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Many Truckee Juniors off to Lake Placid

Mark Nadell, Special to the Sun

As any experienced racer can tell you – from grizzled veteran to junior athlete – a classic technique Nordic race is one different breed of animal.

While many cross country ski racers are familiar with prepping their skis the night before (deciding which color of glide wax to apply in the comfortable confines of their own garage), applying sticky klister wax right before the start of big race can only be termed as “challenging.” Throw in a little new, light snow falling onto icy tracks, and add in the fact that, in addition to being a very popular race for master skiers (part of both the Sierra Ski Chase and Fischer Cup series), this race was the final, make-or-break qualifier for the Far West Nordic Junior Olympic team.

Sunday’s race was the Tahoe City Classic, a 15K (for most skiers, but 10K or 5K for some of the juniors) classic, or diagonal stride, race at Tahoe Cross Country. At one point, the line of junior racers in front of the coaches’ waxing tables looked longer than the lines for the restrooms before the Great Ski Race.

“There were a ton of people asking me for wax advice before the race,” said Far West Head Coach Jeff Schloss. “Fortunately, the temperatures stayed consistent and the waxing was pretty straightforward.”

Even with some of the top juniors and senior division (20-29) athletes vying for the win, Truckee’s 38-year-old Tim Hill was able to ski away from the 15K field early in the race and cruise to victory by a time of 45 minutes and 50 seconds, almost a minute over his nearest competitors. University of Nevada, Reno Nordic coach Tav Streit (46:45) of Reno was able to hold off Australian skier Andrew Circosta (46:55) by only a 10-second margin for second place.

With the fast female juniors skiing a shorter race, the 15K distance belonged to the Master women, with 1980 Olympic speed skating bronze medalist Beth Reid clocking a very impressive time of 52 minutes and 46 seconds over 1979 American Birkiebiner winner Judy Rabinowitz (53:07). Laura Stern of Menlo Park took third place with a time of 58:59.

The Junior division races were more about qualifying for the Junior Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., than they were about individual honors.

At stake for many was a coveted spot on the Far West Nordic Junior Olympic team, with some juniors needing to finish close enough to the winners of the race to qualify.

Natalie Joffe of Kentfield (34:52) easily won the 10K race for girls 16-20 years old over Truckee’s Whitney Prosor (36:33) and Kara LaPoint (36:38). Truckee boys took the top three spots in the 5K race, with Alex Taylor (17:56) the top finisher over Tyler Wright (18:32) and Spencer Wood (18:39).

Truckee’s Maisha Goodpaster (19:17) won the girls division over Gabrielle Joffe of Marin (20:37) and Alexandra O’Neil of Truckee (21:11).

All of the above mentioned Junior athletes will be traveling to the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid in early March.

The Far West Nordic division will field a team of over 30 athletes, along with a bevy of coaches and parent-helpers to compete against the top Junior Nordic athletes in the country.

Mark Nadell is the Far West Nordic Administrator.


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