Welcome to the live blog for today’s 7.5-kilometer interval-start classic race. Here are some links all in one place:
• livestream (above), or here
Unofficial podiums are given here. A few photos have been added when I had them. Much larger photo set coming when I have it (tonight or tomorrow; everyone’s a volunteer and everyone is working hard), will go up in a separate article on this site. Congrats to all the athletes today.
UNOFFICIAL U16 girls podium, based off of UNOFFICIAL live timing:
1. Lena Poduska, Intermountain, 26:06.6
2. Ally Wheeler, High Plains, 26:58.8
3. Annelies Hanna, New England, 27:23.0
UNOFFICIAL U18 girls podium:
1. Sydney Drevlow, Midwest, 26:25.6
2. Neve Gerard, Pacific Northwest, 26:40.6
3. Maeve Ingelfinger, Intermountain, 26:43.2
UNOFFICIAL U20 women podium:
1. Sofia Scirica, New England, 26:49.9
2. Greta Hansen, Midwest, 26:51.5
3. Evelyn Walton, New England, 27:16.9
UNOFFICIAL U16 boys podium, based off of UNOFFICIAL live timing:
William Bentley (Rocky Mountain), first, 23:13.0
Logan Drevlow (Midwest), second, 23:26.1
Wells Wappett (Alaska), third, 24:09.1
UNOFFICIAL U18 boys podium:
Tabor Greenberg (New England), first, 22:28.6
Finegan Bailey (New England), second, 22:38.8
Tommy Simmonds (Midwest), third, 22:48.3
UNOFFICIAL U20 men podium:
Trey Jones (Rocky Mountain), first, 22:16.5
Max Kluck (Intermountain), second, 22:40.3
Wes Campbell (Intermountain), third, 22:43.9
10:14 a.m., Good morning, and welcome to the live blog for the 7.5km interval-start classic race. Let’s see what helpful information I can provide here during today’s race.
10:15 a.m., It is not warm in Fairbanks today. Current temps are +3° F at the venue, which is seven degrees warmer than down at the city’s official weather station at the airport, but not, actually, warm. Full hats and buffs are in evidence among the starters.
10:22 a.m., Andrew Kastning, who is doing yeoman’s work on the livestream, gently calling out athletes who did not submit their biographical information to give him more to work with. I’m not sure if anyone has live timing yet, so he really doesn’t have that much to work with.
10:24 a.m., The right side of your screen, on the livestream, now shows athletes lapping through, at roughly the 5km mark of the course. Athletes cover 5km on the Black Funk course, pass through the stadium, then repeat the second half of the first loop to close out the course.
10:25 a.m., A note on seeding: Take a look at the start list for this race. It is organized into an E group, then a D group, then C, B, and A. With the massive grain of salt that the slowest athlete in this field is faster than I am, the seeding groups generally reflect each athlete’s USSS/NRL points coming into today. That is to say, in broad terms, on paper, you would expect most of the A-seed athletes to ski faster than most of the B-seed athletes, and so on. But stay tuned to see what actually happens.
10:28 a.m., To answer a question I just got from a reader (thanks!), athletes are organized randomly within each letter group. Like the A seed group contains the tranche of athletes with the 15 best USSS points in the race, but those 15 athletes have then been randomized within that group.
10:34 a.m., There’s a bit of a lag between actual finishers and live results. Through the first five finishers presented in the live results, Darin Binning of High Plains is the current leader on paper, in 25:52.6. It’s a tough 7.5km course, with nearly 37 meters of climb per km.
10:35 a.m., More results have started loading. Hunter Pickett, also High Plains, is now the day’s fastest finisher, with 14 athletes in. But he’s ranked 17th at a midway checkpoint, so look for later starters to displace him.
10:37 a.m., Your screen on the livestream is generally showing the course in one of two places, both within the stadium. The one with orange surveyor’s tape shows athletes coming down the hill, roughly a third of the way through the race. The split screen with flat ground shows athletes in the finish lane, on the left, and the lap lane, on the right. Both stretches here are a false flat, emphasis on “flat.” That stretch into the finish can feel really, really long on tired legs.
10:40 a.m., Logan Drevlow (Midwest), bib no. 27, has raced way above his seed points to set the day’s fastest time, so far, by a remarkable 2+ minutes over Noa Kam-Magruder (Alaska). That’s why you play the games.
10:42 a.m., Drevlow is still a minute-plus up on second place. There are still 42 racers on the course, so lots of racing yet to come, but clearly a superb performance by the Loppet Nordic Racing athlete regardless of what happens with later racers.
10:45 a.m., Livestream is now showing bib no. 88, which is 18 racers into the combined U18/U20 field. Top-seeded U16 athletes still out on course. Everyone going 7.5km today, because #equaldistance.
