Saturday, February 2, 2013

Improvement on most fronts

Today was a day of mixed results for the UAA Ski Team.

First of all, Brandon Brewster did what he set out to do today, qualifying himself for the US Junior National Championships at the Besh Cup #5 qualifier race in Fairbanks with a 3rd place finish in the junior category. I don't want to overstep my authority by putting ratings on all of Brandon's races this winter, but it seems pretty clear to me that this was his best race of the year so far.  I think he's been steadily improving all winter.  His season's goal is a good showing during the second week of March at Junior Nationals in Fairbanks.  That's just five weeks away. If Brandon can stay on the train he's on, he may have even more and better races in his bag of tricks. Etienne finished about ten seconds behind Brandon in today's interval-start 10k skate race, and John Glen was a little farther down the result list.  Results are here:  The boys race again tomorrow in a mass-start classic race.
Brandon Brewster likes uphills.  He likes them a LOT!
In New Mexico... improvement.  Marine got back to where she has been all season so far: in the hunt for a win, though she hasn't quite won one yet. This time it was an interval start skate race.  It was a two-woman race from the start:  Joanne Reid (University of Colorado) and Marine Dusser, a minute ahead of the rest of the field.  They got splits throughout the race that one was leading, then the other, then tied... But in the end, it was Joanne Reid with another win, about three seconds ahead of Marine at the finish line. In my mind, the only thing that matters is who wins the championship and that race is still five weeks away. If Marine doesn't manage to win one of these things until we get to Vermont, that's OK by me.
Here's Marine putting the hurt on Rose Kemp (Utah) who toughed it out and hung on to Marine all the way to the finish for third place today.
Lukas also got himself back where he belongs: within the top five.  He was fourth today, in a nice comeback from yesterday's disappointing fourteenth. The rest of the team struggled all weekend, but that's not really much of a surprise to me, after they spent last week catching up on academics and putting in a solid training week before making a long, tough trip south. As always, college results are here:
Ever wonder how Lukas got to be so fast? Here's how: hard work, and lots of it.
And as for me, I did my first real workout in quite a while: a 2.5 hour classic ski at Kincaid Park, where the conditions are finally fantastic after we got a little more fresh snow late in the week after the team left for New Mexico.

Next on the agenda:  The team piles into the van and leaves New Mexico early tomorrow morning for a 3-day mini-camp at Coach Andrew's boyhood home of Crested Butte, Colorado, where there's plenty of snow on the ground and plenty of sun in the forecast.  They'll stay there until Tuesday before continueing on to Utah for the final two races of this trip, next Friday and Saturday.

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