Tom Stephen from the Foothills Nordic Ski Club and Molly Miller from the Blackjack Nordic Ski Club lead the charge on the first day of competition at the 2021 FIS Nordic Junior World Championships in Vuokatti, Finland.
Tom set a new personal best of 12th, and Molly battled through the chilly Finnish air to cross the line in 31st, missing the heats by 3 hundredths of a second, also setting a new PB.
We caught up with Tom after his race.
Tom, congrats on the solid result. How did the race go today?
Very well! I did not feel super amazing in the quali but I managed to still qualify 29th. In my first heat, I planned to attack after the downhill and it all went to plan! I did not know I was capable of that, but it worked out!
How did things shake out for you through the heats?
In the first heat I managed to follow my plan and attack after the big downhill. Then I managed to catch the first two people and come 2nd so I could move on to the next heat. The semi was quite hard because I was out of energy from the first heat. I tried to do the same tactic but I did not have the energy to do it again. So I ended up 6th in the semi.
Today was a new personal best for you, how does it feel to break through in your first race of the event?
It is a new pb and it feels amazing. I feel like there is more to come though and also next year witch I am excited about!
What’s the energy like in Voukatti?
It is nerve racking because everyone is having trouble getting back into racing and not many people have done a ton of racing due to Covid-19. It is definitely stressful over here!
What’s up next for you this week? Goals for the championships?
I have the rest of the 3 races this week with the 10km up next, the relay after that and the 30k last. I hope to get close to another top 10 in either the 30k or 10k, but we will see how the week develops. I am hoping to bring home some gold hardware from the relay but we will see how to team fairs this year. It is only natural to be left wanting more after last year but we will see how it goes.
Congrats Tom and best of luck the rest of the Championship.