ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The United States Junior Nationals were held at Kincaid Park recently, and cross-country skiing took notice of two Alaskan teens dominating the competition.
Fairbanks' Kendall Kramer and Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher swept their respective age group events at nationals, and set their sights on the World Cup next.
“Even just two years ago if you told me I would be racing the World Cup, I’d be like, 'No way,' ” said Schumacher. “I don't have a whole lot of expectation, kind of go drink in the scene from the athlete's perspective. Go super hard in the first race at the mass start, get some camera time.”
Kramer and Schumacher will compete in the FIS World Cup Finals in Quebec City, Canada.
“They are showing the trajectory to become world-class skiers in the next 10 years,” NBC Sports Commentator Chad Salmela told KUAC university radio.
Schumacher recently graduated from Service High School, and Kramer is still just 16 years old with an impressive resume as a prep athlete at West Valley High School.
“There is a learning process, sort of a 'Wow' factor that has to be overcome at some point, and this is an opportunity to start getting that process out of the way,” Salmela told KUAC university radio.
Salmela went on to tell KUAC that this year’s final World Cup event works out well since it’s in Canada and not over in Europe like other World Cup events.
This January, Schumacher made history in Lahti, Finland with the U.S. men’s ski team winning the 4 x 5-kilometer relay at the 2019 World Junior Ski Championships, and was among the world’s best with two Top-ten finishes individually as well.