February 20 (Holderness, NH): Over 300 nordic skiers raced the newly designed, 5km course behind the Holderness School, in Plymouth, NH, and the winners both graduated from Middlebury College. Colin Rodgers (Midd â€˜04) scorched the 2-lap, 10km freestyle course in 24:52, fourteen seconds ahead of Tom Keefe in 2nd, and 29 seconds ahead of Steve Scott in 3rd. Most significant for the points calculations, however, was Nick Trautz’s fourth place finish. In order to assign USSA/NENSA points to each racer — and therefore determine the final rankings that choose the Junior Olympic Team — first place Rodgers’ and fifth place Ben Hickory’s (Craftsbury Nordic) points were thrown out and 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finisher’s points were averaged to determine the points base for the race. And Trautz had some low, low USSA/NENSA points. That, and the super-fast, old â€˜n’ cold snow, made the times close together and a chance for great points for anyone who could get close. Mostly it helped Harry Poole from Burke Mountain Academy and Yarmouth, ME, to move up three places to make the Team.
Middlebury College’s class of ’87, Dorcas Wonsavage (Ford Sayre/Etna, NH), took the women’s race with a time of 28:32, just 5 seconds ahead of Burke Mountain Academy’s Liz Stephen (E.Montpelier, VT). Green Mountain Valley’s Laura Spector had taken the early lead in the women’s race, leading at one point by 5 seconds. But the toll of racing both New England and U.S. Biathlon qualifiers took a toll on her legs and she faded in the second lap to finish third, 29:08.
Maine Winter Sport Center’s Kate Whitcomb (Worthington, MA) had returned after 6 weeks of traveling and racing, and fought through a cold to finish 4th, 10 seconds ahead of Craftsbury Nordic’s Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, VT).
The Junior 2 (age 14-15) competition, just one lap of the 5km course, decided the J2 contingent that will try to out-podium last year’s Junior Olympic results. Taking into account the McClelland sisters, who will ski for the Mid-Atlantic team (New York), Evgenia Badamshina, skiing for the Gunstock Nordic Club (Gilford, NH), had the right race at the right time to make the JO Team. And of course, Stratton Mountain School skier, Sophie Caldwell, stayed atop the podium, a place she feels very comfortable with, while her teammate, Madeleine Talkington, took sixth. Getting into the top 5, Maine Nordic’s Elise Moody-Roberts (Cape Elizabeth, ME), kept her spot solid on the JO team, with her elite running experience helping her keep up on the speedy course.
The J2 boys 5km freestyle there were two surprises. One, Stratton did not put two in the top three, or even the top 5. A broken pole kept Kyle Dewey in 4th and teammate/cohort Fritz Horst was 6th, and Steven Bedard was 7th. The second surprise was not that Gunstock Nordic’s Alex Howe (Gilford, NH) won, in12:59, but that he put over 42 seconds between himself and second place, Thomas Stark, and Kennet High School’s Keith Kantack — fresh off of helping his team win the State Championships — in third.
(complete results and photos available at www.NENSA.net )
The 2005 New England Junior Olympic Team will head to the USSA Junior Olympics, hosted by the Auburn Ski Club, in Truckee, CA, for competitions March 7-13th. The complete ranking, 2005 JO website, and New England JO Team website can be accessed from at www.NENSA.net/JO/jo-index.html
The Banknorth / NENSA series of events begins its own March Madness of Championships, with the Banknorth New England Bill Koch Youth Ski League Championships, at Notchview Reservation, Windsor, MA, February 26-27th, The Junior2 Championships at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, Carrabassett Valley, ME, March 11-13th, the overall Banknorth Eastern State Championships at Maine Winter Sports Center’s Black Mountain, in Rumford, Maine, March 12th and 13th, and the Banknorth Eastern High School/Scholastic Championships at Bolton Valley, VT, March 18-20th.