Day 1: XC Junior Nationals get underway at Auburn Ski Club |

Day 1: XC Junior Nationals get underway at Auburn Ski Club

Canada’s Anna Parent (center) stands atop the podium after claiming first place in the U20 female division at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross-Country Junior National Championship. Pearl Harvey (right) took second, and Johanna Craig took third.
Justin Scacco /
U20 male 10K
  1. Ari Endestad (APU Nordic Ski Center) – 26:02.3
  2. Everett Casey (APU Nordic Ski Center) 26:11.4
  3. Kai Meyers (APU Nordic Ski Center) – 26:13.7
U20 female 5K
  1. Anna Parent (Canmore Nordic) – 14:53.4
  2. Pearly Harvey (Team Harvey) – 15:13.2
  3. Johanna Craig (Lakeland Nordic Ski Team) – 15:18.3
U18 male 10K
  1. Will Koch (Stratton Mountain School) – 25:03.4
  2. Alexander Maurer (Alaska Winter Starts) – 25:25.9
  3. Walker Hall (Methow Valley Nordic Team) – 25:43.1
U18 female 5K
  1. Nina Seemann (Stratton Mountain School) – 13:58.8
  2. Emma Reeder (Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) – 14:28.7
  3. Kate Oldham (Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club) – 14:28.8
U16 male 5K
  1. Wes Campbell (Park City Ski and Snowboard) – 13:36.1
  2. Jack Lange (Putney School XC) – 13:39.3
  3. Aaron Power (Alaskan Winter Stars) – 14:04.6
U16 female 5K
  1. Samantha Smith (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) – 14:09.0
  2. Sofia Scirica (Cambridge Sports Union) – 14:53.7
  3. Elsa Perkins (Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) – 14:54.3

The first day of competition at the 2020 U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross-Country Junior National Championship is in the books.

The top young Nordic racers from across North America opened the weeklong championships today at Auburn Ski Club, returning one of the marquee competitions for up-and-coming cross-country racers to Donner Summit for the first time in five years.

Following Sunday’s opening ceremonies, which brought hundreds of racers and spectators to The Village at Squaw Valley, the championships got underway this morning with 5- and 10-kilomter classic races.

Nearly 200 female skiers, representing 10 different divisions, got things underway on a bright, warm day at Auburn Ski Club. Racers competed on a 5-kilometer course that had received a few inches of fresh snow from last weekend’s storm.

“The snow was really nice,” said women’s U20 champion Anna Parent. “It was a bit hard and slippery — it was good.”

Parent, a junior in high school from Canmore, Alberta, Canada, said competing at Donner Summit’s elevation played a big part in her strategy going into today’s event, which featured a field of 29 skiers.

“The elevation is significantly different. I definitely felt the elevation for sure,” she said.

Parent’s hometown of Canmore sits at around 4,800 feet, while the trails at Auburn Ski Club are at an elevation of roughly 7,200 feet.

“I went out nice and slow,” said Parent on her strategy. “I paced the hills, and then I went really hard on the flats, which, I thought paid off because if you go really hard over the hills at high elevation you’ll just die.”

Parent, who competes for Canmore Nordic Ski Club, finished today’s race with a time of 14 minutes, 53.4 seconds to claim a junior national title, and said the result is the highlight of her 2019-20 season.

“I came here because I wanted to prove myself in the U.S., because my goal is to get a scholarship for NCAA (Nordic racing),” she added. Canmore, who is in the Truckee-Tahoe area for the first time, said her goal is to attend the University of Denver.

Pearl Harvey, of the Intermountain Division (Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Western Wyoming), took second place with a time of 15:13.2. Johanna Craig, of Great Lakes Division, took third place with a time of 15:18.3.

Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy’s Grace Cisler led local skiers out of the Far West Division, claiming 21st with a time of 16:56.1.

The girls’ U18 division featured 94 skiers, and was won by Nina Seemann, of the New England Division’s Stratton Mountain School. Seemann finished the 5-kilomter course faster than any other female, regardless of age group, to claim first place with a time of 13:58.8.

From there, a pair of Rocky Mountain Division racers, Emma Reeder, of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, and Kate Oldham, of Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, took second and third, respectively. Reeder’s time of 14:28.7 edged Oldham by 0.1.

Auburn Ski Club’s Lily Murnane posted the fastest time of any local racer, finishing in 14th place with a time of 15:26.1.

In girls’ U16 racing, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Samantha Smith brought the Intermountain Division another podium finish by claiming first place with a time of 14:09.0. Sofia Scirica, of the New England Division, took second with a time of 14:53.7. Elsa Perkins, of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, was third with a time of 14:54.3.

Sugar Bowl’s Hayden McJunkin finished 25th out of 74 skiers to lead the area’s skiers with a time of 16:41.1.

Alaska, New England teams shine on day one

Skiers from the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center put together a dominant showing in the U20 male division, posting the four fastest times of the morning on the 10-kilometer course.

Ari Endestad led the team with a time of 26:02.3 for first place. Everett Cason (26:11.4) was second, followed by Kai Meyers (26:13.7) and Garrett Butts (26:21.1).

Auburn Ski club’s Nikolas Burkhart led the area’s skiers with a time of 27:3.1 to claim 10th place out of 53 racers.

In U18 racing, Will Koch, of the New England Division, took first place on the 10-kilomter course, topping the field of 101 racers with a time of 25:03.4. Koch had the fastest time of any male skier, regardless of age.

Alaska Division’s Alexander Maurer was second with a time of 25:25.9, followed by Walker Hall, of the Pacific Northwest Ski Association, in third place with a time of 25:43.1.

Auburn Ski Club’s Phoenix Sanchez was the fastest local, claiming 40th with a time of 27:59.9.

The final event of the day was the boys’ U16 5-kilomter race. Park City Ski and Snowboard’s Wes Campbell took the national title with a time of 13:36.1. Jack Lange, of the New England Division, was second with a time of 13:39.3, followed by Alaska Division’s Aaron Power in third place with a time of 14:04.6.

Auburn Ski Club’s Matthew Deluna led the local racers with a time of 14:57.7 to take 24th place.

Remaining schedule

The field of Nordic skiers will get a break from competition tomorrow as they prepare for Wednesday’s 1.3-kilomter freestyle sprints. Qualifying for the event will begin at 9 a.m. at Auburn Ski Club.

Following another break from racing, the athletes will return to Auburn Ski Club on Friday for the final individual event, a mass start freestyle race, featuring distances of 5, 10, and 15 kilometers.

The competition will come to a close on Saturday with a 3×3 kilometer classic relay. An awards ceremony will follow at 1 p.m.

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