School sprints set for today at Tahoe Donner |

School sprints set for today at Tahoe Donner

Mark Nadell
Special to the Sun

One of the most exciting events on the local Nordic scene returns today ” in its original location ” at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area.

Hundreds of young racers will be charging around a 1-kilometer course in view of a crowd of cheering spectators along the trailside and from the Day Lodge.

Based upon the highly successful sprint formats 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 witness the competition at the high school and middle school levels.

The competition begins with the preliminary “time-trial” portion of the race, where 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 and girls and middle school boys and girls ” and the top racers advance into the finals of the competition. Groups of skiers race against each other ” 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 this event. It’s wild out there!

Truckee High is the overall favorite, with a few racers recently returned from a highly successful stint at the U.S. National Championship competition in Houghton, Mich., and last weekend’s Intermountain/Rocky Mountain Super JOQ at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

Look for nationally-ranked racer Bernie Nelson, along with Kelsey Dion, Sophie Aaron and Angela Raso, to compete strongly for the Truckee girls varsity team. Expect Truckee’s Spencer Wood, Russell Kennedy and Daniel Gelso to vie for the top spot for the boys.

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For North Tahoe, Dani and Joey Griffo are the favorites, with help from Tom McElravey and Winston Krauss.

In the middle school division, the skiers to watch out for are Alder Creek’s Annika Taylor and Annika Deurlington, with Justin Ondry and Evan Dion the favorites among the younger boys. North Tahoe Middle School skiers to look for include Morgan Paulson and Carson Clark.

For more information on watching or volunteering for this event, contact the Far West Nordic office at

Middle School: 1 p.m. preliminary rounds, 2 p.m. quarterfinals

High School: 3 p.m. preliminaries, 4:15 p.m. quarterfinals, 5:15 p.m. finals