Words by Gordon Gianniny
The Mountain Sports Nordic Team kicked off the 2018/19 racing season last weekend at the Rock Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifier in Frisco, CO. The event provided an opportunity for Western’s athletes to get their racing legs back under them and compete against the state’s top junior skiers.
In Saturday’s classic sprint, Western qualified three men and three women for the quarter finals. senior Derek Hill led the men’s team with a 20th place finish, followed closely by teammate Tyler Haroldson in 21st. Freshman Cooper Roquet posted a solid result in his first race for Western, finishing in 29th place. On the women’s side, sophomore Anna Johnson led the way with a convincing win in the B-final, good for 7th place overall. Sophomore Rya Berrigan skied consistently all day to finish 11th. Lexie Abric also qualified for the heats, and finished the day in 18th place.
After resting up on Saturday afternoon, the team was back in action for a 5km interval start freestyle on Sunday morning. The women’s team posted another impressive set of results in the first distance race of the season. Johnson finished 10th overall, followed by Berrigan in 14th and Abric in 19th. Freshmen Lindsey Kastelle, Meagan Bamford, and Caroline Benney started the season with solid 28th, 34th, and 35th place finishes. The men’s race got underway soon after the completion of the women’s race. Sophomore Tyler Haroldson put down one of his best distance performances yet with a 23rd place finish. Senior Gordon Gianniny finished next for Western in 30th place, followed by Derek Hill in 33rd. Sophomore Elliot Shaw showed stellar improvement over last year with a 35th place finish, while teammates Cooper Roquet and Josh Jone skied to 39th and 51st place finishes respectively.
Overall, the weekend was a success for all of Western’s athletes. The Nordic Team will be back in action after winter break on January 11th-12th in Steamboat Springs.