Teacup team members in Soldier Hollow.
As of Friday, February 13, 2015
The Teacup Nordic Junior Racing Team is a cross-country skiing team that trains regularly at Teacup Lake Nordic Club on Mount Hood. The team trains year-round to race at Junior National Qualifier races around the Pacific Northwest. By earning five qualifying times, an individual can join the Pacific Northwest all-star team and compete at Junior Nationals in Truckee, Calif.
The team recently sent six of its 12 racers to Soldier Hollow, Utah, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. On Jan. 30, the racers skate-skied a 1.3-kilometer sprint course. Warm, slushy, man-made snow made for challenging conditions. With about one hundred skiers in each age group, the course only became softer and more trying as the races progressed.
Daniel Fischer (U18), Nils Engbersen (U18), Leif Bergstrom (U18), Jesse Wiley (U16), Kimbert Schlichting-Robinson (U16) and Valerie Fischer (U16) all had strong races, with Daniel Fischer earning his fourth Junior National qualifying time at the race.
The next day was the distance classic ski race, which varied in length for different age groups — U18 skiers raced 15 kilometers and U16 skiers raced five kilometers. Skiers started in a mass start format, but their proximity to the front depended on their results from the day before. Many race teams struggled to find wax that would be fast yet provide enough grip to enable skiers to ski the course to their best ability.
Teacup Nordic’s wax wizard and coach extraordinaire, Karl Andersson, came through for the team yet again, and every Teacup Nordic racer was able to show the competition the results of their hard work.
In the U16 boys’ race, Jesse Wiley moved from 46th place to 29th and Kimbert Schlichting-Robinson raced up from 67th to 28th. In the U16 girls’ race, Valerie Fischer skied from 59th to 30th place. In the U18 and U20 combined boys’ race, Daniel Fischer moved from 62nd to 46th place to earn his fifth qualifying time and a spot on the regional Junior National team. Leif Bergstrom moved up from 80th to 56th place and Nils Engbersen skied a strong race to move from 82nd to 62nd.
The challenging snow conditions made for grueling climbs, terrifying descents and plenty of spectacular crashes, but no serious injuries.
Every racer learned valuable lessons and new racing strategies during this trip and most importantly, they had fun skiing fast.
As coach Andersson reminded them all, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
For information about Teacup Nordic Ski Club visit www.teacupnordic.org.