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High school skiers compete on Casper Mountain for second consecutive weekend

High school Nordic skiers from around the state met atop Casper Mountain this weekend with more than just points in the high school season on the line.
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 1:29 AM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - High school Nordic skiers from Natrona County, Kelly Walsh, Lander Valley and around the state were atop Casper Mountain for the second consecutive weekend. It was the final race of the season that took place in the Oil City.

Racers had the chance to compete in the High Plains Junior National Qualifiers, which would give them a chance to qualify for junior nationals, or they could race for the high school season.

Natrona County Freshman Ally Wheeler, who one of her teammates calls “a future Olympian,” was one of the competitors vying for a spot at the junior nationals. She finished with the best time for any of the girls skiing on Casper Mountain on Friday at 19:52.10, which was nearly 1:53 faster than her next closest competitor in the U18 division.

Wheeler’s time counted for the U16 group, which she was 2:45 faster in than second place.

“I just wanted to win,” said Wheeler after finishing her run. “I made sure to have fun with it to get the sparkle power and to give it my all.”

You might wonder what “sparkle power” could be, and it’s the glitter that was dotted across Wheeler’s face. “Makes you faster. It’s magic,” said Wheeler with a nod.

NC Senior Olivia Devore described the Junior National Qualifiers as “an intense competition.” Devore finished fourth in the U18 division.

“It feels really nice to have an advantage to ski on the course beforehand and know what I’m doing,” said Devore about having this kind of race in her own backyard in Casper. “But to be able to be home and in a place where I feel comfortable and have been skiing for my whole life, it feels really cool to have the opportunity like this.”

Lander Valley’s Kathryn Wilmot finished atop the leaderboard for the girl’s U18 in the Junior National Qualifier, and her teammate Bennett Hutchison finished first for the boy’s U16.

In the WHSAA race, Kelly Walsh’s Finley Klinger and Laramie’s Tristan Smith finished ahead of the pack and in first place.

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