Junior Nationals 2022

Junior Nationals 2022
All of Team Alaska, try and spot me. Photo by Laarni Power

My original plan for after junior worlds was heading to Northern Italy for OPA cup finals. However, after looking through the logistics of the trip it seemed like the ratio of effort to benefit was too high and I decided to instead head to Minneapolis for Junior Nationals. Since it is my last year as a junior I wanted to enjoy one last trip with my friends chasing a couple more titles.

I went from Norway straight to Minneapolis, landing just a couple days before team Alaska showed up. It was nice to have a couple days truly to myself without a roommate so I could relax in between competitions and catch up on sleep. Having ski races in a big city is uncommon in the US and a nice change to be in walking distance of restaurants and shops. Junior nationals typically marks the beginning of spring for skiers and spring season is a great time to have a mullet so part of my race prep was a haircut.

Best photo of the mullet I have. Photo by Erik Maurer

The first race of the week was a skate 10k individual start, the race I was most nervous for. This season I had been struggling with interval starts, but the lower level of competition at junior nationals provided a great opportunity to gain some confidence. I started at a conservative pace and came through the 3k mark losing by five seconds. I felt confident that the person winning couldn't hold their pace and stayed relaxed, 7k later I won by over 20 seconds.

About halfway through the 10k. Photo by Eric Maurer

After a rest day I headed into the classic sprint, one of my favorite types of races. With my stomach feeling heavy from the previous nights dinner I barely won the qualifier by just under half a second. Fortunately, two hours later when the heats started I was feeling much stronger and put away the win by over four seconds.

Holding up three fingers to signify winning my third Junior National title. Photo by SkinnySkiPics.

The last individual race of the week was a 15k classic mass start. Mass starts are always fun, even more so when the weather is windy making it hard for people to string the group out. I stayed behind the leaders until the 12k mark when I made a break for it which proved to be just enough letting me win by only three seconds. Unfortunately it was ten degrees this day meaning I had to cover up the mullet with a headband.

Celebrating the 15k win. Photo by SkinnySkiPics.

The day after the 15k there was a relay consisting of two guys and two girls, my team fought hard but unfortunately came up short and finished second. Still, a successful week in terms of results and more so in terms of being fun with many of my long term friends.

The plan after Junior Nationals was to head to Seattle and visit family for two days before driving up to Whistler to compete in Super Tour finals. Unfortunately I tested positive for Covid-19 when I arrived to Seattle. On the bright side I am asymptomatic, but I will not be able to enter Canada on my planned date so will instead head home once my quarantine is up.

This is the end of the season for me in terms of high level racing, there may be a couple small local races I do, but in general it is time to prepare for next season. Thank you for following along with my blog this season, I will continue to post blogs throughout the spring and summer about my training and whatever else I get up to, so don't go far.