The second Junior National Qualifier of the season for the Durango Nordic Ski Club was held in Crested Butte. Though the Nordic skiers weren’t hitting the steep slopes at Crested Butte, they burned up the challenging Nordic track in town.
“The team had a really solid performance, especially considering the lackluster snow year we’ve been having in Durango,” Durango Nordic head coach Evan Elliott said in an email to The Durango Herald. “Many of the kids improved upon their results from the last qualifier we attended.”
During the classic sprint race, the athletes had to go through qualifying to reach sprint heats.
The show was stolen by the team’s youngest competitors, as Betty Holcomb and Mira Quayle shined in the under-10 girls group that skied a 1K loop. Holcomb placed second to earn a silver medal, and Quayle finished sixth.
Older athletes raced a tough 1.2-kilometer course.
Among the 20-and-under girls, Marit May placed 14th, Carter Reiter was 21st and Alma Wolf placed 28th. In the boys under-20 division, Noah Bodewes finished 33rd overall.
Wiley Corra earned a top-10 performance for the under-16 boys, as he placed seventh. Logan Moore was 11th. Ruth Holcomb led Durango’s under-16 girls, as she finished 11th. Rebecca Bowers placed 21st and Kristina Bodewes was 24th.
Durango Nordic had a whopping 24 athletes reach sprint heads in the under-14 and under-12 age groups. Halle Moore reached the A Final for under-14 girls, and she finished sixth overall. Ruby May was 12th, Maggie Holcomb was 13th, Nina Quayle placed 18th, Hannah Garvey placed 20th and Hannah Helms was 22nd. Among the under-14 boys, Fred Reiter placed 11th.
Kiri May placed fifth among under-12 girls, while Andre Craig led the under-12 boys in 19th. James Garvey was 20th and Rei Rasmussen placed 26th.
“Classic sprints always make for a long day, but our athletes stayed focused and optimistic for all of it,” Durango Nordic assistant head coach Paige Elliott said. “Also, when it comes to cheering on their teammates, they’re often the loudest and most enthusiastic of all the clubs.”
The final day of racing featured mass-start skate races. Athletes 16-and-older raced on a 5K course, while athletes 12 to 14 raced a 3K course. The 10-and-under athletes all raced 1K.
Betty Holcomb earned a second consecutive silver medal, as she placed second in the under-10 girls skate race. Quayle again was sixth.
The under-16 boys race was thrilling, as Durango’s Logan Moore claimed the gold medal. Wiley Corra placed fifth.
May finished fifth in the under-12 girls race. Among under-12 boys, Craig was 16th, James Garvey placed 17th and Rasmussen placed 23rd.
In the under-16 girls race, Ruth Holcomb placed 10th, Kristina Bodewes was 21st and Bowers placed 23rd.
Fred Reiter skied to 19th in the under-14 boys race. Maggie Holcomb was ninth in the under-14 girls skate, and Halle Moore was 10th. Ruby May placed 18th, Hannah Garvey was 19th, Nina Quayle placed 23rd and Helms was 25th.
The grueling 5K course was conquered by a few Durangoans, as Marit May was eighth in the under-20 girls race, while Carter Reiter was 18th and Wolf was 25th.
Next up for Durango Nordic is another JNQ to be held this weekend in Steamboat Springs.
“I’m excited to see how the team does in Steamboat” Evan Elliott said. “We’ve had some more opportunity to get on snow lately, so I think we’ll be heading into the weekend feeling confident and strong.”