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Sprint Day JOs

TRUCKEE, CA—The 2009 Junior Olympics officially kicked off today with the skate sprint competition at Auburn Ski Club. Athletes woke up to new snow and more snow was falling, making it difficult for some teams to make it to the venue. Fifteen passenger vans rumbled up the to the venue, many with chains hastily applied that morning, and skiers stepped out to warm up on a course that had changed significantly since the day before. Despite the new snow, the course remained firm, and fair spring racing was the theme of the day.

The Stadium in afternoon sun for the ski downs

The Stadium in afternoon sun for the ski downs

In an era with continually lengthening sprint courses, Truckee took it old school, with a fast and furious 913 meter track culminating in a final climb back up to the stadium. After the cold, cloudy qualifying, the sun came out and the excitement ramped up for the ski downs. 30 skiers from each age class advanced to five quarterfinals. Doug Debold, a Middlebury skier racing for his native Midwest Region, became the first champion of this year’s JOs, winning the OJ category in remarkable fashion. Debold qualified first, then won each heat he skied in on his way to a victory going away in the A final. Alaska’s Reese Hanneman took second and Miles Havlick from Intermountain sprinted to the final place on the podium.

Parker Tyler similarly dominated the girls OJ category. The University of Utah skier, originally from Vermont, took home the title for New England. Tyler cruised to victory in the A final, over Midwest’s Corinne Malcolm and Rocky Mountain’s Briana Perkins. Hometown favorite Bernie Nelson took fifth, cheered on by a boisterous Truckee crowd.

Snow conditions had warmed up by the early afternoon, and coaches scrambled to rewax and topcoat the J1 skis. New England’s crew got the skis right, and the J1 boys qualified four racers to the A final. Craftsbury Nordic’s Ethan Dreissigacker topped the podium after conserving energy in the quarters and semis, where he finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. A strong move on the course’s final climb catapulted Dreissigacker past Erik Bjornsen, who took second for the PNSA. Nick Michaud from New England took third.

Ethan Dreissigacker (Bib 212) completes an epic move up the final climb to take first in the J1 Boys A Final

Ethan Dreissigacker (Bib 212) completes an epic move up the final climb to take first in the J1 Boys A Final

The Midwest’s Jessie Diggins, back from high level competition at World Juniors, qualified sixth but let no one beat her from there, as she won the J1 girls category. Diggins bested an impressive 2-3 punch from Intermountain, as teammates Elizabeth Guiney and Katie Gill rounded out the podium places.

Alaska showed its young strength in the J2 boys category. Another Hanneman podiumed, but Logan bested his brother’s second by winning the A final outright. Fellow Alaskan Isaac Lammers took second and Intermountain’s Akeo Maifield-Caruci finished third. A third Alaskan, Sam Dougherty, had the day’s 11th fastest qualifying time, besting the nearest J2 by more than four seconds on the two-minute course. Dougherty finished 5th in the J2 A final.

The final race of the day showcased the young talent of the New England and Intermountain Divisions, as they each took four of the top 12 in the J2 girls category. Intermountain’s Stella Holt bested New England teammates Corey Stock and Tara Geraghty-Moats, who finished second and third, respectively. Hannah Smith of Rocky Mountain was the only skier to break up the New England-Intermountain A final fun.

With Day 1 in the books, three regional contenders have demonstrated their depth and their high end ability. New England, Intermountain, and reigning Alaska Cup winner Alaska dominated the skiing, overcoming the elevation to lay down some fast tracks on the sprint course. Wednesday’s skate mass start races promise to be just as exciting as today’s sprints, as the fight for this year’s Alaska Cup continues.

Full Bracket Results can be found here:

http://www.XCJUNIOROLYMPICS2009.ORG/competition/jo2009_results_sprints/jo09_sprint_results.pdf

Be sure to check out the Junior Nationals website:

http://www.xcjuniorolympics2009.org

Results throughout the week can be seen here:
http://www.xcjuniorolympics2009.org/results.html

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