Seven Glacier Nordic Ski Team athletes competed at the second Junior National Qualifying weekend of the season on Saturday and Sunday in West Yellowstone.
Saturdayís race format was a 1.4km skate-technique sprint race. The course was a fast one with the top U18/U20 male finisher completing the qualifying round in just under three minutes.
GNST racer Winslow Nichols finished 32nd in his age class, barely missing the top 30 cutoff for the U18/U20 male heats. GNST once again saw strong finishes amongst its U16 male racers. Qualifying in the top 30 and racing all the way through the quarter finals and semifinals, Jacob Henson and Ruedi Steiner battled in out in the B Final to finish 10th and 12th overall.
Nate Ingelfinger finished the day in 27th and Barrett Garcia in 37th. Female U16 racer Madelyn Alexander qualified for the heats in her first ever cross-country ski sprint competition, finishing in 30th place.
GNSTís youngest racer of the weekend, Maeve Ingelfinger, had the teamís highest place finish of the weekend coming in fourth out of 31 U14 female racers.
On Sunday, 3 to 5 inches of snow was forecasted to fall throughout the time of the individual start classic-technique distance races. The age classes starting earlier in the morning, however, saw clear conditions.
Ruedi Steiner had the top finish of the day, taking seventh place in the U16 male 5km race. Jacob Henson followed close behind in ninth, and Nate Ingelfinger and Barrett Garcia finished in 25th and 39th. Later that morning the predicted snowfall began while Madelyn Alexander raced to 30th place in the U16 female 5km, and Winslow Nichols stayed tough through two laps of the 5km course to finish top 20 in the U18 male 10km race. This was a personal best finish for Nichols.
As it stands right now, both Steiner and Henson are in qualifying positions on the Intermountain Division points list for JNs. The boys, however, still have work to do at the final qualifying races in order to clinch a spot on the Intermountain Division Ski Team for this seasonís JN competitions in Truckee, California. The final qualifying weekend will be held at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah. The venue was the sight of the Nordic ski competitions at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The athletes traveling to these races on Feb. 14 and 15 will be racing on the Olympic 5km racecourse.
Four GNST athletes from the Clubís Prep and Jets level programs also raced this past weekend at the Seeley Lake Biathlon on Feb. 1. Noah Hudson finished first in the Male Youth 3k division, followed by his brother Hudson in third place, Liam Browne in sixth and Euell Browne in ninth place. The Prep and Jets teams will next race in the Libby Wolf Chase on Feb. 15.