Durango Nordic Ski Club saves its best for last

Count ’em.

The Durango Nordic Ski Club collected no fewer than nine individual podium finishes last week at the annual Junior Nationals in Utah.

Among the top finishes – a gold, a silver and a bronze.

Racing at nationals started with classic sprints. The format has a qualifying race in the morning and head-to-head racing in the afternoon. The top 30 in each age group in the qualifier move on to the sprint heats in the afternoon.

In the J1 boys class (17 and older), Haakon Sigurslid placed 11th and Sepp Kuss 63rd.

In J2 boys (15-16), Cully Brown had an All-American finish when he placed third. Charlie Greenberg of Durango Nordic placed 58th.

In the J1 girls class, Rachel Hampton placed 14th, Amy Katz placed 26th, and Kaylee Blevins placed 38th.

In J2 girls, Hannah Peterson also had an All-American finish, placing eighth.

The next race was a mass-start freestyle.

The first group to race was the J2 boys; Brown placed 16th and Charlie Greenberg 34th.

The J2 girls race was next, and Peterson was eighth for a podium finish.

In the J1 boys race, Kuss placed 20th, and Sigurslid placed 27th.

In the J1 girls race, Hampton had an All-American ninth-place finish. She was followed by teammates Katz in 19th and Blevins in 53rd.

The final individual race was an individual start classic race.

Durango Nordic again was led by Hampton in J1 girls. She was seventh. Katz finished 19th and Blevins 38th.

Peterson led the J2 girls in sixth place.

Sigurslid was 19th and Kuss 21st among the J1 boys.

Brown placed second for another All-American J2 finish. Teammate Greenberg was 49th.

The 2012 Junior Nationals ended with a team relay.

Charlie Greenberg competed on the eighth-place J2 relay team. Brown skied on the 11th-place team.

In the J2 girls relay, Peterson was a member of the fourth-place team from the Rocky Mountain Region.

In the J1 girls relay, Hampton was on the gold-medal team.

“This was a great Junior Nationals for Durango athletes and the Rocky Mountain Division,” head coach Josh Dalley said in an email to The Durango Herald.

“For most of us, we skied our best at Nationals when it really counted.”

heraldsports@durangoherald.com