News & Stories
LNR Juniors Finish Strong in Houghton
January 13, 2015
With pole tips sharpened and skis stiff and sleek, 15 junior athletes traveled to Houghton, Michigan to confront the nation’s top skiers at the 2015 US Cross Country Skiing Championships. After an 8-hour drive, the pack arrived at its home-sweet-home for the week: Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. With comfortable living conditions, daily homemade meals, and even a sauna, the athletes relaxed in their new environment and prepared to face the competitive challenges.
The LNR juniors started with several strong performances as the event kicked off with the 10K and 15K skate races on Sunday. The two-degree weather and whirling winds did not faze the skiers as they sped across the grueling course. Former Olympian Caitlin Gregg crushed the field and stood on the podium representing LNR as the national champion. (Caitlin is hoping her victory will help her secure a spot at the World Championships. She is currently third on the national points list, which positions her well to do just that.)
With momentum building, Classic sprints tested everyone’s speed and mental strength to hammer through the falling snow with only a few feet of visibility. The 1.5K course featured two tanking climbs and a taxing upward finish. The final event, the 10K and 5K mass start race, pushed the competitors to their max, requiring every fiber of strength and mental will to finish strong.
LNR juniors proved that hard work pays off as many prequalified for Junior Nationals, three athletes earned spots on the U18 “Scando” trip and one athlete earned a spot on the World Junior trip. Zak Ketterson, Nicole Schneider, and Abby Drach will represent LNR and the United States in Oberservaksjdfkajs, Sweden in the Nations Cup, competing against Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Estonia, Feb. 1 – Feb. 11. Zak Ketterson will go to another race afterwards in Nowemesto, Czech Republic for the Czech Cup Race
On the biathlon front, three LNR Juniors – Jakob Ellingson, Siena Ellingson, and Amanda Kautzer qualified for the Biathlon World Junior Championships. Trials races were held at Mt Itasca, Dec 28-30. Jakob, Siena and Amanda will travel with the US Team to Minsk, Belarus- Feb 17-24.
Good luck to all the athletes as they continue their racing seasons!
LNR Athletes at the 2015 US Cross Country Skiing Championships: