Congratulations to Annabel Hagen for competing among the top juniors and senior up in Anchorage. Early season experience on the national stage is an excellent developmental step for young up and coming athletes. Thanks to a Jackson Hole Babe Force Scholarship, Annabel received financial aid to help subsidize trip costs.
The first of three races presented a challenge in a number of different ways. In the beginning of the week athletes are adjusting to the altitude and working on bringing their bodies up to speed after a couple long day of travel to Anchorage. On top of these challenges, heavy wet snow made the 10km skate race a mash potato slog. Some athletes faired well in adverse conditions and coaches were surprised with somewhat upside down results. Annabel faired well in the U18 class in one of her first 10km skate races and used the opportunity to acclimate to the venue and conditions.
With a summer of training under her belt and huge technical advances, Annabel posted one of her best skate sprint preliminary results. She qualified for the heats and charged her quarterfinal ahead of 5 skiers in a dominating fashion only to get tripped up in the final 100 meters. From the coaches perspective, she would have easily advanced to the junior final based on how she was coming into form.
As Annabel was quickly adjusting to the course and feeling fresh, she was looking forward to the 5km mass start classic race. Because she's a first year U18, her starting position among U20s and U23s placed her in the middle of the pack. On a very short and fast race there were numerous hill pile ups and crashes. Annabel managed to stay out of the fray and advance 8 places from her starting position.
Annabel skied extremely well in the U18 category; her experience up against U20s and the nations fastest seniors indicates she's on track to be competitive in the future at an even higher level. For complete results see http://www.superiortiming.com/