Basalt grad Hailey Swirbul makes history with silver at Junior Worlds |

Basalt grad Hailey Swirbul makes history with silver at Junior Worlds

Basalt High School graduate Hailey Swirbul, right, stands on the podium with Russia's Polina Nekrasova, center, and Finland's Anita Korva, left, after Tuesday's 5K classic race at Junior Worlds in Switzerland.
Courtesy photo

Hailey Swirbul continues to make history.

The 2016 Basalt High School graduate and former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete won a silver medal on Tuesday at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Switzerland, the best finish for an American male or female in Junior Worlds history.

“Hailey skied tactically really well,” U.S. coach Bryan Fish said in a news release. “We had to wait for the later starters to finish, however none of their intermediary splits were matching up and it became clear that she would be on the podium.”

Last year at Junior Worlds in Soldier Hollow, Utah, Swirbul was part of a bronze-medal relay team, a first for the U.S. at the event. With two career Junior Worlds medals, she becomes only the second American to accomplish the feat, the other being Katharine Ogden, who was part of that relay team in 2017.

Also Tuesday, Olympian Ben Loomis won bronze in the 10k Nordic combined championship, giving the U.S. Ski Team its first double medal day at Junior Worlds.

In Tuesday’s 5-kilometer individual classic, Swirbul finished in 14 minutes, 13.1 seconds, about 14 seconds behind race winner Polina Nekrasova of Russia. The second-best American was Hannah Halvorsen, who finished 22nd in 15:08.8.

Swirbul is a sophomore at the University of Alaska Anchorage and competes on the school’s cross-country ski team. Her brother is Jelly Belly cyclist Keegan Swirbul.

Racing continues in Goms and Kandersteg throughout the week.