Summit Nordic Ski Club’s Schamberger to join Hedberg at Junior World Ski Championships
From Jan. 2-7, a group of four Summit Nordic Ski Club skiers represented Summit County as they competed at the U.S. National Cross-Country Skiing Championships in Midway, Utah.
The national meet is the highest level of ski racing in the U.S., and this year served as the Olympic trials for the Nordic skiing discipline.
The fields at the meet included 231 men and 171 women. Among them were Summit’s Nina Schamberger, Aubree Confer, Sam Thebeau and Zander Bertonneau.
Day 1 of competition Jan. 2 featured the freestyle sprint races. Schamberger, who is a junior at The Peak School in Frisco, was able to qualify for the quarterfinal sprint heat by finishing in 18th place.
In the quarterfinal later that day, Schamberger was neck and neck with the rest of the field but ended up crossing skis with another competitor and did not advance to the finals, finishing in 3 minutes and 46.68 seconds.
Confer placed 102nd out of 165 skiers, missing out on the junior heats, while Thebeau and Bertonneau placed 187th and 205th, respectively, in the men’s field.
The second day of racing featured the distance freestyle races, in which senior women skiers raced 20 kilometers and men raced 30 kilometers. Skiers younger than 20 raced 7.5 kilometers for the women and 10 kilometers for the men.
In the distance freestyle races, all of the Summit Nordic Ski Club skiers finished above where they were ranked prior to competition.
Thebeau placed 55th while being ranked 71st, and Bertonneau placed 86th after being ranked 102nd.
Confer improved her ranking from 75th to 60th with her distance freestyle race, finishing in 24:00.4.
Schamberger, meanwhile, was at the front of the pack from the start of the women’s 7.5 kilometer race and hung on to finish in 20:18.8, good enough for third place and a spot on the Junior World Ski Championships team that will travel to Norway.
Schamberger will be joined by her coach Olof Hedberg, who is the head coach of the Summit Nordic Ski Club and was named to the Junior World team as a junior team coach.
Day 3 of the U.S. cross-county championships featured the individual start classic race, with skiers taking off by themselves at 30-second intervals.
“With this time-trial format, skiers must go hard without knowing how other skiers are faring out on the course,” Hedberg explained in an email about the race format.
Despite not knowing how their competition fared, the Summit Nordic Ski Club skiers raced well, with Confer placing 110th, Thebeau placing 117th and Bertonneau finishing 168th after having a hard downhill crash.
Schamberger made sure she firmly secured her spot on the Junior World team by working hard on the course to finish 10th overall and second in the junior field.
Schamberger was only 25 seconds behind first-place junior skier Sydney Palmer-Leger, who is a sophomore at the University of Utah and a two-time NCAA National Champion.
“I’m really excited to go,” Schamberger wrote in an email about Junior Worlds. “I feel like all the hard work my coaches, and I have invested is paying off. And I am so glad that my coach, Olof Hedberg, will be there to coach me in these races. It couldn’t be better.”
The Junior World Ski Championships take place from Feb. 22-27 in Lygna, Norway.
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