2/1/2013 8:00:00 AM Three area Nordic skiers make Junior Olympic teams Junior Winter Olympics to be held in Alaska
Lakeland skiers (from the left) Will Bodewes, Delaney FitzPatrick and Mac FitzPatrick earned a spot on the Junior Olympic teams following a meet this past weekend in Minnesota. Contributed photograph
Ken Schoville for The Lakeland Times
Finishing the qualifying season strong, three Lakeland Nordic skiers earned spots on the 2013 Junior Olympic team last weekend in the final races. Delaney and Mac FitzPatrick, with teammate Will Bodewes, had two races left to secure spots that were open for the taking. Saturday’s race began the weekend at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis with the classic technique and individual interval starts every 15 seconds. Racing against the clock, without information means that the skier has to decide how much pain to tolerate on the way to the finish line as kick wax is the key along with a balanced approach to glide. With no head-to-head competition close at hand, each skier composes a pacing lesson and decision-making about how to proceed, knowing the competitors around you are also hurting. With that incentive, J2s Mac FitzPatrick took sixth place and Will Bodewes ninth, to put both in the hunt for the closing points positions. Freshman Sophie Annis continued her skiing education with a solid sixteenth place in the J2 class as she continued to show progress. Delaney FitzPatrick in the J1 girls’ class had a strong sixth place in an equally strong class dominated by Minnesota ladies, a talented group. Erin Bolger had only smiles and a positive attitude surrounding her sixteenth place as she realized the quality of the field and the amount of work she had put in made her effort commendable and showed her steady improvement. Sunday dawned with a freestyle pursuit race. Skiers are sent out in the order of the previous day’s finish with the goal of passing as many skiers ahead as possible. There are really two races in one with the freestyle scoring points for the team place decision-making and the pursuit being used as the “rabbit” to motivate the skiers. In the J2 class, Bodewes chased hard and had a good one, jumping ahead into fourth. Mac FitzPatrick also got the skate skis moving and moved into fifth place. J1 Delaney FitzPatrick hung on for seventh as teammate Erin Bolger hung tough, and nailed her second 10k event with a sixteenth place finish. The team was named shortly after the last race with Bodewes and Mac FitzPatrick joining six other J2 boys, and Delaney FitzPatrick among the 12 J1 girls named. The team consists of 49 skiers and will head to Fairbanks, Alaska, along with 10 to 12 coaches, wax techs, team managers and parents. While exciting, the Junior Olympic Team has been named and is now on the backburners in both Wisconsin and Minnesota as skiers attend to their high school skiing duties with the conference, sectional, and state on the minds of all in the Nordic frame of mind. This is the heart of the season and while a fickle winter, the real fun is about to begin with the state meet just a little more than two weeks away. The meet will be held this year in Rhinelander. Ken Schoville is the former head coach of the Lakeland Nordic Ski team.