Following the 2018 Nordic Skiing State Championships, select students from around the state are preparing for the next step in their athletic career.

Several exceptional high school level athletes have been chosen to represent Wyoming in the 2018 US Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Junior National (JN) Championships.

Emilee Robins, Molly Fehringer, Abby Gruner, Samantha Veauthier, Luciel Elder, Madyson Willis, Ursula Anderson and Zoe Noble will be representing Wyoming as the High Plains JN’s Women Team.

William McInroy, Noah Gans, Benjamin Radosevich, Adam Pickett, Silas Goetz, Lane Meyers, Albert Steiner, Sam Fay, Evan Corsen, Zane Sandall, Kaleb Simonson and Max Radosevich will be representing Wyoming as the High Plains JN’s Men Team.

The Cross Country JN Championships will be held March 3-10 at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah.

Athletes attending JN’s will be competing in four different events. A 10k interval start classic race, a freestyle sprint, a 15k mass start freestyle race and a 3x3k classic relay race.

The championship races will conclude with a banquet and awards ceremony at the Zermatt Resort, Bernese Event Center, Saturday night March 10.

The JN Championship races are the most competitive races for any skier in the United States under the age of twenty. Qualifiers for this event are not only some of the best skiers in the High Plains division (Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Eastern Montana), but are also among the best racers in the United States.

“They are definitely the highest caliber skiers in the nation,” JN’s coach Becca Watson said.“Oftentimes the skiers that we ski against at junior nationals have also qualified for Junior Worlds and have gone and skied in Europe for the Euro Cup and U23’s so we are competing against skiers that are basically professionals.”

Junior Nationals is an important stepping stone in any young skier’s career.

“It can definitely be the first step to the US ski team pipeline, and it can also be a recruiting tool from colleges,” Watson said. “Junior Nationals is where Olympians are made, only the best of the best qualify for competition.”

Athletes under the age of 20 must have a race point average below 200 for men and 275 for women in order to qualify for the JN Team. Athletes under 16 must average below 225 for men and 300 for women to qualify for the JN Team. To put this into perspective, each racer starts a season with a race point average of 999.

“It’s definitely a tough standard, and that’s where the fastest skiers are,” Watson said.

The event center, Soldier Hollow, is a former Olympic stadium that was created for the 2002 Winter Olympics. During the games it hosted the biathlon and the cross country skiing portion of the Nordic events.

Since hosting the Olympics the area has developed into a cross-country skiing, tubing and snowshoeing resort with nearby horse-pulled sleigh riding during the winter months.

It also features mountain biking, golfing, a popular music festival and an international sheepdog competition in the summer.