placed 14th and Kaylee Blevins was 21st in the classic.

Dylan Williamson placed ninth in both of his J3 3K races in a field of 58 skiers. Other skiers with top-20 finishes were J5 Ruby May (14th and 10th in the freestyle and classic, respectively), J4 Jordan Taylor (14th and 10th), J3 Camryn Sippy (35th and 14th) and J4 Ceci Compton (18th and 16th).

Cobe Freeburn and Haakon Sigurslid finished 16th and 18th, respectively, in the J4 and J1 classes of the freestyle. They were ill the second day and did not compete in the classic. Paul Knight was 22nd in the J4 freestyle, and Ellie Smith finished 20th in the J4 girl’s race.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nordic Backpacking Trip

On our first backpacking trip of the summer, 16 of us headed out from the South Mineral Creek trail head and climbed into Ice Lake Basin.  On this overnight trip we had a wide range of ages, from 10 year olds to 16 year olds, well, and then us adults along for the ride.

With our packs all saddled up on our backs, we headed out of the trail head around 9:30am and started the trek up to the basin.  We had a few breaks along the way up, one at this really cool waterfall that flows over an old mine.  We had a blast playing in the water and checking out the view.

3 miles late we were searching for a good camp site in the lower basin.  We found a winner by a little creek and started the task of setting up our tents.  It looked like there was a really cool fire pit there, too bad for the fire ban as some s'mores would have tasted really good!!

After we got all the tents set up, we broke out lunch food of cheese, peanut butter, honey, nutella, and tortillas.  Once we were all fed it was time to strike up a nice game of capture the flag at 12,000 ft.  With some many awesome hiding sports and terrain features, the game lasted a few hours before we ended it in a draw and just tried to find each others flags without the worry about getting tagged.

For dinner Ivy cooked up an awesome meal of rice and lentils to put in tortilla wraps.  Nothing quite like the taste of good food while backpacking!  After dinner the fun and games continued with a hilarious game of charades.  The kids all split up into two groups and competed as teams until the score board was ruined by Rhode, who thought it looked like a great place to take a nap.

We woke up Sunday to beautifully clear skies and a great Father's day for those dads with us on the trip.  After Matt had about 9 esspresso's, it was time for us old men to wake up the kiddos and start cooking breakfast.  After all that business was done we headed out on a day hike up to Ice Lake.  

The view were gorgeous as the lake and sky were both almost the same color.  After spending some time taking photos and (for some) swimming, we split up into a few groups.  Some headed back down the same trail to camp, so looked for a "short cut", and some went for a ridge run across to Island Lake.

After we all got back to camp, we hung out and had some lunch as we packed up our stuff.  We had an awesome time camping in the basin and it was sad to pack up and start heading out.  On the way down, the kiddos booked it out and we were at the cars about an hour later and heading home.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

DWSF Nordic Awards

This past weekend the Durango Winter Sports Foundation hosted its annual DWSF Awards Dinner where each team awards a male and a female in the following categories:  MVP, Devo MVP, Sportsmanship, Most Improved, Rookie of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year.  Each of the coaches have input for who they would nominate for each award Please read below for information on this year’s winners from the Durango Nordic Ski Club

MVP:  This award goes out to the male and female who display the greatest success at a local, regional, national, and international level.  This year’s female winner is Hannah Peterson for her success throughout the year in the RMN JNQ race series as well as her performance at Junior Nationals.  Hannah’s peak came around at the right time as she won the last JNQ of the season, here at Durango, to secure her spot on the RMN JN Team.  At Junior Nationals Hannah reach All-American honors in each individual race by placing 9th in the classic sprint, 8th in the skate mass start, and 6th in the classic individual start.  This year’s male winner was Cully Brown, who went undefeated in each RMN JNQ that he entered this winter.  Then, after enduring and operation on his appendix, had two All-American races at Junior Nationals, placing 3rd in the classic sprint and 2nd in the individual start classic race.

Devo MVP:  This is the second year of us having this award and it recognizes a male and a female from our development program, 13 years old and younger.  Similar to the MVP award, this is awarded to the junior male and female that demonstrates success at the local and regional level.  This year’s female award goes out to Jordan Taylor.  This season Jordan placed either 1st or 2nd at all of the RMN Colorado Cup races that she attended.  The male Devo MVP award goes to Wiley Corra, who was undefeated this season in the Colorado Cup race series.

Sportsmanship: This award goes to the male and female who exudes sportsmanship conduct.  This male and female displays graciousness in winning or losing and is always quick to congratulate their fellow teammates and competitors.  They lead by example and show up every day in order to give their all, either at practice or on race day.  This year’s female Sportsmanship award goes to Lily Oswald.  The male winner of the Sportsmanship award is Abe Ott.

