February 16, 2020
Junior National Super Qualifier (JNQ #4) at Soldier Hollow - by Sophie Corkran
Three Teacup athletes competed in packed fields of talented racers on the Olympic Course in Soldier Hollow, UT. Almost 700 skiers battled for results to claim their spots at Junior Nationals. Beni, Catcher, and Sophie C (all of whom are in the U16 age group) raced an individual start 5k skate and a mass start 5k classic. The first day started off sunny and looked to be perfect for racing. However, midway through the boys skate race, intense winds created a struggle for skiers yet to come. The following day, much to the relief of the racers who fought through the wind, the air remained calm and the sun peeked out briefly from behind grey clouds. In spite of some weather setbacks and crashes, two of our Teacup athletes qualified for Junior Nationals to represent the PNSA division.
Catcher had his two best finishes of any JNQ races this year at SoHo. He said he loved having the opportunity to race at such a different and difficult venue. In the skate race, Catcher dominated on the steep uphills, all while having to battle through the wind and figure out the best technique to use on the terrain. Catcher’s jumping V1 allowed him to pass other skiers and pull ahead, leading to a great finish. His classic race was just as exciting! Never having competed against so many people at once before, Catcher had a hard time getting a spot in the tracks. But soon after the crazy start, he managed to finally settle in and pass others. In the home stretch to the finish, he had an incredibly fast double pole, collapsing as soon as he crossed the line. In the PNSA division, Catcher placed 10th in both the skate and the classic. Overall, he finished the skate in 65th and the classic in 72nd. He looks forward to more hard training and racing to try to qualify for junior nationals next year.
Throughout the racing season, Beni has maintained his high PNSA ranking by skiing consistently well. In SoHo, he earned his spot on the team going to Junior Nationals, despite some challenging situations. Right at the start of his skate race, the wind suddenly picked up, leaving him with a disadvantage. It blew so strongly that he needed to work extra hard to make it to the top of the steepest climbs. But even with tough conditions to work through, Beni skied fast on the downhills and passed other racers in the last 200 meters, holding them off until the finish with his strong V2. During the start of his classic race, he looked better than ever, skiing very close behind some of his biggest competitors. However, on the second lap of the race, he was tripped by another skier and as they both fell he accidentally broke the skiers pole. Although he dropped back in place, he still had a commendable finish, placing 8th in PNSA and 42nd of all the U16 boys. In his skate race, he finished 5th in PNSA and 31st overall. We look forward to seeing how Beni does at Nationals!
Sophie achieved her year-long goal of making it to Junior Nationals by the narrowest of margins. She had some of her best ever results at SoHo and was surprised and excited to see that she moved up in the PNSA standings. In her skate race, she maintained a fast pace and suffered through the tough uphills. However, Sophie’s determination was tougher than the hills and she was happy with the effort put forth. In the classic race, her strong performance was aided by having the perfect combination of grip and glide, thanks to Coach Karl’s expert waxing. She had her second best result of the year, even though she crashed on a high speed downhill. Although all her momentum was lost and she was passed by six racers (including three of her closest PNSA rivals) she managed to double pole her way back to a better position and finish in 6th place, only ten seconds out of third in the PNSA division. She placed 31st overall. In the skate race, she was 7th in PNSA and 34th overall. She is very excited to race at Junior Nationals!
Junior Nationals takes place at Auburn Ski Club, in Truckee, CA. Sophie and Beni will have a week of competition against the best junior skiers in the country!
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