Nordic race comes to Truckee
A breath of overnight cold air, a hint of icy snow crystals mixed in a hard, fast ski track, and a great big dollop of sunshine made for near record times in the Sierra Skogsloppet at Tahoe Donner Cross Country on Monday.
The Skogsloppet (Swedish for race through the trees) is an annual fundraiser for the Truckee High School Nordic teams, and 174 racers enjoyed the near perfect conditions. The course was fast enough that the “race through the trees” sometimes meant “race avoiding the trees” on some of the tighter downhill corners.
After taking a year off to coach in Montana, University of Nevada, Reno Nordic Coach Tav Streit reprised his 2002 Skogsloppet win in a tightly fought battle with Nevada City’s Ian Case. Streit was able to complete the course in a time of 36 minutes, 26 seconds – just 3 seconds off of last year’s record time, with Case following a scant 10 seconds back. Coming in third, and also in the battle until the end, was Truckee’s Australian import, Andrew Circosta, with a time of 36:45.
In the women’s division, after taking second place two out of the last three years, 2000 Skogsloppet winner Debbie Hakansson of Truckee was able to out-class the field with a time of 42 minutes and 11 seconds, easily beating her nearest rivals, Laura Stern of Menlo Park (45:51) and Julie Young of Auburn (46:13).
Not only is the Skogsloppet a prestigious local citizen race, it is also the important third event in the Junior Olympic qualification series that decide which young racers will represent the Far West division at the National Championships in Lake Placid, New York, this March. Forty-six junior skiers raced a shorter, one lap 6K course.
In the Junior boys race, Donovan Walsh, a college-age skier from the University of Nevada, Reno, easily took the win with a time of 15 minutes, 38 seconds. In the hard-fought race for places for Junior Olympics, Alex Taylor of Truckee was next in with a time of 16:38, barely holding off Truckee’s Owen Wright (16:43).
For the girls, Natalie Joffe of Kentfield continued her dominant skiing, out-skiing her rivals by almost a minute with a time of 17:16. Kati Clark of Truckee was a solid second place (18:05) over third place Maisha Goodpaster of Truckee (18:12).
Once again, Tahoe Donner XC donated the proceeds from the race to the Truckee Nordic ski teams to help continue their incredible success in developing fast young racers.
Mark Nadell is the Far West Nordic administrator. Full race results and information about the rest of the Far West Nordic race schedule can be found at http://www.farwestnordic.org.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.