Four Summit Nordic skiers move on to Jr. Nationals
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
It’s been a long season for some members of the Summit Nordic Ski Club. They’ve had races in Crested Butte, Durango, Steamboat Springs and Utah, and through it all, four of the skiers have been rewarded – with one more chance to race.
Julia Hayes, Tucker McCrerey, Duncan Koehn and Jackson Hill all qualified for the U.S. Junior Nationals hosted by the Maine Winter Sports Club in Presque Isle, Maine, this coming week.
In order to reach the national competition, each of the four skiers had to finish the season-long standings within the top-12 of all Rocky Mountain Nordic racers.
For Hayes, the task was a bit more difficult than in past years. This winter was her first season racing in the J1 age class, which meant she had to compete in distances of 10k, 5k and sprint (about 1.2 km), rather than just the 5k and sprint of the younger age groups.
Undeterred, Hayes had an incredibly consistent season, regularly finishing in the top-12 in the races. She also won the individual classic title at the Colorado High School State Championships.
Another racer moving to J1 this year was McCrerey, but the Summit speedster had little trouble making an adjustment. Racing distances of 15k, 10k, 5k and sprint, McCrerey was consistently in the top-5 all season.
McCrerey’s early season results were so good, he was able to skip the season’s final races to rest up for nationals.
“This was a good decision as I’ve seen him spring back to life this week, and he’s starting to get anxious to race,” Summit Nordic Ski Club head coach Justin Easter said via e-mail. “This is always good at the end of the season.”
Koehn, meanwhile, was on the outside looking in for much of the season. However, the Summit High junior never let his spot in the standings bother him, and with a late-season push, qualified for his first Junior National Championships.
“Duncan has probably made more gains in athletics than just about any athlete I have ever coached,” Easter said. “His determination on the course is just amazing.”
The final Summit skier headed to Maine this weekend is Jackson Hill. Competing in the J2 category, Hill will race in two 5k races, one sprint and a 5k leg of a relay.
Just a freshman at SHS, Hill has shown all season that he skis far beyond his experience level.
“Jackson likes the big races, and I think his results will show that after this coming week,” Easter said.
The first races of the event are on Monday, with the final competition wrapping up March 13.
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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