10:46 a.m., U18 boys/U20 men are seeded the same way as U16 boys: take the overall seed points, divide into E Seed, D Seed, C Seed, B Seed, and A Seed groups, then in some manner randomize within each tranche. Yes I said “tranche” again.
10:48 a.m., If you’re curious how fast these kids are: really fast. My last two scored races earlier this year were, in round numbers, 326 points and 328 points (in the USSS ranking system). Not that I’m hot sh-t, but I did qualify for the Birkie Elite Wave in my first year doing the Birkie, a general metric for being a “good” citizens racer in this country. I would be ranked among the ten slowest U16 boys in the field, and behind every single U18 or U20 athlete. These kids are fast skiers.
10:52 a.m., Zone4 live timing down, or at least being wonky. Much sadness.
10:53 a.m., Andrew Kastning on the livestream, who is really doing a great job, apologizing for mispronouncing any athlete names. Says that he’s not on Twitter to receive any corrections. I am. @gavin_kentch, or Insta DMs are open @nordicinsights, if there’s anything you think that Andrew should know; I will pass it along. But again, though, he is crushing it.
10:55 a.m., Take things on Zone4 with a grain of salt right now. Early leader in the clubhouse Logan Drevlow no longer even showing. Schade.
10:56 a.m., Ethan Eski of Anchorage out on course now. Nice to see all the kids who destroyed me in local JNQs over the past few years showing why they are racing at this level and I am not (in addition to the fact that I am very old). Same for Oliver Wright, with perhaps the best hair in the field, now leaving the start gate and poling up the Ramp out of the gate. Oliver Wright did not even make his high school varsity ski team (West Anchorage HS) for Alaska state champs, if you’re curious about the depth of field in Anchorage high school racing.
10:58 a.m., Live timing back online, for now. Logan Drevlow (Midwest) still first, Quinn Holan (Far West) second, a minute-plus back. Fisk Johansson (High Plains) third by another 2.2 seconds. Still 25 racers out on course.
11:02 a.m., New leader in the clubhouse, with nine racers still out on course. William Bentley (Rocky Mountain) first, Drevlow second, Quinten Koch (PNW) third. These are all great skiers, but plenty of more skiers still to come in.
11:03 a.m., now Bentley–Drevlow–Wells Wappett (Alaska) for the podium.
11:04 a.m., These are VERY UNOFFICIAL results, but I am tentatively suggesting that the podium for today’s U16 boys race is:
William Bentley (Rocky Mountain), first, 23:13.0
Logan Drevlow (Midwest), second, 23:26.1
Wells Wappett (Alaska), third, 24:09.1
11:08 a.m., On to the first U18 and U20 finishers now.
11:09 a.m., With seven athletes in so far, Otus Beason (High Plains) is the early leader for the U18 boys, in 25:20.9. But still scores of racers to come.
11:11 a.m., As a reminder, while waiting for more results to come in, here is the course for today’s race.
Having raced it multiple times: it’s really hard! The max climb is 50m, which is quite healthy, but this is then followed by yet more climbing. After a brief break — and Roller Coaster is not exactly a sit and tuck and chill out and recover downhill — you climb back up to the stadium again. Then down, briefly, then back up to the stadium again. Go through the false flat of the stadium at 5km, where everyone can see you dying (at least if you are as good a skier as this reporter), then repeat the East Ramp climb once more, along with Roller Coaster and the climb up from White Bear. It is not easy.
11:16 a.m., There are now 14 athletes in the results list, for U18, and three finishers, for U20. Otus Beason (High Plains) remains your leader in the clubhous for U18 boys. Mark Eggener (Alaska) is the fastest U20 at present. Again, lots of racing yet to come.
11:22 a.m., With 29 athletes in so far for U18, the current leader is Eddie Snider (Midwest), followed by Charles Vater (Great Lakes) and Andrew Scanio (Mid-Atlantic). But results are definitely fluid still.
11:23 a.m., With 7 athletes in to date for U20, it’s Ben Martin (Midwest) first, then Mark Eggener (Alaska), then Noah Jahnke (Great Lakes). But again, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, many more better-seeded athletes yet to come. But Logan Drevlow came into this morning with the 43rd-best seed points in the U16 boys field and 23 minutes later had the day’s second-fastest time, so seed points are hardly determinative here.
11:26 a.m., Currently Eddie Snider, Charles Vater, and Oliver Wright (Alaska) on the podium for U18 boys.
11:30 a.m., No change for the U18 leaders, but still 34 racers on course, plus more to start. For U20, it’s currently Aiden van Straten (Midwest), Ben Martin (Midwest), and Joseph Stumpf (Great Lakes). But the day’s final starters are heavy on U20 athletes, so plenty more racing yet to come.
11:31 a.m., There were 68 finishers in the U16 division today. There are 88 starters in U18, and 50 starters in U20.
