Monday, February 15, 2016

Spokane: the last qualifier!

This past weekend was another one filled with excitement and action as the Methow Valley Nordic Team headed to Mt. Spokane for the PNSA U14 Championships and the final Junior National Qualifier. The weather has been rather soggy all over the region and Spokane was no exception, the team was greeted by rather dreary conditions but that did little to dampen spirits. The snow was still in good condition and the skiing was great!
Saturday's event was a mass start classic and the U16 boys kicked things off with some strong performances, setting the bar for the rest of the day. Peter Aspholm won the race followed by Emerson Worrell and Walker Hall came in just behind in an exciting photo finish where he ended up 4th. This pattern continued throughout the day with MVNT taking top spots in all age groups they could! This included U16 girls with Novie McCabe again taking the victory, U20 girls with Claire Waichler claiming the top spot, U14 boys with Zane Strome leading an MVNT podium sweep, U14 girls with Liv Aspholm winning and leading a 1-4 MVNT finishing, U12 girls with Jori Grialou and another podium sweep and finally U10 girls where Marit Nelson rounded up a good day and stood on top of the podium.
U16 girls lining up for the start: Novie McCabe (foreground) and Gretta Scholz (background)
Coach Leslie Hall said, "It was a a huge success for the team and we had one of our best days all season! The wax was decent and everyone skied well despite dealing with falls and other hardships out there. Overall, it was a great day."
Full results can be viewed here:
Sunday's race format was a individual start skate and proved to be almost as successful as the day before! Again we had stellar performances in all age categories and winners in several of them! Novie McCabe sealed a final victory making it eight for eight in the U16 girls this season. Ella Hall won the U18/20 girls and Zane Strome and Liv Aspholm again took the top spots in the U14 categories. Results can be found here:

Another U14 girl podium sweep!!
This being the last qualifier there were many awards and team-naming and such following the race. MVNT did well in this due to their great performance this weekend and all season long. One such award was the Washington State High School Championships which MVNT members won handily with a near perfect score.
A giant chocolate bar for their hard efforts. 
A second and perhaps more exciting announcement was the naming of the 2016 Junior National team which will be headed to Cable Wisconsin March 7-13th. This years team consists of 7 MVNT members out of 32 total members from all around the division, Claire Waichler, Ella Hall, Eli Nielsen, Peter Aspholm, Emerson Worrell, Novie McCabe and Gretta Scholz. 
The JN's crew (minus a few who weren't there)
In other news, international biathlete and team member Eli Nielsen is currently competing in the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer Norway. He has been having a great experience and results from his races can be found at:
Also, the annual holiday camp is happening this weekend with many happy participants from around here and beyond. Skiing has been really great throughout the valley and the younger team members are especially enjoying a fun obstacle course that Flash Clark has made at the McCabe trail. Progress is visible! 
A happy group on a sunny day! (pc: Steve Hirsch)
In upcoming events, Hanz's Big Adventure will be taking place this coming weekend and then the season is wrapping up with the final day of practice being February 25th. 
Stay tuned!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Soldier Hollow

