This is Julia checking in from Switzerland! After the Dresden and Planica World Cups, I joined the USA crew coming over for World Juniors/U23 Championships in Switzerland. I was really psyched to re group with my friends back home and hang out with people my age for a bit. After being sick the first two weeks of January and feeling a bit tired in Dresden and Planica, I was happy to have some good energy the first two days in Switzerland. There was so much snow that we had to take a long detour on our drive to the hotel and we could not ski the first day because of avalanche danger! It is funny how there is either too little snow or too much snow now a days.
Unfortunately I came down with another cold just 1.5 weeks after I kicked my last one, and right before the races started. I did everything in my power to get healthy as soon as possible, but I was still very sick on sprint day. I skied the qualifier and placed 21st former SMS PG Lauren Jortberg qualified in 14th. Lauren went on to ski an awesome qualifier, but got tangled going up the last climb and lost the leaders, and I tried my best but was too sick to keep up in the quarterfinal. I did not start the 10km classic in hopes of giving myself a little more time to get healthy for the skiathlon. When skiathalon day came around, I was still a little sick but I decided to give it a shot and just see how I feel. I ended up not finishing the race because there is so much racing left in the season and I didn’t want to put myself totally under since I wasn’t feeling totally healthy, but I at least had to try.
Even though I did not have the week I wanted, our team had the most historic results to date at World Juniors! Hailey Swirbul from UAA earned 2 medals, one silver and one bronze during the week and the Junior men’s relay put the icing on the cake by finishing 2nd on the last day! Ben Ogden made history by being on the first US men’s relay team to earn a medal, as well as placing 7th in the 10km classic race, the best result for any US guy at World Juniors! Ben also placed 18th in the 20km skiathlon on an extremely hilly course with over 2,500 feet of climbing. It is so cool to see that the US is a threat at every level, from the World Cup, to U23s and World Juniors, all the way down to U18 Trip, and that history keeps being made!
Now I am headed to Germany with my fellow D- Team teammate Hannah Halvorsen for an OPA Cup and for German Nationals the next 3 weeks. It will be exciting to watch our SMS T2 team crush it at the Olympics!!