This year’s Junior Nationals start in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Monday, March 13, with a 7.5-kilometer interval-start classic race for all gender and age groups. Fairbanks in mid-March is typically paradise for a nordic skier, albeit paradise with some chilly mornings, and this year should be no exception. Conditions look superb, Fairbanks Nordic Ski Club is competence personified (seriously though just check out this schedule!), and the racing should be great.
So who’s racing? Great question. Here’s my attempt to round up JNs rosters from as many different regions of the country as I can, organized in, uh, the order in which I found them online. I *think* that this is everyone — but if I just completely missed a region altogether (I was checking things against this graphic, which I think is now slightly outdated), or I got something else wrong, please tell me! Email to info at nordicinsights.news, comment at the bottom of this article, or DMs are open on Instagram. Thanks.
Also, keep in mind that these links generally reflect those athletes who qualified for a team, rather than those athletes who are specifically attending. I’m clearly not privy to each region’s decisions about acceptances or not; who got sick or not; which Lower 48 U20 athletes pre-qualified but are not making the long trip from college north to Fairbanks; etc.
Again, if you have more information or I got something wrong, please let me know. Thank you.
Here are the 49 athletes representing New England. And here is the trip staff for Team New England (roughly halfway down this page, under “New England JN Staff”).
“I do consider AK to be like entering the wolf den of racing venues and the pack will be hungry,” Team New England Head Coach Matt Boobar wrote in the second link above. “So that means bring your own inner predator!”
Here are the athletes and coaches representing the Midwest region (mostly Minnesota; also, technically, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri).
Here are the athletes and coaches representing the Great Lakes region (mostly Michigan and Wisconsin; also, technically, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio).
Here are the athletes representing the Rocky Mountain region (click through to the second tab in this sheet, “U18/U20M Best 4/8,” then read to the right from there for U18/U20 girls and U16 boys and U16 girls). Look for those athletes above the solid black line approximately fifteen rows down on the spreadsheet. Overlook those athletes with
strikethroughs for their name.
And here is the trip staff for Team Rocky Mountain (roughly halfway down this Google Doc).
Here are the athletes representing Alaska (look for names in blue at the top of each list on this page). And here are the coaches (page one of this document).
Here are the athletes representing the Pacific Northwest. The trip leader for PNW is Heidi Loewen; that is all I can say for sure about coaching staff from this region.
Here are the athletes who have qualified to represent the Intermountain Division (as with Rocky Mountain or Alaska, look at the top half of this spreadsheet). And here are the coaches for Team Intermountain.
Here are the athletes who have qualified to represent the High Plains Division (click through all four tabs in the Google Doc, look for those athletes outlined in light blue).
Per a message from the team (thanks!), coaching staff for this division is as follows:
Eric Dye, head glide tech/coach
Cassidy Jerding, head kick tech/coach
Norm Cessna, U18/20 boys coach
Becca Watson, Head Coach/U18/20 girls coach
Leif Johansson, assistant wax/coach
Adam Pickett, head U16 boys coach
Becky Wheeler, Team Leader/coach
Here are the athletes who have qualified to represent the Far West Division. No word on coaches, at least as far as I can deduce from here.
Here are the athletes who have qualified to represent the Mid-Atlantic Division. And here is the coaching staff for this division (near the end of this Google Doc).
Good luck to all athletes! Fairbanks should be so nice.
— Gavin Kentch
Hello! Great to see coverage of Nordic skiing across the US and abroad. It’s great for our high school aged athletes to be able to read about World Cup and Continental Cup level racing in their own language.
With this being said, however, providing coverage of JNs teams in this way (and coverage of qualifier races) feeds the mindset that junior athletes are comparable to elites. But they aren’t – they’re growing and changing and very much still in development…. That’s where the phrase “J2 Hero” came from. Junior aged racers have more than enough pressure on them already, and as adults we should strive to help them thrive in these competitive environments rather than like on the stress. These articles don’t do that- they just give these kids more things to be nervous about ahead of what probably feels like the most important week of their lives this far.
Although I get that you’re a reporter , you clearly are in this business because you love skiing and want to grow the sport.
I fear that articles like these do exactly the opposite.
Hi Concerned Junior Coach – I approved your comment right away on the WordPress backend, since I don’t want to seem like I’m censoring it. I tried to write back to you, but the email address you submitted with this comment was just a filler. Can you please write to me from a real email address, so that I can discuss this with you? I promise not to publish your name here or anything, I’m just curious who I’m talking with in what is, for all of us, a very small world. info at nordicinsights dot news. Thanks, Gavin.