Challenging conditions troubled members of the Summit Nordic Ski Club all week at the 2014 USSA Cross Country Junior Championships in Stowe, Vt. Attempting to keep its winning streak rolling, the team had high hopes for some top 10 finishes and potential podium bids, but it wasn’t meant to be this time around.
“They weren’t quite as fresh as they needed to be to have their best races,” head coach Joe Howdyshell said. “We had a pretty jam-packed schedule for the last month of the season.”
The team competed in events for several weeks straight leading up to nationals, which Howdyshell said added significantly to the challenge.
“Cross-country skiing is one of the absolute hardest sports,” he said. “I think our training schedule, that I designed, may not have rested the kids enough.”
While team members might not have lived up to the lofty expectations they set for themselves, Howdyshell said they maintained good spirits and still managed some strong performances in difficult circumstances.
“I think we did a pretty good job this year,” he said. “If you look at our results on paper they’re a little disappointing. I was impressed by our kids’ ability to stay positive and their overall effort levels through the week.”
Summit’s Ruthie Boyd and Henry Trowbridge, along with Tiger alumnus and University of Colorado freshman Jackson Hill, led the way for the team.
Boyd claimed 19th in the 16-19 junior women age group for the mass skate competition, running the 10K course in 31 minutes, 21.9 seconds. She finished 1:53.3 behind the top finisher in her category.
“Of all the kids she probably had her best races of the year at nationals,” Howdyshell said.
“Henry Trowbridge had a pretty good day,” he added.
Trowbridge took 13th in individual classic racing 10K — his stronger event. Trowbridge completed the race in 29:52.3, 1:14.7 behind the race’s top finisher. Hill claimed the team’s top performance, finishing 10th in 15K age 18-19 mass skate. He finished the race in 39:28.4, 48.7 seconds behind the No. 1 finisher in his age group.
Cold weather and icy conditions were factors all week, especially in the mass skate competitions, causing a number of collisions resulting in falls.
“The low altitude and the speed of the snow meant it was speeds much higher than we’re used to skiing,” Howdyshell said. “Most of our guys had a pretty rough day on the mass start skate race. I think every one of our guys fell.”
Summit’s Parker Shell took the brunt of one crash, suffering a concussion after a number of racers crashed together.
“He was basically on the bottom of a pile with six kids,” Howdyshell said.
Complete Junior Nationals results are available at www.jn2014stowe.com