Full sprint ahead | SierraSun.com

Full sprint ahead

Mark Nadell
Special to the Sun

Photo by Mark NadellTruckee's Tyler Wright races in the Truckee Sprints at Surprise Stadium last year.

One of the most exciting events of the local nordic scene returns for its second year at Truckee High School’s Surprise Stadium Friday. Hundreds of young racers will be charging around a 1-kilometer course in full view of a crowd of cheering spectators in the stadium bleachers.

Based upon the highly successful sprint formats currently used in Europe on the World Cup Circuit, where complete downtown areas are turned into winding courses lined with thousands of spectators, the Truckee Sprints will offer the local crowd a great opportunity to watch high school and middle school athletes competing in one of the most exciting disciplines of cross country ski racing.

The competition begins with the preliminary “time-trial” portion of the race: skiers race against the clock in an effort to make it to the next stage of racing. They are then “seeded” from each division (high school boys/girls, middle school boys/girls) and then the top racers advance into the finals of the competition. Groups of skiers race against each other ” six to eight abreast, much like a track meet ” in an effort to move through to the final competition. The final race is then held, and the champion is crowned for the event. It’s wild out there!

Once again, Truckee High will be the overall favorite, with a few racers recently returning from a highly successful stint at the U.S. National Championship competition in Utah. Look for Nationally top-ranked racer Matthew Gelso, along with Spencer Wood, Alex Taylor and Tyler Wright to vie for the top spot for the boys, with Maisha Goodpaster and Bernie Nelson the favorites for the girls’ varsity. In the Middle School division, the skiers to watch out for are Alder Creek’s Sophie Aaron and Annika Taylor, with Russell Kennedy and Ryan Zusy the favorites among the younger boys.

For more information on watching or volunteering for this event, contact the Far West Nordic office at info@farwestnordic.org.