Tommy Simmonds and Evan O’Connor competed against some of the top junior skiers in the nation March 13-16.
The two members of the Prior Lake Nordic boys ski team were part of Loppet Nordic Racing at the USSA Cross Country Ski Junior National Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Simmonds, a junior, competed in the 18U division, while senior O’Connor was up against skiers in the 20U division.
Back in February, Simmonds and O’Connor led Prior Lake to ninth-place finish at state at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. Simmonds ended up fourth in pursuit, which is a combination of times from both the 5,000-meter freestyle and classical races.
At the national competition, both Simmonds and O’Connor competed in three races.
Simmonds had the best finishing, taking third out of 88 competitors in the 7.5 kilometer classical race with a time of 22:48.3. O’Connor ended up 26th in his division with a time of 24:09.6.
In the 10 kilometer freestyle race, Simmonds ended 14th overall with a time of 26:38.6. O’Connor’s freestyle race was 15 kilometers where he ended up 36th place (43:59.1).
In the freestyle sprints, Simmonds ended up 45th (3:17.0), while O’Connor finished 44th (3:19.92).
O’Connor has been a big part of Prior Lake’s success over the years, so he will be missed next winter when the Lakers seek a seventh straight trip to state out of Section 1.
O’Connor was 15th at state in pursuit as a junior, while Simmonds took 19th. O’Connor ended up 32nd at state as a sophomore, while Simmonds finished 82nd.
O’Connor also competed at state as a ninth and eighth grader, taking 52nd and 127th in pursuit, respectively.