Team New England returned to Junior National competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota this week with gusto. After a two-year hiatus all ten U.S. Ski & Snowboard regions reconvened for this celebrated event, with a few of the strongest divisions sights set on the coveted Alaska Cup. The Alaska Cup not only rewards individual performances, but rather the depth of the full team. After two days of excellent competition, Team New England (717 points) has a sturdy lead over the Midwest of 218 points. Alaska sits in third with 438.
Team New England arrived in Minneapolis after a very successful Eastern Cup season that saw venues in four different states: Maine, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. This schedule allowed for a balanced, yet extremely competitive regular season including two SuperTour events. The final weekend of Junior National qualification, hosted this year by the Dublin School, tends to be a junior-centric event — providing head to head competition amongst the top juniors in the region. This exciting weekend really highlights the depth of our region and allows for some last minute adjustments to the Junior National team based on who is skiing fast at that moment. While there is a finite number of athletes that can make the trip — it is the whole of the energy and resources of our region that make Team New England so strong!
Team New England was greeted to a beautiful Opening Ceremonies in downtown Minneapolis over a stone arch bridge. All teams marched with pride and the excitement of returning to National level competition was evidenced by a goodhearted snowball fight! New England looked sharp and focused in their well known blue and yellow snowflake Swix uniforms.
Monday saw the first competition, with freestyle interval start races. Team NE came out of the gates hot with eight podiums and 14 top-ten All Americans. While our veteran skiers performances were outstanding there were many amazing results by first time Junior National skiers too!
Highlights included: U20 Women Nina Seeman🥇 and Cat Stow🥉 — U18 Women Ava Thurston🥇 Hattie Barker🥉 Sofia Scirica 5th and Evie Walton 6th — U16 Girls Beth McIntosh 5th and Annelies Hanna 9th — U20 Men Aidan Burt🥉 Jack Young 9th — U18 Men Jack Lange🥈 Sam Gallaudet 8th and Fin Bailey 9th — U16 Boys Tabor Greenberg🥇 Micah Bruner🥉 and Quinn McDermott 4th.
As always it takes a total team effort including athletes, coaches and amazing wax techs!
Wednesday saw classic sprint competition and Team NE crushed it again. With conditions teetering on the line between hardwax and klister our skiers and techs felt right at home, not to mention some help from premixes that were born back East. An amazing stat: three-quarters of the team qualified for the afternoon heats. The second day of races saw 16 top-ten All Americans and five podiums, including three National Champions — Congrats to Fin Bailey🥇for U18 men, Ava Thurston🥇for U18 women and Nina Seeman🥇U20 women. Jack Young took🥈for the U20 men and Ellis Slover got🥉for the U16 boys.
Action continues on Friday with Mass Start Classic races — you can view Livestreaming here.