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World Junior and U23 Championships '08

Tue, Mar  4, 2008 - By Pete Vordenberg, TeamToday.org

Lots of Pics from Italy

The skiing outside of Malles Italy was good spring skiing during the World Junior and Under 23 Championships. The organizers found out that they were hosting the event just 12 days before the opening ceremonies. They did a great job with the event!

The venue was in the mountain valley just 15 minutes up a beautiful hanging valley from Malles Italy. The elevation was 1700 M and the courses were very difficult.

Morgan Arritola going very easy during the training week before the races...

The week before the races we were sure to ski easy, eat well, and try to get our feet under us before the races started... Some of the hurdles that we face are time zone change, diet changes, and no public internet in Italy. We had to go to Switzerland in order to get any sort of wireless. Tough for the student athletes on the trip... Especially since we were poaching the wireless from outside a hotel. You get a lot of looks when you are parked out on the street in a scene like this one...

From valley floor to the peaks there is a 6,000 vertical foot difference! This is in the heart of the Alps.

The courses are hard right from the start. Lots of switchbacks take you to the high point of the courses by just 2 km.

From there you get some very technical downhills that take you out into the field. Very technical!

Good skiing wasn't enough to stay on your feet. You had to actually check your speed with snowplows going into some of the corners. If you didn't you could end up off the trail completely...

Skate Sprint

Ida Sargent was our junior to make it to the semi finals...

Kevin Cutts qualified 9th overall, but got knocked out in the Quarter finals...

Sophie Caldwell qualified 6th in the prelims, but also got knocked out in the quarters...

The sprint fields were very strong and all points indicate that we were good enough in the qualifying, but unlucky, possibly inexperienced, in the competitive rounds. You learn something in every sprint race and the more competitive sprints that you can get into the deeper your understanding of the event will be.

Men's U23 sprint final...

Classic Individual Start Races: Juniors had a 5/10k and U23's had a 10/15k races format.

Ida on her way to a top 20 finish...

Sadie skiing well in the top 25...

Max Treinen skiing his second lap of the 2x5k course. He skied his whole first lap with Alex Harvey who ended up second on the day. He can go home this summer knowing that two of those is what it takes. He is close to being the best in the world...

Noah Hoffman, pictured below, broke a ski in the skate mass start and skied his way all the way to 23rd place. His first 10k of that 20k race was 30 seconds faster than anyone in the field!

Mass start skate: Juniors had 10/20k mass start and U23's had 15/30k races...

Junior women chasing down the leader at the high point of the courses...

Mikey Sinnott playing catch-up after someone went down in front of him at the start...

These races are tough and tumble. No one is giving an inch during the mass start... The U23 guys pack getting turned around...

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Rosie Brennan skiing at the front of the junior pack...

Alexa Turzian at the high point of the course...

Sophie Caldwell skiing the third leg of the womens relay. The girls skied to 9th place while the guys skied to 7th on Relay day. (The guys moved up two places from their starting place.)

The results are on line at www.fis-ski.com We did not improve on our results from last year. 18 top 30's and a hand full of top 12's all from different people. Liz Stephen was the second American in two years to stand on the podium at the World Championship level for her age. She was 3rd in the U23 15k Skate. You won't find it on the fis web site, but Morgan Arritola and Tazlina Mannix were right with Liz with 1km to go, but got knocked down in an unfortunate crash... Taz ended up 8th and Morgan was 11th. Bitter sweet for sure... Congrats to all the racers.

Thanks to all the coaches on the trip: Jason Cork, Patty Ross Tran, Ben Husaby, Randy Gibbs, Kristina Casey, and Matt Whitcomb our fearless leader!

Or Choaches... Whatever.