Ju­nior/u23 World Cham­pi­onships

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Nel­son Al­lan

by Nel­son Al­lan

With ef­forts by the In­ter­na­tional Ski Fed­er­a­tion to ex­pand its reach into de­vel­op­ing mar­kets, the World Ju­nior/u23 Ski Cham­pi­onships got un­der­way in Ras­nov, Ro­ma­nia from Feb. 22-26. Fears of hav­ing to can­cel events due to a lack of snow and warm tem­per­a­tures meant that some events were moved up to ear­lier time slots. In ad­di­tion, ath­letes were forced to train on roller­skis in the days lead­ing up to the Cham­pi­onships so as not to com­pro­mise the avail­able snow.

Day One – Feb. 22, 2016

The week kicked off with the 1.3km freestyle sprints in warm, wet and sloppy con­di­tions. The U.S.A.'S Lo­gan Han­ne­man led the North Amer­i­cans, plac­ing 15th, with Canada's Julien Locke close be­hind in 16th in the U23 men's race. For the U23 women, it was Cana­dian Jen­nifer Jack­son lead­ing in 29th at her Worlds de­but, with Kelsey Phin­ney fin­ish­ing as the top U.S. skier in 34th.

In the quar­ter­fi­nals, Han­ne­man fin­ished third at 2.57 sec­onds be­hind in his heat and was un­able to move on as the Lucky Loser. Locke had a strong quar­ter­fi­nal, also fin­ish­ing third, less than a sec­ond from the lead in a tight heat.

For the ju­niors, it was Amer­i­can Ju­lia Kern (Strat­ton Moun­tain School) lead­ing the way as the top ju­nior wo­man in 16th, fol­lowed by Canada's Marie Cor­riveau (CNEPH) plac­ing 25th over­all. In the ju­nior men's races, Henry Harmeyer placed 35th over­all, while An­toine Blais (CNEPH) led the Cana­di­ans in 41st, both within sec­onds of qual­i­fy­ing for heats.

The quar­ter­fi­nals were close, and Kern fin­ished fourth in her heat only 2.08 sec­onds from qual­i­fy­ing for the semi­fi­nals, end­ing up 16th. Cor­riveau pushed hard in the quar­ter­fi­nal, but didn't ad­vance, fin­ish­ing in sixth and mov­ing up four spots from qual­i­fi­ca­tion to 25th.

Day Two – Feb. 23, 2016

Warm con­di­tions con­tin­ued in Ro­ma­nia as the In­di­vid­ual-start Clas­sic races took place. The U.S.A.'S Katharine Og­den (Strat­ton Moun­tain School) im­pressed as the top North Amer­i­can in 13th in the ju­nior women's 5km race, fol­lowed by team­mate Kern in 18th. Canada was again led by Cor­riveau, who fin­ished the day in 37th.

The ju­nior men's 10km Clas­sic race saw Cully Brown of the Uni­ver­sity of Ver­mont lead the U.S. ju­nior men in 35th, while Canada's Ryan Jack­son (Hard­wood/car­leton Uni­ver­sity) was the top Canuck in 46th.

Heather Mooney (Crafts­bury Nordic Ski Club) led the North Amer­i­can women in the U23 women's 10km Clas­sic race in 38th place, fol­lowed closely by Canada's Frédérique Véz­ina (CNEPH) in 39th. World Cup con­tenders were present, as Rus­sia's Anas­ta­sia Se­dova snatched first from Ger­many's Vic­to­ria Carl by 13.1 sec­onds, fol­lowed by the Czech Repub­lic's Pe­tra No­vakova in third.

Three U23 U.S. men made it into the top 30, as North­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity's Adam Martin fin­ished 23rd, Pa­trick Cald­well (Strat­ton Moun­tain School) fin­ished close be­hind in 27th, fol­lowed by Kyle Bra­trud (CXC Team) in 29th. Scott Hill brought home Canada's best re­sult over­all, fin­ish­ing in 36th.

Day Three – Feb. 25, 2016

With In­di­vid­ual freestyle races be­ing moved up a day and re­plac­ing the orig­i­nally planned Skiathlon due to con­di­tions, the U.S.A.'S Og­den was again the top North Amer­i­can on the day, land­ing in 13th in the ju­nior women's 10km. Han­nah Me­hain led the Cana­di­ans in 54th.

U.S. Ski Team De­vel­op­ment Coach Bryan Fish com­mented on Og­den's suc­cess, say­ing, “Katharine had an awe­some day and was con­sis­tent in her race to­day, as well as in the re­sults.”

Ian Torchia skied his way into the top 15 in the ju­nior men's 15km race, just about 20 sec­onds shy of the top 10. Canada's Joey Foster led the Canucks with a 33rd plac­ing on the day.

Tem­per­a­tures dropped overnight and snow con­di­tions greatly im­proved for what would be the last day of rac­ing for the U23's. In the men's 15km In­di­vid­ual freestyle race, Cald­well (Strat­ton Moun­tain School) led the Amer­i­can U23 men, fin­ish­ing 21st, just 1.3 sec­onds out of the top 20. Canada's Jack Car­lyle had a strong race, fin­ish­ing 32nd, three sec­onds from the top 30, with Alexis Du­mas close be­hind in 38th.

On the U23 women's side, Véz­ina was the top Cana­dian in 35th, fol­lowed by the U.S.A.'S Feli­cia Ge­sior (North­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity) in 38th, with Phin­ney in 39th.

Day Four – Feb. 26, 2016

The ju­niors wrapped up the com­pe­ti­tion in Ras­nov with the Team re­lays. The Amer­i­can women saw high points, in­clud­ing Kern start­ing out the re­lay strong, mov­ing up to third be­fore get­ting tan­gled up in a fall, bump­ing the U.S. to 12th be­fore the hand-off to Og­den. With only 2.5 kilo­me­tres to make up time, Og­den de­liv­ered gutsy moves through­out the sec­ond leg to move the U.S. into fifth at the hand-off to Vi­vian Hett. The Amer­i­cans set­tled for eighth on the day. Canada did not field a team due to ill­ness.

In the men's 4x5km re­lay, Nor­way dom­i­nated the race to fin­ish more than 45 sec­onds ahead of Rus­sia. France fin­ished third. The Amer­i­can men fin­ished in 11th place over­all af­ter an­chor Zak Ket­ter­son clawed back five places on his lap. The Cana­dian men rounded out their World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships with a 15th-place fin­ish.

Amer­i­can Katharine Og­den was the top North Amer­i­can, land­ing two 13th-place re­sults at the Ju­nior/u23 Nordic World Cham­pi­onships in Ras­nov, Ro­ma­nia.

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