JNs Day Three: Mass Start Skate Races Live Blog


Welcome back to the final day of racing, and the final day of the Nordic Insights live blog. More people than I was expecting, frankly, viewed the live blog for classic distance day, so let’s try this again. Races start at noon today.

• Here is the livestream:

Here are the start lists.

Here are live results.

• Here are the (notably condensed) start times for all six races:

racetime (AK)time (EST)
U16 boys 5km mass start skate12 p.m.4 p.m.
U16 girls 5km mass start skate12:10 p.m.4:10 p.m.
U18 girls 10km mass start skate12:25 p.m.4:25 p.m.
U18 boys 10km mass start skate12:45 p.m.4:45 p.m.
U20 girls 15km mass start skate1:55 p.m.5:55 p.m.
U20 boys 15km mass start skate2:40 p.m.6:40 p.m.

Okay, let’s see how this goes. Send questions or feedback to info (at) nordicinsights dot news, or DMs are open on Instagram @nordicinsights. Live blog by Gavin Kentch. Livestream commentary by Andrew Kastning. Stadium P.A. announcing by Kent Karns.


Unofficial podium results from today:

U16 boys: Wells Wappett, William Bentley, Campbell McLaren

U16 girls: Lena Poduska, Annelies Hanna, Mary Harrington

U18 boys: Tabor Greenberg, Benjamin Barbier, Lucas Wilmot

U18 girls: Rose Horning, Neve Gerard, Sydney Drevlow

U20 men: Trey Jones, Luka Riley, Philipp Moosmayer,* Matt Seline (*Moosmayer is a foreign national who skis locally for UAF, and is classed as a guest skier in the results. Seline is third on the domestic podium.)


12:02 p.m., Race is underway. Roughly 70 U16 boys have just left the stadium and headed up the Ramp.

12:03 p.m., No audio commentary, currently, on the live stream, a fact that is bringing great sadness to many people in the chat function of the YouTube stream.

12:05 p.m., U16 girls field streams out en masse to the, well, mass start. The previous race started 5 minutes ago. The next race starts in 5 minutes. Chief of Competition John Estle has overseen a staggering ca. 400 race days in his long and illustrious career; today is the last one. If he can pull this off — and I have no doubt that he can — then he is going out with a bang.

12:07 p.m., Looking in on the U16 boys live timing, it was Waters Callahan in the lead 3:30 into the race, with another 10 athletes within 10 seconds of him. Race should take ca. 13 to 14 minutes total.

12:09 p.m., Lead U16 boys streaming past the edge of the stadium. U16 girls about to start. This is glorious chaos. So impressed with NSCF right now.

12:10 p.m., Lead pack of six boys when the U16 race came past the stadium recently. Finishers should be in within five minutes.

12:11 p.m., U16 girls on course. Audio is back on. Much rejoicing in the YouTube chat.

U16 girls start

12:12 p.m., One broken pole leaving the start. 🙁 Rough start for a 5km.

12:13 p.m., Wells Wappett leading out the group sprint

12:13 p.m., Local kid Wells Wappett wins at home!

William Bentley second.

Campbell McLaren third, based on my reading of bib numbers.

Quinten Koch fourth.

Nate Streubel fifth.

This is all based off of my looking at bib numbers on the livestream.

12:16 p.m., More finishers coming in, relative stragglers by this point. These kids are all among the best 50 athletes in the country.

12:17 p.m., NSCF finish crew working heroically to get collapsed athletes up and off the ground and out of the finish area. 82 girls will be finishing within like seven minutes.

12:20 p.m., U18 boys on their way out to the start.

12:21 p.m., Lena Poduska, Intermountain, DESTROYING the field right now.

12:22 p.m., New England x2 trailing Poduska. Lena Poduska has crushed. “Girls racing is always more ruthless than the boys,” Kastning observes on the livestream. “They just want to stab each other.”

12:23 p.m., Back to the boys: Wells Wappett, William Bentley, Campbell McLaren, Quinten Koch, Nate Streubel were top five for U16 boys. Logan Drevlow, Silas D’Atre, Callahan Waters, Oskar Flora, Vebjorn Flagstad fill in places six through ten. Top five all within five seconds there.

12:23 p.m., U18 boys getting ready for their start. Again, this is madness on the part of NSCF (to have all six races start within less than three hours, on the same 5km course), but also they are pulling it off, because of course they are. Impressed but not surprised.

12:24 p.m., I feel comfortable predicting that Lena Poduska is going to win this.

12:25 p.m., U18 boys start is underway.

12:26 p.m., Lena Poduska for the win. Annelies Hanna and Mary Harrington follow in second and third.

12:27 p.m., Taylor Nalder and Britta Johnson follow, I think in that order.

12:27 p.m., Lena Poduska led this race effectively wire to wire, and looked smooth and relaxed while doing so. “Gun to tape annihilate,” as one Devon Kershaw would intone.

Mass start athletes coming in in droves.

