January 15, 2021
2021 Regional Race (JNQ) #1 - Sunnyside Challenge - by Sophie Corkran
In a normal year, this event would be a Junior National Qualifier (JNQ). However, Junior Nationals have been cancelled for 2021. Nonetheless, the Sunnyside Challenge gave athletes an opportunity to compete against other teams in the Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA) division.
The Sunnyside Challenge was the first real race of the 2021 season, held at Mt. Bachelor on January 11th and 12th. Teacup had 9 athletes attending! Not every team in the PNSA division participated, but there were many strong competitors in all age groups. Due to Covid, the races were held on a Monday and a Tuesday instead of the weekend. This reduced contact with other skiers on the trails. Another change was that all races were done in the individual start format and the starting and finishing areas were empty of spectators. Sadly, there were also no team meetings or award ceremonies like in years past. Even with so many changes, just getting the chance to race was exciting for everyone. The first day consisted of distance classic races, with lengths of 10k for U18, 5k for U16, and 2.5k for U14/U12. The snow was cold and fine grained but rounded due to a bit of rain the previous day. It was a beautiful sunny day and the temperature stayed in the high 20s; perfect for racing. The downhills were very fast with multiple tough turns and many opportunities for wiping out. Many difficult climbs followed a first long descent. Karl earned his title as world class wax tech with primo grip and glide!
Unfortunately, the nice conditions took a turn for the worse the next day. During the skate events, which were 5k for U18/U16 and 2.5k for U14/U12, torrential rain drenched everything. The wind blew at 28mph with gusts up to 41, with an air temperature around 38°. Soft snow and fast skis made cornering even harder than before. Staying dry was impossible with no lodge to warm up in, but not a single Teacup athlete put up a fuss! The team stayed in high spirits and had two great days of racing.
Liam - U12
Liam had two podium finishes! During his first regional race, he placed 2nd in both the classic and skate races. Liam said that he enjoyed the up and down terrain at the end of the classic course. During the skate race, he liked to chase other skiers in front of him and blow past them. Liam had awesome results as well as a lot of fun skiing competitively.
Anneka - U14
Anneka had a couple great days of racing. In her classic race, she placed 6th and in the skate, she finished 3rd. In the classic race, Anneka was proud of pushing to the finish when she was running low on energy. In the skate, she enjoyed the very start because she could V2. She accidentally got started on a 4th lap of the skate course and had to turn back towards the finish line. Despite getting turned around, Anneka still had an awesome race and a lot of fun.
Kailua - U14
Kailua had an incredible classic race! She finished in 1st place after passing other skiers, including a boy who started ahead of her. She didn’t race in the skate, but her amazing performance the day before made up for it. Kailua was not only psyched when she heard that she won, but she also enjoyed getting a chance to race and see how her training has helped her improve.
Catcher - U16
Catcher’s classic race was one of the most excellent finishes he’s ever had. He placed 3rd, saying that he felt great on the uphills, including the final few when he was fully exhausted. In the skate race, he placed 4th. He was fatigued, but found the energy to push up the final hill. Catcher was glad to remember the feeling of nervousness before a race and the feeling of going all out while competing.
Colin - U16
Colin skied in his first ever regional race this year. He placed 12th in the classic race, and 11th in the skate. During his classic race, he enjoyed the straight sections because he could get a lot of power through double poling. In the skate, Colin took the corners really well, being able to keep his speed up going through them. He thought it was fun to try skiing on new terrain and at a higher altitude than he’s used to!
An adrenaline boosting event occurred shortly before the start of Colin and Catchers’ classic race. They had each others’ bibs and didn’t know it until right before Catcher’s start time! Luckily, the switch was made just in time and both athletes had great races.
Fergus - U16
Fergie put out his full effort on both days of racing. In the classic, where he placed 11th, he enjoyed the long descent because he could close the gaps between himself and other skiers. In the skate, he caught up to other racers just after the top of the hardest climb. Although racing in the rain didn’t seem exciting, Fergie still gave his all and placed 9th in the skate.
Benjamin - U18
Ben raced in his first ever classic 10k. He placed 9th against a very competitive group of skiers. At the end of his race, he said he put down a hard effort and felt good. Ben didn’t ski in the skate race, but he enjoyed the chance to see friends from other teams, as well as spending time with his Teacup teammates.
Sophie C - U18
During this year’s first JNQ, Sophie had a lot of fun. She placed 3rd in the classic, and 3rd in the skate. She enjoyed the long and twisty downhill in the classic race as well as powering over the tops of the ascents. While skating, she was proud of keeping up a fast tempo on the hills. Sophie loved having the opportunity to race and cheer for her teammates.
Sophie K - U18
Sophie had two awesome finishes to kick off the racing season. She placed 5th in both the classic and skating events. Sophie said that she had great grip wax during the classic race and she stayed strong on the uphills. In the skate, she enjoyed the variations on the course that allowed her to use the techniques she’s been practicing all season. Overall, Sophie was glad to have a safe and competitive race and a chance to see where her fitness is.
Many Teacup parents took pictures and videos of the races, even in the tough weather! However, this year we do not have any photos of the whole team together. Coronavirus has prevented a lot from being normal. It is still uncertain whether or not any other regional races will happen, so Teacup is grateful to have had at least one real race. As seen by a lot of great results, the training done this season has paid off! All of the Teacup coaches have helped the junior team immensely. Coach Karl said, “I’m feeling proud of my athletes,” after seeing great efforts all around. Hopefully more racing opportunities arise soon!
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