Skiers qualify for junior nationals

Courtesy of Jeanne Pastore

Engineer Mountain provided the dramatic backdrop recently for the Rocky Mountain Division Nordic ski races at the Nordic Center at Purgatory. More than 200 skiers from Colorado competed in the event to determine qualifiers to the Junior Nationals.

Herald Staff Report

Eight skiers from the Durango Nordic Ski Club are heading to the United States Ski Association Junior Nationals at a famed Olympic venue.

The eight Durango cross country ski racers were named to the regional team that will compete in the junior national championships next week on the Olympic course near Salt Lake City.

The skiers earned their trips to nationals at the final qualifiers of the eight-race series, hosted by the Durango Nordic Ski Club at the Purgatory Nordic Center.

Kaylee Blevins, Cully Brown, Charlie Greenberg, Rachel Hampton, Amy Katz, Sepp Kuss, Hannah Peterson and Haakon Sigurslid all qualified to represent the local Nordic club in Utah.

“It was awesome to have the last RMN qualifier on our home course,” Durango Nordic head coach Josh Dalley said. “We get to train on these trails everyday, so racing well on them comes naturally. I’m very proud of how all DNSC athletes preformed, as well as all of our volunteers.”

The Durango qualifiers opened with a classic technique sprint race. Seedings were set with a qualifying run around the 1.2-kilometer course. The seedings set up the head-to-head sprints later.

Durango’s Sigurslid won the J1 boys race for ages 17 and older, followed by Kuss in 10th and Levi Kurlander in 12th.

In the girls J1 field, Hampton finished second with Katz third, Blevins eighth, Lily Oswald 13th and Emma Greenberg 16th.

Charlie Greenberg set the pace for the J2 boys (ages 15-16) in seventh. Teammate Abe Ott was eighth, John Rhoades 10th and Gordon Gianniny 13th.

In the J2 girls field, Hannah Peterson placed fifth to lead the Durango Nordic squad.

In J3 boys (13-14), Dylan Williamson placed 11th, followed by Stan Ott in 12th, Liam O’Neil in 14th, Leo Bruell in 15th and Perrin Kileen in 16th.

Marit May lead Durango Nordic in the J3 females with a sixth-place finish. She was followed by teammates Maggie Wigton in seventh, Katja Freeburn in eighth, Camryn Sippy in 10th and Hannah DeKay in 11th.

Carter Kileen led Durango in the J4 boys group (11-12) with a seventh-place finish. He was followed by Quinn Luthy in 10th and Cobe Freeburn in 11th.

Wiley Corra won the J5 boys (8-10) race with teammates Ethan Craig fourth, Mason James fifth, Jack Tescher sixth and Wyatt Gober eighth.

Jordan Taylor placed second in the J5 girls race, and Claudia Luthy was fifth.

Cian O’Neil won the J6 (7 and younger) boys race. Durango’s Ruby May won the J6 girls race.

The final day of racing at the Purgatory Nordic Center featured races on the grueling 10-kilometer course. J1 and older skiers raced a full 10 kilometers. J2 skiers raced 5K. J3 and J4 skiers went 3K, and younger skiers raced 1.2K.

Hampton won the J1 girls race on her home course. She was followed by teammates Katz in fourth, Blevins ninth and Oswald 13th.

Kuss lead Durango in the J1 boys race; he finished second. He was followed by Kurlander (12th) and Sigurslid (15th).

In the J2 girls race, Peterson won her first race of the season. In the J2 boys race, Greenberg was seventh with Rhoades eighth, Gianniny 11th and Abe Ott 13th.

In the J3 girls race, Wigton was fourth, May was sixth, Freeburn was eighth and Sippy ninth. Williamson led Durango in the J3 boys category with a 10th-place finish. He was followed by Stan Ott in 14th, Kileen in 15th and Liam O’Neil in 20th.

Carter Kileen placed seventh in the J4 boys race, just ahead of teammates Cobe Freeburn in 10th and Quinn Luthy in 14th.

Taylor was second again in the J5 girls race, and Claudia Luthy was sixth.

Wiley Corra won the J5 boys race. Craig was fourth, Mason James was sixth, Tescher was seventh and Wyatt Gober was eighth.

Ruby May won among the J6 girls, and Cian O’Neil won the J6 boys.

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