12:29 p.m., Results not up yet on Zone4 for U16 girls, but give it another minute or so.

12:30 p.m., I said this on Monday, but this final 100ish meters in the Birch Hill stadium is the longest 100 meters of any athlete’s life. Everyone in this field is a better skier than I am, and they just look destroyed by this point. Skiing is hard.

12:32 p.m., Zone4 now has times up for the top three athletes. Lena Poduska, 14:33.5; Annelies Hanna, 15:05.3; Mary Harrington, 15:14.9. The athletes ski for Intermountain, New England, and New England, respectively. Their home clubs are Jackson Hole, Ford Sayre, and Green Mountain.

12:34 p.m., Lead U18 boys on the edge of the stadium. This is most of the way through lap number one of two for them, so the pace is a little more moderate here than the single-lap push of the U16 5km races.

12:35 p.m., Still 10 more minutes till the next race starts!

12:36 p.m., Current temps in the Birch Hill stadium are –14 C, or +7° F. Light or no wind, so looks like the most humane conditions of the whole week to date.

12:37 p.m., It’s been 12 minutes for the U18 boys, and they’re really fast, so top racers should be lapping through soon. Again, they are racing a 10km, so two laps of the 5km South Tower course.

12:37 p.m., Lead pack laps through the stadium, emphasis on pack. There are at least 15 folks all together here, maybe more. Tabor Greenberg and Finegan Bailey, both of New England, both at the front, which is not a surprise.

This is a big pack.

12:40 p.m., Lead athletes were all skiing far, far faster than I ever could, but also relatively relaxed, as they came through the stadium. Look for more fireworks to emerge on lap two, perhaps as soon as the climb up South Tower.

12:42 p.m., Three minutes till the U18 girls start. Look for the fastest U18 girls to potentially overtake the U18 stragglers from the previous race during their first lap/boys’ second lap. Male athlete just shown on screen going up the Ramp is going to have to watch his back soon.

12:44 p.m., Yet another race about to go out precisely on schedule, the fourth within 45 minutes. This is a John Estle fan account now.

12:45 p.m., U18 boys visible at the edge of the screen, going up East Ramp. Charging hard now. Still a dozen or more athletes all together in the lead pack there.

12:46 p.m., U18 girls starting. No broken poles visible on screen yet? Hope it stays that way.

12:47 p.m., Nope, Andrew Kastning and I both had the same hope, and both spoke too soon. One broken pole in this start, too.

12:48 p.m., There were 15 boys within 10 seconds of the lead at the second lap South Tower checkpoint, 17 minutes into the race, so look for a potentially contested finish coming soon for the U18 boys, unless someone is able to get away. Tabor Greenberg and Finegan Bailey have to be counted among the favorites for this race, both coming in and through the first 1.5 laps, but I really don’t want to handicap the field more than that, given that we are talking about high school kids here.

12:51 p.m., Called it. Tabor Greenberg leads it out.

Ben Barbier second, Lucas Wilmot third.

Tabor Greenberg takes the win
Tabor Greenberg rests on the ground after taking the win.

1:04 p.m., Sorry, kid crisis, had to step away there.

1:06 p.m., Andrew Kastning just described the U18 girls lead pack as Sydney Drevlow, Rose Horning, and Rose Gerard, which is… not exactly reflected in current Zone4 live timing, but is also very plausible for the leaders of this race, so I have no doubt that is correct.

1:08 p.m., Live timing now shows those three athletes in the lead with a split at lap-two South Tower. Horning first, by less than a second over Drevlow, then Gerard 4.5 seconds back in third. At that point in the race.

1:10 p.m., I don’t have a photo of Rose Horning that I can share here — my photos provided by Steve Fuller during World Juniors were, very appropriately, for use only during World Juniors — but here is a nice profile of Horning from friend of the site Ryan Sederquist in the Vail Daily News from earlier this winter.

1:12 p.m., This is Horning’s race to lose at this point. Stay tuned for the finish within the next few minutes.

1:16 p.m., Lead racers should be coming in fairly soon.

1:17 p.m., Rose Horning coming to the line. Neve Gerard within sight, but will take second.

1:18 p.m., Sydney Drevlow takes third.

1:19 p.m., Hanna Koch in fourth. Lydia Kraker in fifth.

1:20 p.m., Racers streaming in. Finish-line crew crushing it here.

1:23 p.m., Okay, lunch time for this reporter. Next race is U20 men, at 1:55 p.m., then finally the U20 women, at 2:40 p.m. I will be back online soon for those two 15km races, unless my kids need attention. Congrats to all the racers today, and massive shoutout to Andrew Kastning for his work on commentating the livestream. Plus, of course, all volunteers.

1:55 p.m., I’m back. U20 men lining up, about to start.

Here is the course for the mass start races. The athletes will cover this three times for the 15km.

1:56 p.m., No broken poles here in this start, but one inoperable or broken ski. Poor kid.

