FIS Junior/u23 Nordic World Championships
U.S.A. Wins Three Medals The 2018 FIS Junior and U23 Nordic World Championships were held in Goms, Switzerland from Jan. 29-Feb. 3. The Championships were hotly contested by all countries, including the typical favourites of Norway, France, Russia and hos
Day One – Jan. 29
The junior women’s freestyle sprint kicked off the Championships with the U.S.A.’S Hannah Halverson finishing eighth as the top North American, behind Moa Lundgren of Sweden, who took the win. Norway’s Kristine Stavaas Skistad and Sweden’s Frida Karlsson rounded out the podium for second and third. The top Canadian finisher was Hannah Mehain of Sovereign Lake Nordic in 29th.
In the junior men’s race, Canada’s Graham Ritchie claimed 12th, with the U.S.A.’S Gus Schumacher in 19th. Tom Mancini of France won over Joergen Lippert of Norway, with Valerio Grond of Switzerland in third.
The U23 sprints followed as Canada’s Laura Leclair finished 15th in the women’s event won by Norway’s Tiril Udnes Weng. Nadine Fähndrich of Switzerland finished second in front of the home crowd, as Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia rounded out the podium in third. Lauren Jortberg was the top American, placing 22nd.
Norway swept the men’s U23 sprint with Erik Valnes on the top step, followed by teammates Jan Thomas Jenssen and Even Northug. Canada’s Ricard Izquierdo-bernier finished 40th, with Bill Harmeyer the top American in 46th.
Day Two – Jan. 30
The following day held the junior Classic events. In the women’s 5km race, Hailey Swirbul claimed a historic silver medal for the U.S.A., becoming the highest-placed American skier at the FIS Nordic Junior World Championships. Russia’s Polina Nekrasova won the gold, finishing 14.4 seconds over Swirbul, with Finland’s Anita Korva in third. The top Canadian finisher was Natalie Hynes in 36th.
Jon Rolf Skamo Hope of Norway took the win in the men’s 10km Classic over Russian Sergey Ardashev and fellow Norwegian Lippert. Ben Ogden of the U.S.A. led the North Americans, finishing in seventh, while the top Canadian was Antoine Cyr in 12th, finishing at 1:07:7 behind the leader.
Day Three – Jan. 31
Racing continued the next day with Canada’s Katherine Stewart-jones the top North American, placing 29th in the U23 women’s 10km Classic race at 3:07 behind winner Yana Kirpichenko of Russia.
In the men’s 15km Classic, Norway’s Mattis Stenshagen took the win over Russian teammates Denis Spitsov and Ivan Yakimushkin. The top North American was Canada’s Alexis Dumas finishing 31st, with American Ian Torchia right behind in 32nd.
Day Four – Feb. 1
American Swirbul made history, earning her third career Junior Nordic Worlds medal, the most of any U.S. Nordic skier. The Colorado native claimed bronze in the women’s 10km Skiathlon behind winner Karlsson of Sweden and Lone Johansen of Norway, who took home the silver. The top Canadian was Hynes in 24th, with teammate Mehain in 37th.
In the junior men’s 15km Skiathlon, American Schumacher placed 15th, while Félix Longpré was the top Canuck in 28th. Harald Oestberg Amundsen led a Norwegian podium sweep, taking the gold over Hope in second, with Lippert in third.
Day Five – Feb. 2
The next day, Russian Spitsov claimed the gold in the U23 men’s 30km Skiathlon race. Frenchman Jules Lapierre was second and Norwegian Ole Joergen Bruvoll secured the bronze. Torchia of the U.S.A. led the North Americans, finishing 27th.
The U.S.A.’S Jortberg placed 29th in the 15km women’s race, with Canada’s Stewart-jones in 31st. Anastasia Sedova led a Russian podium sweep, with Nepryaeva in second and Kirpichenko in third.
Day Six – Feb. 3
The final day of racing saw the relays for both men (4x5km) and women (4x3.3km), as the U.S. junior men closed the Championships with a strong silver-medal performance. Luke Jager, Hunter Wonder, Ogden and Schumacher finished just two seconds off the gold medal, won by Norway, with Russia in third. The Canadian team finished 11th.
Germany claimed the gold in the junior women’s race with Russia and Sweden filling out the podium. U.S.A.’S Swirbul, Kathleen O’connell, Margaret and Hannah Halvorsen finished eighth, while Team Canada’s Mehain, Hynes, Annika Richardson and Alexandra Racine placed 15th.
The U.S.A.’S junior squad had another strong showing at these Championships, bringing home a historic three medals. The teams look forward to next year’s FIS Junior/u23 Nordic World Championships to be held in Finland in 2019.
U.S.A.'S Hailey Swirbul (r) claimed historic bronze in the women's 10km Skiathlon, earning her third career Junior Nordic Worlds medal, the most of any U.S. Nordic skier.
(l-r) ( l- r) Luke Jager, Gus Schumacher, Hunter Wonder, Ben Ogden claimed silver, the fififirst- first-ever ever Junior Nordic Worlds relay medal for the U. U.S. S. men.
Hailey Swirbul took home historic silver and bronze, becoming the highest-placed American skier at the FIS Nordic Junior Worlds.
Canada’s Félix Longpré (l) ( l) and Étienne Hébert