Grey jays lept from branches, swooping in to steal bits of pastries as the main square outside the Teacup’s Ray Garey cabin bustled with ski enthusiasts. A vibrant gathering of junior racers, coaches and their parents all visually and verbally expressing their excitement crowded around waxing benches contemplating temperature and wax effectiveness.
St Mary’s put on its annual high school 4.5k classic race at Teacup this Sunday. Inviting teams from around Northwest Oregon including HRV, Bend High,Summit, St Mary’s Academy, and Corvallis.
Paul Blackburn, Teacup’s President, announced racers as they loaded into the starting chute. The boys’ race began at 11:00, around 90 racers were sent off in 15 second increments. Representing HRV and The Teacup team Jessie Wiley was excited to race on his home course after racing in the JNQ (Junior Nationals Qualifier) in Methow Valley this past weekend. When asked about the type of competition in the male category HRV and Teacup racer Connor Truax stated, “I feel the men’s category is usually predictable with placing, but there is definitely competition for the top places.”
At 11:45 the girls started, around 85 girls represented the five teams. After the race Valerie Fischer, another Teacup and HRV racer, said, “There was definitely a strong competitive vibe among the the girls in this race, but only during the race. Before and after the race, we love to ski with each other and discuss racing strategy.”
After the distance race the crowd hiked to the upper meadow where the sprint circuit had been set up around the Tea Time trail. Three racers teamed up for the three lap relay. Each racer completed a lap as fast as they could and tagged their teammate. HRV Varsity members Connor Truax, Jessie Wiley, and Leif Bergstrom “poled” an impressive 2nd place podium sporting only thin tights, brisk in the freezing temps but lighter nonetheless.
A special thanks to Jessica Smith-Brockley, St Mary’s and Teacup for putting on such a fantastic race and supporting junior racers.
By Finn Peterson