1:58 p.m., Top-seeded athletes for this race were, in order: Trey Jones, Wes Campbell, Matthew Seline, Victor Sparks, Luka Riley, Philipp Moosmayer, Derek Richardson, Jonathan Clarke, Andrew DeFor, and Corbin Carpenter. That’s three athletes from Rocky Mountain, three from Midwest, and one each from Intermountain, Far West, and Alaska. Plus one guest skier, in this case a foreign national who does not count toward team scores.

2:01 p.m., Temps at Birch Hill up to a balmy +10° F at this time, by a substantial margin the most moderate conditions of this race week. Something funny and original to do is to call the venue “Brr Chill” instead of “Birch Hill.” Hilarious. I think I first read that on Cory Smith’s ur-skier blog,, some time last century, though I’m sure he didn’t coin it. Cory would later go on to found an obscure website called FasterSkier. He currently lives in Anchorage, where he beats me in classic races.

2:03 p.m., Okay, back to the race. Trey Jones and Victor Sparks leading the race, joined by Matt Seline and Philipp Moosmayer. Another dozen athletes still within reach, at roughly the 3.5km mark of a 15km.

2:06 p.m., Andrew Kastning, who is really doing a great job with this, free-associating on St. Patrick’s Day and the importance of salmon to the Alaskan diet on the livestream while waiting for athletes to come back through the stadium. Just to commentate on the commentator, Kastning has previously worked, and maybe still does, as a fisheries biologist for the State of Alaska. He was previously head nordic coach for University of Alaska Anchorage. The man who now holds that coaching job, Trond Flagstad, has been cheering for his son, Vebjorn Flagstad, in this week’s races. Alaska is just one small town.

2:08 p.m., Lead pack laps through the stadium, Trey Jones at the head of the field. Dozens of athletes are still together right now. They are skiing very well. They also look like they are essentially out for a comfort cruise.

2:10 p.m., If you are reading this blog and you are as good a skier as, say, this reporter, the notion of being able to keep up with the lead pack for an entire 5km while chilling like that may be essentially foreign to you. I’m not trying to belabor the point; these kids are good skiers, I am not, and I have the bottom-third finishes in local JNQs to show for it. But it’s worth keeping in mind why mass start races at this level look the way they do: The separation at the top of the field is relatively thin, and it is not worth anyone’s time and effort to try to make a move so early.

2:13 p.m., Just checked my current points on myUSSA. They are 353.01 for NRL distance points (lol) (they were as low as 319.92 earlier this season, more lolz). I am ranked a heady 700th in the country on the most recent distance list. I have also won local citizens races, which is not an empty statement in Anchorage. These kids are really fast.

2:14 p.m., At roughly the halfway point of the race, Luka Riley in the lead, but still anyone’s race out there.

Luka Riley (photo: Gavin Kentch)

Here is a not very good file photo that I took of Luka Riley skiing the second classic leg for the Americans in the men’s relay at World Juniors in Whistler last month.

2:21 p.m., Here’s the lead pack of four lapping through at 10km: Trey Jones, Matt Seline, Luka Riley, and Philipp Moosmayer. Corbin Carpenter dangling just off the back in no man’s land. Moosmayer is a foreign national (from Germany, skis for UAF), and is not eligible for the U20 national title or podium. All these athletes look almost impossibly, enviously smooth in this false flat V2 stretch, even after 10km at the front of the race. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast, as they say.

2:25 p.m., Figure about another 10 minutes total until the winner finishes this race, less than that before we get shots of the leaders once more.

2:28 p.m., No lead athletes visible yet. Entertaining myself by watching just how far past the V boards some of the coaches go as they go stand out on course. Pretty far, in some cases. Less egregious at this point in the race, on this wide of a course (going up the Ramp just off the start), than in some places, but still quite violative of the letter of the law.

2:30 p.m., Action at the front! Trey Jones and Luka Riley in the lead as they come along the edge of the stadium, at the 13.5km mark of the race. Matt Seline 20m back in third, with Philipp Moosmayer behind him. Sizeable gap back to fifth, which is probably Corbin Carpenter.

2:34 p.m., Lead finishers coming in!

Trey Jones wins

2:35 p.m., Trey Jones takes the win. Luka Riley second. Philipp Moosmayer third, on the course, Matt Seline just behind him, will be third in the domestic results.

2:36 p.m., Corbin Carpenter in in fifth, after gamely skiing by himself all race. Ben Dohlby and Miguel Fresco Hanlon ski way above their bibs/seeding in very strong races.

2:40 p.m., U20 women on course, in the sixth and final race of the day. As I said above, today is the final work day of John Estle’s long and illustrious career. He is going out with a bang with this compressed race schedule.

2:41 p.m., The de rigeur one athlete with broken poles off the start of the U20 women’s race.

2:43 p.m., This concludes today’s live blog, since I need to go play with my patient children now. Congrats to all athletes. Tune in tomorrow for a final photos post from JNs.

— Gavin Kentch

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