Steamboat’s Wally Magill races to Junior National Cross Country Championships title
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Nordic skier Wally Magill had a little less room in his suitcase on his return flight to Steamboat Springs from Anchorage, Alaska, over the weekend after winning a national title at the Junior National Cross County Skiing Championships.
“It wasn’t too sunny in Anchorage, and the conditions were a little gloomy, but it was a fast course,” Magill said. “I put all of what I have worked on all year into effect and pushed really hard. I ended up doing really well.”
The result makes Magill the first U16 boy from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to earn the junior national title in the individual start freestyle event, which was held March 11.
Magill’s finish in the freestyle race fueled a strong week for the young skier. In sprint races, where skiers post a qualifying time and then battle one another in 1.4-kilometer heats, he battled through the brackets March 13 to place third. Then Magill was able to overcome a tumble in the 5K classic race March 15 to place seventh overall.
“He was leading the race at the 3-kilometer mark but kind of got off into the woods and fell to 35th place,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic Director Brian Tate said. “The impressive thing is that he stuck with it and made it back into the top 10.”
Shortly after finishing his final individual race, Magill reflected on his strong week.
“It is a super fun week,” Magill said. “You get to see a lot of friends, not only from Colorado, but also friends from across the nation. It’s just cool to see all these super good skiers gathered together in one place.”
Thirteen skiers with ties to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club racing in Anchorage. Other top finishes in the freestyle events included Sumner Cotton, who placed 20th in the U16 division, Wyatt Gebhardt, sixth in the U20 division, and Chase High, 31st in the U18 division.
In addition to Magill’s third-place finish in the sprint events, Steamboat’s Jimmy Colfer was 18th, Sven Tate was 19th and Gebhardt was 21st in the U20 boys division, and Cotton was 16th in the U16 boys division.
On the girls side, Sadie Cotton was 11th in the U20 division and Sidney Barbier was 16th in the U16 division.
The individual races came to a close Friday with a classic mass start races.
“Firm, and to a degree, icy tracks led to fast skiing,” Brian Tate said.
Once again Magill was the top Steamboat finisher in seventh with Gebhardt placing 12th, Colfer taking 20th and Sven Tate placing 23rd in the U20 division. High finishing 31st in the U18 division, and Barbier led the girls classes with a 19th in the U16 division.
On Saturday, Magill and Cotton teamed up with Summit’s Lasse Konecny to add one more top finish to their list of performances. The team raced to second place in a three-skier, 3K relay race in the U16 division.
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