It's a busy time for the Nordic Team with lots of traveling, racing and fun. Last weekend, a group of 9-12 year olds from the team drove up to Salmon Arm, BC for Midget Championships were they logged some great results. Also competing internationally this week is Claire Waichler who is finishing up a stint at World Juniors for biathlon in Romania. 
For other members of the team it was time to fly down to Utah for the annual Super Junior Qualifier held at Soldier Hollow. Nine members of the team accompanied by coaches Leslie and Laura, helpful parent drivers William Worrell and Bob Nielsen, and wonderful cook Tammy Nielsen. 
This race included skiers from across the entire west and hosted over 750 skiers in all the fields. Soldier Hollow is always an exciting race to attend because of the great competition and the challenging venue, as the sight of the 2002 Olympics. 
A beautiful SoHo day
The first race of the weekend was a classic sprint following a very tough course featuring the infamous "Hermods Hill", a steep and long uphill climb. With such large fields of racers it was difficult to advance into the qualifying rounds and we had many skiers just on the edge. With only the top 30 moving on in each age group the times were all very close and competitive. In the U16 boys qualifier Peter Aspholm barely missed moving on, placing 31st, just .9 seconds outside and Emerson Worrell in 33rd closely behind. Novie McCabe and Ella Hall were the only MVNT skiers to advance to the qualifying rounds where Ella was eliminated in her quarter heat and Novie advanced well throughout the afternoon and ended up 4th overall in the U16's!
Novie charging into the finish
Additionally there was a U14 race just doing one lap of the 1.3km course. Walker Hall placed 3rd in this event and Travis Grialou finished 17th. 
U14 boy's podium
Saturday morning we awoke to the pattering of heavy rain which fortunately turned to snow after not too long. Unfortunately this made for rather poor visibility and tough conditions especially for those skiers doing 10km and 15km. The technique of the day was skate mass start and the U14 boys kicked things off with a 3km course were Walker Hall finished 2nd with a great finishing kick and Travis Grialou was not too far behind in 11th place. Following this was the U16 boys race were Peter and Emerson again tested their strength against that of a tough field. The U16 girls were after them and Novie McCabe dominated the field, taking the lead early on and keeping it the entire way. Gretta Scholz had a strong race as well and finished 9th overall. 
Novie at the top of the podium!
The next race was the U18/20 girls were Ella Hall had a strong race on speedy skis and finished fourth in the field and first in her age group. 
Another MVNT skier on top!
The last race of the day was the U18/20 boy's 15km were competitors made their way around the snowy loop 3 times. Eli Nielsen worked his way through the field and finished in 45th for his first 15km. Geza Sukovaty completed the race in 100th position. Full results for the weekend can be found at:   
Girls cheering on during the sprints. 
All and all it was another great weekend for the team. Aside from the racing scene, things are going well also. With more and more snow in the valley conditions have been great at practice and everyone is enjoying getting outside and shuffling around. 
Practice at the McCabe trail! photo: Jen Schumacher
Stay tuned for our next adventures and enjoy the beautiful winter!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Race of the Methow

This past weekend marked the completion of another Race of the Methow for the team. The valley hosts this race once a year and skiers from all over the region come for this qualifier. Over 150 racers from the Pacific Northwest turned out to race. First off, a big thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors for this event as they put in many hours during and before this weekend in order to make it all possible! Next, a big shoutout to all MVNT athletes who turned out to race and all put in a stellar effort.
Happy girls before their race. 
The first day of racing featured a skate sprint. The team had kids racing in just about all age groups from the lollypop race on up! Despite snowy weather everyone persevered and had a great time.
A little train action happening in the stadium.
One of the many good performances of the day came from Peter Aspholm who finished second in his age group. Coach Leslie Hall said, " It was great to see Peter Aspholm put together a smart day of sprinting and remind us all how quick he is." 
Peter going hard in the sprint. 
Emmett Bondi (U10)
Also, many younger skiers came out to try racing with great success. Mariah Lucy won the U12 girls' race followed by Jori Grialou, Dashe McCabe, Amelia Bondi and Wyatt Albright to make it a Methow 1-5 sweep in that class! To see full results from the day follow this link:
Dashe McCabe
Sunday's event was a classic distance race and again featured a wide variety from 1.5km to 10km. Conditions were good, albeit a little wet due to heavy snowfall. The Methow had another great day and took the win in several categories including, Jori Grialou for the U12's, Lindsay Worrell for the U14's, Novie McCabe for the U16's and Ella Hall for the U18/20's. Complete results can be found here:
Jori Grialou charging up the hill. 
The action didn't stop there with a biathlon race occurring on Monday open to anyone willing to give it a try. This made for a long weekend for some athletes who raced all three days!
Claire Waichler got in a solid 3 days of racing. 
Again, thank you to everyone who made this race possible. It was a big success. Stay tuned as more stories are on the way!
The coaches keeping an eye on us!
*photo credit to Rachelle Weymuller for all the beautiful photos!*