11:32 a.m., New virtual podium for the U20 class: Aiden van Straten (Midwest), Grant Rocheleau (Great Lakes), Ben Martin (Midwest).
11:34 a.m., New virtual podium for the U18 class: Sam Sinclair (Intermountain), Hatcher Menkens (Alaska), Tyler Watt (New England). Still 28 racers on course here, plus 12 more yet to start, so some grains of salt there.
11:35 a.m., Current virtual podium for U20: Aiden van Straten (Midwest), Myles Brown (Great Lakes), and Casey van Hefty (Great Lakes), two of them with surnames reflecting the Dutch heritage of the Midwest.
11:37 a.m., Athletes on the right side of the livestream currently shown doublepoling through the stadium in sheer agony, like moving through molasses. (And again, I emphasize that these are the best juniors in the country, all faster than me, so no snark here.) I can’t overstate just. how. long. that false flat in the Birch Hill stadium feels at the end of the race, after climbing a hefty 294 meters over 7.5+ km and coming up one last climb to the stadium immediately before this. Ski racing is always hard. It is especially hard in the Birch Hill stadium.
11:40 a.m., Current U18 leaders: Sam Sinclair (Intermountain), Nate Veltman (Intermountain), Hatcher Menkens (Alaska). Still 32 racers on course here.
11:41 a.m., Current U20 leaders: Aiden van Straten (Midwest), Eske Roennau (“GS”? He’s from Colorado, so I would assume Rocky Mountain for the division) update: this means “Guest Skier,” sorry I was wrong about that before, Myles Brown (Great Lakes). Still 25 racers on course here.
11:45 a.m., Victor Sparks (Midwest), bib no. 208, out on course now, the morning’s final starter for U18/U20 boys. Now we wait for final results (after the athletes finish).
11:49 a.m., Plenty of changes at the top of the results as athletes come in. Currently for U18 boys: Tommy Simmonds (Midwest), Blake Hanley (Alaska), Peter Warner (Intermountain). But also 20 racers still on course.
11:50 a.m., Currently for U20 men: Ben Dohlby (Great Lakes), Miguel Fresco Hanlon (Intermountain), Aiden van Straten (Midwest). But 24 racers still on course, n.b.
11:53 a.m., Landon Wyatt (Intermountain) up into third for U18 boys.
11:54 a.m., Aaron Power, the reigning Alaska Skimeister for top high school skier, sets the new top mark for U20 men, 32.7 seconds up on second. But still 22 racers on course.
11:57 a.m., Tabor Greenberg (New England) in with what has to be a fast time — he’s a good skier, and made up one minute on the athlete two bibs in front of him — but not showing up in Zone4 yet for U18.
11:58 a.m., There it is. Tabor Greenberg (New England) now first for U18 boys, in live timing, by nearly 20 seconds. Tommy Simmonds (Midwest) second, Lucas Wilmot (Intermountain) third. Six racers still on course for this division.
11:59 a.m., 18 racers still on course for U20, but Aaron Power’s time continues to hold up for first, 24.2 seconds up on second. Benjamin Lewis (Midwest) currently second, Ben Dohlby (Great Lakes) third in this class.
12:01 p.m., Finegan Bailey (New England) in with another fast time, waiting for Zone4 to reload on that.
12:02 p.m., Pressing “refresh” on Zone4 20x in a row is not having an effect apparently.
12:03 p.m., Finegan Bailey is still not known to Zone4, which creates in me sadness.
12:05 p.m., Finegan Bailey has emerged on Zone4, in second for U18 boys. Tabor Greenberg still first. Tommy Simmonds (Midwest) down to third. New England in line to go 1–2 here if nothing changes, shoutout to them for strong U18 skiers.
12:07 p.m., also shakeups for U20: Trey Jones (Rocky Mountain) first, by a heady 40+ seconds. Luka Riley, also Rocky Mountain, who raced in Whistler at World Juniors and domestically for U Colorado, now in second. Aaron Power of Alaska still on the podium in third.
12:08 p.m., More shakeups: now Trey Jones (Rocky Mountain), Max Kluck (Intermountain), and Wes Campbell (Intermountain) for the U20 podium. Four racers still on course here.
12:09 p.m., All U18 athletes in, so looks like Tabor Greenberg, Finegan Bailey, and Tommy Simmonds. Congrats to New England here on the top two podium spots.
12:12 p.m., And the VERY UNOFFICIAL BASED ON UNOFFICIAL LIVE TIMING podium for U20 is: Trey Jones (Rocky Mountain), Max Kluck (Intermountain), and Wes Campbell (Intermountain). Congrats to Intermountain for the two podium spots.
12:15 p.m., This concludes the live blog for this morning. This may have been a one-time thing, and I may need to actually parent my children more this afternoon. Stay tuned.
— Gavin Kentch