Greeting! I am finally back at Gustavus after four days of skiing at Telemark. As some of you may know this past weekend we had 2 NCAA qualifiers. On Friday several of us packed up early and went down to Hayward, Wisconsin to do a recon of the course. I was excited to get some races in, but I was also nervous because I realized that I needed to ski well to better my position in the CCSA points list. Later that evening we met up with the rest of the team and had our usual spaghetti dinner at the cabins we were staying at. After dinner we had our usual meeting and went over the morning schedule. I was pretty excited because the girls were racing first. This meant for the guys that we could sleep in. We had to leave at 9. When we woke up we grabbed some oatmeal and packed. Soon enough we were at the course and testing our race skis. The race was 10 kilometers on the world cup trail. The reason that it is called the worldcup trail is because it is tough! Many of the climbs you have to run up with a technique called the herring bone. This technique if very slow, but also the only way to get up the hills at time. As I prepared for my race I visualized what I needed to do in order to achieve a good result. With my warm up over I lined up and waited for my time to race. The first kilometer is flat and downhill. My goal was to stay relaxed and ski into the race. I did not want to be in a situation where I was super tired before we even hit the hard climbing sections. Jed yelled at me and told me I was 5th at the moment. I felt good but I knew that the top guys had yet to go. When I was coming around for my second lap Andrew Poffenberger was starting. As soon as I went by he skied right behind me and held on. This was a good situation for him since I figured if he could hang on he would have a great race. When I saw Jed the second lap he said I was skiing well. I knew I had to give it my all to the finish because I needed to have a good classic race to help my cause of making NCAA’s. In the end I was 9th collegiate. It was a decent result considering UAF was there and I beat the winner of last weekends classic collegiate race. I am beginning to feel that my classic skiing is not a weakness! Later that night the team laid back and watched some movies. We were all pretty excited about the mass start skate race. Some of the guys were nervous about breaking poles. I tend to think that the more you think about breaking your poles the more likely it is to happen. My dad called me and told me I would be starting in the 3rd row. This was a pretty good position since it put me with the top college guys and Supertour athletes. The key in the mass start race is to get out fast and avoid being in the middle. I feel that when you are on the sides you will not get caught up in the crashes and you can move up on the sides. It is also a good spot because if you break a pole you can get a spare from coaches easier. With everyone excited and waiting to start we soon were off. I was able to stay towards the front when we hit the first climb. It was difficult to move up but I definitely felt like I was able to mantain my positioning. I knew that if I could ski with Santi Ocariz from UWGB that I would be able to have a good race. Soon after the first climb I found myself skiing behind Santi. At this point I was skiing with the lead of the second group on the trail. I was a little bummed that I did not make the lead group but I figured it would be better to ski comfortably in this group then blow up trying to make it into the front group. In the final kilometer, Jesse Lang from MTU attacked out of our group and we were not able to catch him. Santi and I went after him and ended up being like 3 seconds behind him. After the race I found out I was the 6th collegiate. I was happy with this position since 2nd-6th was pretty close in time. Another great thing I saw was that four Gustavus skiers made the Junior Olympic ski team. Andrew Poffenberger, Anders Bowman, Andrew Tilman, and myself made it. This was a huge goal for the guys this season. It is awesome to see how we can push each other and help each other achieve our goals. On Monday we spent the day doing a longer classic ski. It was great to be able to ski the Birkie trails and relax with the team for a few days after the race. I want to thank everyone who cheered on the Gustavus ski team this weekend! It definitely helps to have fans supporting you!