Powell, Halvorsen capture XC wins at Truckee Sprints | SierraSun.com

Powell, Halvorsen capture XC wins at Truckee Sprints

Alani Powell skis to a first-place finish on Friday at the annual Truckee Sprints cross-country race.
Justin Scacco / jscacco@sierrasun.com

A lack of snow may have moved the annual Truckee Sprints cross-country race from Surprise Stadium, but it didn’t stop the area’s top high school racers from battling it out through three rounds of racing.

This year’s event was moved to the Tahoe Donner Cross-Country Ski Center, and was held last Friday under warm, spring-like conditions.

“You have to have the guts to go out and ski no matter what the conditions are,” said girls’ winner, North Tahoe junior Alani Powell. “You’ve got to keep that negative stuff out of your mind.”

Powell was first in the quarterfinals, second in the semifinals, and then held off a charge from Sugar Bowl Academy sophomore Hayden McJunkin to claim the win in the finals.

“This one is definitely my favorite race,” said Powell, who also won last year’s race at Surprise Stadium. “I just love to sprint and so this my kind of race, just short and sweet.”

On the boys’ side, Sugar Bowl junior Bjorn Halvorsen topped a field of nearly 30 skiers to claim first place.

“Not trying to rush yourself too much,” said Halvorsen on his strategy to racing in warm conditions. “Because you can trip yourself up super easily.”

Halvorsen grew up in the area, but lived in Idaho last year. He and his family moved back ahead of the Nordic season, bringing another top racer to an already stacked lineup of up-and-coming Nordic skiers in the Truckee-Tahoe area.

“We have some of the best kids here,” said Halvorsen. “It’s pretty even to the pace it would be at a high-level competition … it’s good practice and competition for (junior nationals) that’s coming up.

Nordic racing will head to Tahoe City today for the final race of the regular season, the North Tahoe Freestyle. The high school 5-kilometer event will get underway at noon. Middle school racing will also be held, and will start at 10:30 a.m.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

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