News & Stories
Jam packed! A weekend of racing for Anwatin and Nellie Stone
Saturday March 5th:
A fresh coat of snow sent both the Anwatin and Nellie Stone ski teams into a flurry of racing over the course of the weekend. “It’s not over until there is not a drop of snow left on the ground,” said Jon Miller who coaches the Nellie Stone team. With that mentality in mind, Coach Rykken and Coach Miller arranged for the two middle school teams to compete in the Slush Rush at Elm Creek on Saturday. And if that wasn’t enough, Anwatin went on to ski a double header and topped off their weekend with a biathlon race at Elk River on Sunday.
Four kids from the Anwatin Team, and three representing Nellie Stone, skied through the light snowfall late Saturday morning to compete in the 5 kilometer race. While the kids have gotten comfortable in race bibs- it was the falling snow that caught them off-guard. “They have not had to ski with snow in their eyes this season because it never snowed!” said Coach Rykken who lent her yellow tinted sunglasses to Nellie Stone skier Kristopher Cubias Lennon who was grateful for the relief. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” was all he could say as they continued to ski along.
Nellie Stone Johnson and Anwatin assumed their positions at the start line among the other young skiers. They raced with zest and enthusiasm- especially in anticipation of the Midwest Junior Championships which are approaching this weekend.
Racing for the first time this year, Nellie Stone skier Lagarius Munn said he wasn’t nervous at all in anticipation of the race. He said he skied “calm and cool.” Even as fatigue set in, Munn pumped himself up on the home stretch; “Ain’t nothing going to stop me!” he repeated. Nellie Stone Coach Andrew Magill commended Munn’s effort. “It was the first race for Lagarius. He was very proud to finish and persisted even though the uphills were tiring. He even wanted to, and did, ski more after the race “to be ready for next time.” He has only been on snow for a few months.”
The two teams reconvened in the chalet for snacks and post-race door prizes and won a few new ski technique videos and chocolate- the later of which vanished immediately. The teams wrapped up their morning with the all important cross-country skiing cool down – tubing – kid cross-training at its finest…
Sunday March 6th
After laying eyes on the biathlon course during their Friday field trip to Elk River, Anwatin was eager to hit the range. Even Coach Allie was registered and ready to give her marksmanship a shot.
Introducing the shooting element has provided new avenues for growth and achievement among the Anwatin ranks. Kids who are normally the strongest skiers have faced a new challenge, and some of the weaker skiers have found themselves excelling at shooting. Even Coach Rykken noticed how difficult it was to focus with the blurred vision that comes from the cold air. “You don’t realize how much your eyes tear up when you ski.”
Coach Rykken led the team making eight out of ten shots finishing just ahead of Mike Xiong who finished behind her. After racing the short course, Jezir Bradley wasn’t ready to stop, “Can we race again?” he asked. Bradley skied a lap with sixth grader Dan Wright cheering him on the whole way.
Driving back from Elk River, Wrigh announced to the car that he “would like to be either a guitarist or a ski coach.” Penalty loops or not- the team obviously is feeling “home on the range”.