Most Improved:  This award is presented to the male and female who displayed improvement throughout the ski season.  The female award this year is presented to Maggie Wigton for her continued improvement not just this year, but also over the past few years.  Maggie displayed continue improvement from the beginning of the season until her best races, the final RMN CO Cup races in Durango.  The male award is presented to John Rhoades.  John battled a lot of sickness this year, but through focused training still improved throughout the season, finishing it off with extremely strong races in Durango.

Rookie of the Year:  This award is presented to male and female skiers who are in their first year in our club.  It is based on their commitment to, and love of, the sport and how they represent themselves and our team at practice and events.  This year’s female award is presented to Ruby May.  Ruby is always up beat and cruising around on her skis.  She goes out of her way to talk with all ages of skiers on the team as well as coaches.  She is going to be a great ambassador of the sport.   The male award is presented to Carter Kileen.  Moving here from Wisconsin, this was the first year the Kileen family is part of our club, and we are lucky to have them.  Carter always brings a smile to practice and loves to race.  We are looking forward to many more years to come.

Volunteer of the Year:  These male and female awards are presented to volunteers to the club who help at events, fundraisers, races, and all other things Nordic.  This year’s female award is presented to Nancy Agro for all of her help with the Coke race series as well as our JNQ.  The male award is presented to Bill Rhoades for his timeless dedication to helping with the timing of all the Coke Races, Langlauf, as well as our JNQ.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Durango Nordic Athletes Return with Gold, Silver, and Bronze

From March 3rd through March 11th, 8 members of the Durango Nordic Ski Club were attending Junior Nationals held in Midway, UT at the Soldier Hollow Olympic Venue.  The trip we very successful for these athletes and the team returned home with 9 Individual All-American races, which is a top 10 finish, as well as a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals.
The racing kicked off on Monday March 5th with Classic Sprints.  The format starts with a qualifier in the morning and then the head to head sprint heats in the afternoon.  The top 30 in each age group in the qualifier move on to the sprint heats in the afternoon.  In the J1 Boys class, Haakon Sigurslid placed 11th and Sepp Kuss placed 63rd.  In J2 Boys, Cully Brown had an All American finish, placing 3rd and Charlie Greenberg placed 58th.  In the J1 Girls class Rachel Hampton placed 14th, Amy Katz placed 26th, and Kaylee Blevins placed 38th.  In the J2 Girls class Hannah Peterson also had an All American finish, placing 8th.

The next race was a mass start freestyle event on Wednesday March 7th.  The first group to race was the J2 Boys where Cull Brown placed 16th and Charlie Greenberg placed 34th.  Shortly following them was the J2 Girls race and Hannah Peterson from Durango had an All American race, placing 8th.  In the J1 Boys race, Sepp Kuss placed 20th and Haakon Sigurslid placed 27th. In the J1 Girls race, Rachel Hampton had an All American finish, placing 9th.  She was followed by teammate Amy Katz in 19th and Kaylee Blevins in 53rd.

The final individual race was an individual start classic race on Friday March 9th.  The first group to start was the J1 Girls where DNSC athlete Rachel Hampton again had an All American race, finishing 7th.  She was followed by her teammates Amy Katz in 19th and Kaylee Blevins in 38th.  Next to race were the J2 Girls where Hannah Peterson again had an All American finish placing 6th.  In the J1 Boys class Haakon Sigurslid placed 19th and Sepp Kuss placed 21st. In the last race of the day, Cully Brown had another All American race, finishing 2nd in his class.  He was followed by his teammate Charlie Greenberg in 49th.  

The 2012 Junior Nationals ended with a team relay on Saturday March 10th.  Charlie Greenberg was on the 8th place J2 boys team and Cully Brown was on the 11th place team.  In the J2 Girls relay, Hannah Peterson was on the 4th place relay team.  In the J1 boys race, Haakon Sigurslid was on the 9th place team and Sepp Kuss was on the 12th place team.  In the J1 Girls race, Rachel Hampton was on the gold medal winning 1st place team and Amy Katz was on the 10th place team.  Kaylee Blevins skied up an age group to be on an OJ Girls team that finished 13th

“This was a great Junior Nationals for both Durango athletes and the Rocky Mountain Division.” Said coach Josh Dalley.  “For most of us, we skied our best at Nationals when it really counted.  It was nice this year to have Nationals hosted in Utach at higher elevation and a race venue we are used to racing at.  I think this contributed a lot to the success of our team and Rocky Mountain’s 2nd place overall finish"