FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Two Carbondale athletes brought home impressive finishes after their runs at the Cross Country Junior Nationals at Birch Hill Ski Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska, from March 10-17.
Keegan Swirbul was the top American finisher in the 10K classic race, finishing third behind first-place Mattis Stenshagen and second-place finisher Sjur Slettom, both of Norway. Swirbul, of Carbondale, was just one second behind Slettom.
"This was the race I thought I had the best chance of winning, but I'm still blown away. The competition is insane," said Swirbul, an Aspen High School junior.
Swirbul was the lead leg in a winning three-person classic relay race with Cal Deline of Vail and Evan Weinman of Steamboat Springs, taking gold in the 3K race.
Another Carbondale cross country skier, 14-year-old Hailey Swirbul of Basalt High School, claimed the bronze medal in the 5K classic race in the J2 14- to 15-year-old division. She also claimed a spot on the podium with her three-person, 3K classic relay team, winning gold along with Taeler McCrearey from Summit and Jordi Floyd from Steamboat Springs.
Also competing in Fairbanks was Carbondale's Hudson McNamee, who, competing in the J1 division, placed 50th for the Americans in the 10K freestyle, 44th in the freestyle sprints and 58th in the 10K classic race.