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Skiing

Get a glimpse of America’s future Olympians this week on the Kincaid Park ski trails

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: March 10
  • Published March 10
Skiers and coaches from around the country test skis and study the trails at Kincaid Park on Sunday in preparation for the Junior National cross-country championships that begin Monday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Jessie Diggins, Sadie Bjornsen, Sophie Caldwell, Kaitlynn Miller, Caitlin Patterson, Erik Bjornsen, Scott Patterson, Noah Hoffman, Reese Hanneman, Logan Hanneman, Tyler Kornfield.

If that sounds like a list of American skiers who raced at the 2018 Winter Olympics, you’re right.

It’s also a list of skiers who competed at Kincaid Park the last time the U.S. Junior National cross-country championships came to Anchorage.

The national championships are back in town for the first time since 2008, and it’s not a stretch to say the races will showcase the country’s next generation of Olympic and World Cup skiers.

Skiers from New England get familiar with the trails at Kincaid Park. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Action begins Monday with the individual freestyle race, the first of four races. The championships wrap up Saturday with relay races. At stake are gold, silver and bronze medals in three age divisions, plus the Alaska Cup – the team trophy awarded to the region that accumulates the most points.

More than 400 skiers and 100 coaches from 10 geographic regions will populate the ski trails at Kincaid.

Some are already world-class skiers.

Team Alaska coach Jan Buron, left, and Gus Schumacher test skis at Kincaid Park on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher comes into the championships as the top junior in the nation. In back-to-back World Junior Championships, he anchored the U.S. team to historic medals in the relay races – silver in 2018 and gold this year.

Schumacher also racked up fourth-place and sixth-place finishes in individual races at this year’s World Juniors. At the last two U.S. National Championships, he held his own with older, more experienced senior-level races.

Among the girls, Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks is among the favorites. She was the star of the U.S. women’s team at World Juniors, missing a medal by one spot in one individual race, finishing 15th in another and helping the relay team place fourth, seven seconds out of the bronze medal spot.

Mara McCollor was also on that relay team, and this week she’ll lead the Midwest Region at Kincaid Park.

Rocky Mountain skier Sadie Cotton, 18, grabs a pair of skate skis during training Sunday at Kincaid Park. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Monday’s individual freestyle

10 a.m. -- U20/U18 boys

11:30 a.m. -- U16 boys

12:45 p.m. -- U20/U18 girls

1:50 p.m. -- U16 girls

Wednesday’s classic sprints

10 a.m. -- U20/U18 boys preliminaries

10:45 a.m. -- U20/U18 girls prelimnaries

11:25 a.m. -- U16 boys preliminaries

11:50 a.m. – U16 girls preliminaries

1 p.m. – U20/U18 boys finals

2:35 p.m. -- U20/U18 girls finals

4:15 p.m. – U16 boys and girls finals

Friday’s mass-start classic race

10 a.m. -- U20 girls

10:55 a.m. -- U20 boys

12:05 p.m. -- U18 girls

1:05 p.m. -- U18 boys

1:55 p.m. -- U16 girls

2:30 p.m. -- U16 boys

Saturday’s freestyle relay

10 a.m. – U16 boys

11 a.m -- U16 girls

Noon -- U20/U18 girls

1 p.m. -- U20/U18 boys

U20 age group is for skiers ages 18-19; U18 is ages 16-17; U16 is ages 14-15.

Team Alaska skiers get ready for the Junior National cross country championships. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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