The Wyoming High School Nordic Skiing State Championship races were hosted by Lander Valley High School on Friday and Saturday February 22 and 23.
High school teams from Lander, Cody, Jackson, Pinedale, Natrona, Kelly Walsh and Laramie each participated in the two day event with approximately 150 skiers participating.
The Friday event was a 5 kilometer “Classic” race in which the competitors generally ski in a set track.
Weather for the Friday event started off extremely blustery resulting in a two hour delay but the skies turned brilliant blue for an amazing day of nordic ski racing.
Nearly 150 racers strapped on their skiing boots and competed for top spots on a perfectly groomed track set by the Lander Nordic Ski Association.
The males kicked off the day on Friday with Jackson’s Elijah Weenig finishing first followed closely by Lander’s Kaleb Simonson. Ben Radosevich from Natrona battling illness placed third followed by Sam Fay from Laramie. The first thirteen male skiers were separated by less than two minutes on the very challenging Beaver Creek course located above 8,000 feet in elevation. The ladies followed up the boys race in the early afternoon with even better race conditions.
The freshman phenom Kaylynn Sandall from Lander managed to stay ahead of Abigail Whitman in an extremely close race. Sandall finished the race in 19:33 finishing ahead of Whitman by 1.5 seconds. Annabel Hagen from Jackson, last year’s dual State Champion coming back from a serious knee injury, placed third. Freestyle skiing was the form for the two lap, 10 kilometer Saturday race.
In Freestyle skiing, competitors generally use the “skating” technique with no set track for the skis, just a corduroy-like groomed trail in the hilly terrain just a few miles northeast of South Pass and Atlantic City. The females started the day off with stellar performance by a highly motivated Abigail Whitman of Laramie finishing nearly one full minute ahead of Kaylynn Sandall of Lander.
Samantha Veauthier from Kelly Walsh and Kate Brigham from Jackson finishing third and fourth respectively. The loudest roars of the day were heard as blind Jackson skier Aylin Marstellar cleared the finish line for her fourth and final year skiing for Jackson High. Marstellar skied with her guide and legendary former high school coach Walt Berling.
Elijah Weenig took top honors again on Saturday for the boys finishing nearly a minute ahead of Kaleb Simonson from Lander. Sam Johnson from Jackson and Adam Pickett from Natrona nabbed the third and fourth spots. The top ten boys were all separated by less than three minutes in a lightning quick race.
The Jackson girls took home the team trophy for the top girls nordic skiing team in Wyoming finishing ahead of the Lander girls in very strong performances by both teams. The Natrona girls snapped up the third team spot. The Jackson boys won the overall team competition for the weekend staying well ahead of both the Natrona and Lander teams who took second and third respectively.
While the WHSAA season concluded with the ski races this weekend, many of the top skiers from these various schools will now press on and ski once more this season as they travel to Anchorage, Alaska for the 2019 Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships hosted by US Ski and Snowboard. Complete results from the weekend competition are now available by clicking here.