With snow on the ground, the cross-country race season is just around the corner. Summer and
fall dry land training are in the books, and the local junior skiers are starting to log their early
season kilometers. The winter season for Mammoth Nordic Competition and Development
teams kicks off with a Junior National Qualifier on December 17-18. The Mammoth High School
and Middle School teams begin their competition season in January.
Behind all of this activity are the Mammoth Nordic and High School and Middle School coaches.
Here is a quick introduction to the trainers, technicians, planners, waxers, and entertainers who
work with our local cross-country juniors.
Head Coach Ben Higgins, originally from New Hampshire, is going into his fourth year coaching
in Mammoth. Higgins leads the Mammoth Nordic (club) summer and fall programs, which
includes roller skiing, running, strength training, and high Sierra hikes. In the winter, Higgins
manages the practice schedule and coaches at all high school, middle school, and Junior
National qualifiers. He will also attend USSS National Championships in Houghton, MI in
January and USSS Junior Nationals in Fairbanks, AK, where he hopes some of our Mammoth
racers will be competing.
Higgins is assisted by a new Mammoth coach, Laurel Fiddler. Fiddler grew up cross-country
skiing at Tamarack and is a veteran of the Gliders, Ski PE, Middle School, and High School
teams. After high school and 6 years competing at Junior Nationals, Fiddler raced in the eastern
circuit of Division I skiing for Bates College. She most recently was Head Coach at Gould
Academy in Maine.
Heading up the Middle School team is Kathi Kirkeby. Kirkeby will be heading into her seventh
season coaching, and like Fiddler, grew up skiing in Mammoth. Kirkeby, a kindergarten teacher
at Mammoth Elementary, is an alumni of the Mammoth High School Nordic Ski Team and has
competed in the Junior Nationals.
Jeff Byberg will once again fill the position of Mammoth High School coach. He is heading into
his fifth season with the Mammoth Huskies. Byberg, along with Higgins led the high school
boy’s team to a State Championship win last season, and is looking for a repeat again this
season. Byberg gets the “nice coach” award with his infectious smile and sense of humor.
Rounding out the coaching team is perennial Mammoth coach, Nancy Fiddler. Fiddler has been
sharing her love of skiing and experience as a 14 time National Champion and 2 time Olympian
since 1993, when she founded the first Mammoth Nordic teams. Fiddler anchors the versatile
and seasoned staff during the winter season. She also serves as the official leader of the
popular team summer adventures in the mountains. While Fiddler knows that not every kid she
coaches will make it to the World Cup, she hopes to create life-long skiers.
For information about learning more or joining the team, contact Coach Ben Higgins
This past week 5 Mammoth cross country skiers traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the 2022 Junior National Cross Country Skiing Championship. The skiers qualified for the trip by racing and performing at 5 regional races this winter, and along with skiers from the Lake Tahoe area, represented the Far West Division (clubs and schools from California and Nevada). Junior Nationals is the high point of the season for the athletes, who trained all summer, fall, and winter to compete against 9 other divisions from across the country.
It was the first Junior Nationals to be held in two years, with all five Mammoth skiers making their debuts. Cabot Godoy, Dane Karch, Davin Wolter, and Jack Leonard all raced in the Male Under 16 category, and Ella Walker competed in the Under 16 Female division.
Four hundred and thirty racers in three age groups, participated in 4 races across 6 days on world class trails at the Theodore Wirth Park. Competitors faced cold weather and demanding courses all week, with the race temperatures often in the single digits. Mammoth athletes embraced the challenges with extra layers, face tape and glitter and enjoyed the annual chance to race shoulder to shoulder with the best skiers from across the country.
After the ups and downs of the week, Mammoth and Far West placed second in the small division team category and seventh in the overall standings. The Mammoth nordic athletes represented well in the tough competition, scoring points for Far West, and gaining invaluable experience that will provide motivation for the next cycle of training beginning in June.
Mammoth athletes results summary:
U16 Male 5km: U16 Female 5km:
Dane Karch- 16th Ella Walker- 55th
Cabot Godoy- 22nd
Davin Wolter- 73rd
Jack Leonard- 75th
U16 Male 1.3km: U16 Female 5km:
Cabot Godoy- 22nd Ella Walker- 66th
Dane Karch- 48th
Davin Wolter- 56th
Jack Leonard- 76th
Classic Mass Start:
U16 Male 5km: U16 Female 5km:
Dane Karch- 17th Ella Walker- 69th
Cabot Godoy- 44th
Davin Wolter- 73rd
Skate Mixed Relay:
U16 4x 3km:
Far West 1 (Dane Karch, Cabot Godoy)- 21st
Mixed 1 (Jack Leonard)- 34th
Far West 2 (Davin Wolter, Ella Walker)- 35th
Full results can be found at superiortiming.com.
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