Skip navigation

Sprint Race

Juniors Olympics

Wed, Mar  11, 2009 - By Zach Wagner

Zach Wagner is a Great Lakes District racer skiing on the Superiorland Ski Club in Marquette, Michigan. His blog is at

It’s Zach Wagner to report on the JOs in Truckee, California.

Today was the skate sprint race.  It was colder this morning than it has been the past few days and the course was re-groomed and set up very nicely.  Our drive was slightly delayed by the police demanding we use chains earlier this morning.  But, by the time we got the chains on back at the house and got moving, the roads were completely clear and the chains just made it sound like we were in a turbo-prop airplane.

The 913 meter course was open for a while to test wax and warm up.  The course is flat in the stadium then a downhill which slants up into a short uphill then goes back down to a hairpin corner that was banked for the race.  The trail then loops back to the first downhill for a final and rather painful uphill and back into the stadium for the last hundred meters.

A Sprint Heat at Junior Olympics cross country ski championships

A sprint heat at JOs

I usually have problems warming up at JOs because of the large number of competitors and lack of space on the warm up loops.  However, today I was pretty well set and ready to go.  I got to the line and first thought: “oh man, I haven’t raced in a while”, but with the 10 second to go beep from the clock my thoughts switched to what my coaches told me: “hammer it out of the stadium, rest on the downhills and hammer back up the hill, don’t give in; it’s supposed to hurt.  To tell the truth, it did hurt.  The race was over very fast, but I spent longer than usual getting my breath back; it felt like my heart and lungs were in my throat.  Overall though, I was happy with how I kept my technique smooth and my overall speed high.

Our team did decently, with 4 qualifiers from Great Lakes: Jesse Smith and Luke Gesior for OJ men, Brenden Baic for J1 males and Christina Mishica for OJ women.  Qualification was tight, due to the speed and length of the course, the race was timed to hundreths of seconds, tenths separated qualifiers and non-qualifiers and one second down could cost five places. The Superiorland contingent had decent races from what I’ve heard from the guys.  We were a bit bummed about not making it into the heats but we’re now gunning for a better placing in the distance races (15K Skate Mass Start on Wednesday).

The results can be found here:

The Superiorland guys placed as follows:

  • Zach Wagner: 58th in 2:16.13
  • Tony Mattioli: 60th in 2:16.32
  • John McFadden: 81th in 2:24.02
  • Shayle Murray: 89th in 2:31.62