Three Durangoans can book their trip to the land of miracles.
Days before the 37th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, Durango Nordic skiers took to their home course looking to earn a trip to the site of those historic Games.
After the final Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifier series race of the year on their home track at the Durango Nordic Center, Cobe Freeburn, Logan Moore and Maggie Wigton all qualified for the 2017 Junior Nationals to be held March 3-11 in Lake Placid, host of the 1937 and 1980 Olympics.
Marit May also was selected as an alternate for nationals. Durango Nordic placed fifth in the Colorado Cup Team series.
Racing at the Durango Nordic Center was held Saturday and Sunday under varying weather conditions. Mass start classic races were held Saturday. Durango’s team had increased numbers without having to travel for the event, and medals came flooding in.
“The snow was so variable on the course that it was nearly impossible to find a wax that worked everywhere all the time,” head coach Paige Elliot said in a news release.
“Our athletes stayed mentally tough, though, and put in some really strong efforts.”
Skiing on the 7.5-kilometer course, Wigton finished sixth overall and was the top 20-and-under finisher in the 20- and 18-and-under category. May was 18th, and Carter Reiter placed 21st.
Rebecca Bowers led Durango’s 16-and-under girls in the 5K race in 17th place.
In th 16-and-under boys competition, Freeburn placed sixth with Moore in seventh. Luke Tichi took 10th, while Paul Knight and Miles Broncos were 32nd and 34th, respectively.
The 14- and 12-and-under skiers competed on a 3K course. Ruth Holcomb finished third in 14-and-under. Halle Moore and Georgia Mynatt also finished in the top 10 in sixth and eighth, respectively. Ruby May was 22nd, Hannah Garvey placed 25th, Lilly Tichi was close behind in 26th and Bailey Freeman earned 28th.
Wiley Corra earned a silver medal in second, while Ethan Craig was 12th, and Aiden Quayle placed 25th.
Maggie Holcomb claimed silver in the 12-and-under girls division. Kiri May was 10th, Nina Quayle was 13th and Zoe Freeman placed 14th.
Fred Reiter was seventh for the 12-and-under boys. Tanner Coddington placed 20th.
Betty Holcomb skied to sixth on the 1.5K course for 10-and-under athletes. Mira Quayle was eighth.
James Garvey earned bronze for 10-and-under boys. Andre Craig was fourth, and Rei Rasmussen placed sixth.
Sunday featured individual start skate races. The snow fell heavy, making it even more difficult on the athletes.
Wigton placed sixth overall and was first among 20-and-under girls for the second consecutive day. May was 15th, and Reiter took 17th. Alma Wold also came in 25th.
Bowers placed 17th for the 16-and-under girls. In that age group for boys, Moore earned gold in first, the best result of his young career. Luke Tichi was eighth, Freeburn placed 11th, Knight was 32nd and Broncos took 34th.
Mynatt earned her first podium of the year in second place in the 14-and-under girls category. Ruth Holcomb was fourth, Halle Moore was eighth, Ruby May placed 21st, Hannah Garvey earned 23rd and Bailey Freeman took 28th.
Corra earned a gold medal in first for the 14-and-under boys. Ethan Craig placed fifth, and Aiden Quayle was 25th.
For the 12-and-under girls, Maggie Holcomb skied to bronze. Kiri May was eighth, Nina Quayle was 13th and Zoe Freeman placed 14th.
Fred Reiter was 11th for the 12-and-under boys, while Coddington took 16th.
Betty Holcomb placed sixth for the 10-and-under girls on a 2K course. Mira Quayle was seventh. In the boys race, James Garvey earned his second bronze of the weekend, while Andre Craig was sixth and Rasmussen eighth.
“We had athletes who have been racing with the team for years skiing alongside athletes who started just this year,” Elliott said. “I was so impressed and pleased with not only how hard they worked but how supportive everybody was of one another.”