(Thanks to Flyingpoint Road- Steve Fuller- for all of these awesome shots!)
Paddy, Katharine and I have been racing at World Juniors/U23 Championships this past week at the Soldier Hollow 2002 Olympic Venue in Utah! Not only we were racing on home soil, but we also had some historic results for team USA!
The week kicked off the championships with a classic sprint for juniors. I qualified 11th on the day and moved through to the semi finals after a fast quarterfinal heat! In the semi final, I positioned myself perfectly coming down the hill but unfortunately a girl crashed and took me down with her. It was a huge bummer but I still ended up 9th on the day, my best result yet at World Juniors! Lauren, a former SMS post grad also skied to an impressive 20th place! Paddy continued with sprinting the next day for the U23 championship! Paddy placed 18th for the day!
With such a strong start to the week, Katharine kept the ball rolling on the 5km skate day for juniors. She put up the 5th fastest time of the day, beating her previous best of 6th place two years ago at World Juniors! Paddy crushed the following day placing 9th overall in the 15km skate race!
The last individual event of the week was the skiathalon! I caught a cold mid week and I decided to sit out the race in order to try to get healthy for the relay…but that meant I got to go out and cheer on Katharine as she made history. Katharine reached the podium in 3rd place in the 10km skiathalon, being the first ever junior to reach the podium in American history!!! Wow! Paddy decided to match his place from the previous race, getting into the top 10 once again with an impressive 9th place finish in the 30km skiathalon!!
But that is not all! Katharine and I were selected for the junior relay team on Sunday for a 4×3.3km race. Katharine, Hailey, Hannah and I have been dreaming about being on the same relay team for 2 years now and we were extremely fired up to get the chance to race together on home soil and hopefully achieve our long time dream of the podium in the relay. I was healthy enough to race which made me really happy. I tagged off to Hannah who threw down an extremely fast leg and then Katharine anchored our relay and brought home the bronze! Once again, history was made with the first ever junior relay podium!
This past was an incredible experience for all three of us and we even had Pat by our side as the junior team coach (he also helped a ton with waxing because we know Pat can’t stay out of a wax room hahaha). To top it off, all three of us qualified for World Cup Finals in Canada this past week and we are very excited to join our world cup teammates to finish off the season!