Dewa Ilg (16), a few weeks after competing for DHS XC at NXR Mesa, AZ shows her multisport prowess at
the start line of the first Rocky Mountain Division of the United States Ski And Snowboard Association’s 
Nordic Junior National Qualifier near Winter Park, Colorado last Saturday. Dewa finished both Classic and Skate races
in the top 25 of the collegiate field over two days of racing for Durango Nordic Ski Club.  pic by Steve Ilg.
Winter Park, Colorado –

High School outdoor distance sports get really real when the temps are below 10-degree’s Fahrenheit and podiums are gained or lost upon narrow, edgeless skis upon which the kids must technically, gracefully canvass sacred snows up and over hills from 5-10 kilometers.  This winter? There are but a handful of Durango kids that are able to train (often times in dark via headlamp) and compete in weather that makes them say,  well,  to take a line from Frozen, the movie?  “The cold never bothered me anyway.”
Last weekend saw only 4 Durango High School Athletes (there still remains no DHS Nordic Program which was once a hallowed and several time State Championship Team) and a Middle School athlete that travelled to Winter Park last weekend to contest the best of the west at the Rocky Mountain  Division (RMD) of the United States Ski And Snowboard Association (USSSA)’s first Junior National Qualifier at Snow Mountain Ranch, Winter Park, Colorado December 16&17.
The only racer for Durango Nordic in the U18 was Dewachen Ilg (16) – just a few weeks removed from racing at Nationals XC for DHS and with only 4 on-ski workouts (1 one of which was a 5k Classic and 5k Skate Race atop 11,000′ Grand Mesa in which she podiumed beside two collegiate racers) who finished 24th during the Classic Race against an expanded field that included the best collegiate racers from the RMD and 22nd on Sunday’s Skate race – again, against the collegiate best.
In the U16, it was Betty Holcomb who finished 10th in Saturday’s Classic race and a 17th in Sunday’s Skate race who helped pave the way for Ellie Bruckbauer of Durango Nordic who finsihed strong in the Classic race and then used Betty’s draft to finish right behind Holcomb for a great 18th Place in Sundays 7.5k Skate race. Representing Durango for Men was Jack Purcell who after a strong Classic race on Saturday hammered out a 17th overall finish in Sunday’s 7.5k Skate race.
In the U12, Aaron Nicovich headlined for Durango with a 8th place on Saturday and 10th place on Sunday.
Durango Nordic’s next Junior National Qualifier is scheduled for January 26-27 at the Olympic venue of Soldier Hollow, Utah.
correspondent; steve ilg, 818 590 2922

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