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Weekend

This past week held much excitement for the nordic team. First off, two MVNT skiers and biathletes  travelled with coach Betsy Devin-Smith to Anchorage, AK for Biathlon Junior Trials. Conditions proved to be a bit tricky but they prevailed and came away with great success. U20 skier Claire Waichler left the races with two second place finishes and a spot on the World Junior team headed to Romania! Eli Nielsen, U18 skier, earned himself a spot on the Lillehammer Youth Olympic team with his performance. Big congratulations!
Next, senior and U20 skier Ella Hall accompanied by her dad, Alex, departed New Years Eve to travel to Houghton Michigan for Senior Nationals. This event lasts over a week with four races happening of which she has participated in two and will stay for one more. The first event was a classic 10km on a tricky course with somewhat tricky waxing. It proved to be a great learning opportunity and chance to race against the fastest skiers in the country.
The following day was a skate sprint and with fresh snow from the previous night the courses were in great condition. Ella just missed making the Junior Heats by a few seconds but then got to return to watch the older skiers race and cheer on MVNT alum Brian Gregg who had his best ever sprint result. 
Brian in the neon green hat. 
Additionally, a large contingent of racers made the long drive down to Bend, OR for the first qualifier of the year. The team posted some impressive results there and had a great time in the chilly weather.
Novie leading the charge. Photo: Claire Waichler
 Coach Leslie Hall gave this report on the weekend, "Novie [McCabe] was impressive on Sunday with her break away and strong finish. It was super hard for the boys to move up in the pack in the 5km mass start on Sunday but Geza Sukovaty took advantage of skiing with others and had one of his stronger races. Eli had an excellent classic race on Saturday after a big week of racing at biathlon trials. All the MVNT skiers skied with good technique and showed good sportsmanship which we coaches really appreciate!
Peter at the front of a train. Photo: Claire Waichler 

Happy kiddos hanging out in the lodge! Photo: Wendy Sims

Happy New Year to all! Stay in touch for the next big event, Race of the Methow held at home in a couple of weeks!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Silver Star NorAm

This past weekend thirteen MVNT racers and accompanying parents and coaches travelled back to Silver Star BC for the first race of the season. The race was a NorAm held at Sovereign Lakes Nordic Center and had participants from all over Canada as well as the US. This being a race with high level athletes and focused more on the older skiers, some of our team members had to race up in age categories in order to compete.  This made for some exciting competition and all our skiers rose exceptionally well to the challenge.
Skiers prepping for their starts!
 We left the valley Friday morning and made our way up North arriving in time for a preview of the courses. Saturday was a sprint race around the stadium and Sunday a distance race with distances varying from 2.5km to 15km on the World Cup course.
On the sprint day we had most our skiers make it into the rounds with good performances from everyone. Both Ella Hall and Novie McCabe made it to the B Finals in their age categories and ended up placing tenth.
A happy Novie
The following day proved to be mildly challenging conditions with snow and wind adding a little fun to the race. Again, everyone did very well and we had several podium finishes.
Emerson starting his 5km strong
Results can be found via the following links: - Sprints - Distance
Tired at the finish..
All and all it was a great weekend with lots of experience, fun and fast skiing! Stay in touch for updates on our next adventures!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Silver Star: training camp

This past week many Methow Valley Nordic Team athletes, coaches and family traveled to Silver Star, British Columbia for some on snow training and a generally great time. The lucky members who were able to get out of school arrived Monday and spent an extra two days enjoying the superb conditions before being joined by the rest for the camp's official start on Wednesday.
We enjoyed staying at the Pinnacles once again!
There were twenty three total kids attending the camp including some skiers from Leavanworth and Ellensburg. Also, the Momentum Northwest and MBSEF team were up there as well so we were able to run into them out on the trails. 
Enjoying the view from the top.
MVNT director, Leslie Hall, said “The conditions were the best they have ever been, we had a great week of training. All the athletes seemed to put in good effort and make gains with technique as well as get in a good volume of training. We had fun interacting with Momentum Northwest and MBSEF teams and look forward to a great season!”
Some of the group at Sovereign one day
Besides general training, the team also got to participate in a time trial on Friday in conjunction with MBSEF and Momentum. The biathletes on the team opted out of this and raced in a local biathlon race on Saturday.
Time trial start. Picture: John Mccolgan

Micheal Mott headed out of the start in the biathlon race. 
All and all it was a great week filled with sun, great snow, lots of skiing and tons of fun! Keep in touch for more updates on the team's next adventures!

The whole gang in Silver Star village. Picture: Susan Prichard