March 18, 2007 (Rangeley, ME): In the midst of a late-season snowstorm, the best high school skiers in the East competed at the Rangeley Lakes XC Ski Center this weekend, racing state against state for the overall title of TD Banknorth Eastern High School Nordic Champion. Teams from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York raced 24 of their best girls and 24 of their best boys, making this one of the most competitive junior cross-country ski competitions of the season. And with New England Junior Olympic team back from a strong performance at Junior Nationals, the teams were full of fast athletes from that team racing alongside athletes who just missed the team and were looking to prove their speed.
The schedule began with the 5km freestyle races Friday afternoon. Vermont grabbed the lead, but New Hampshire’s Harrison Harb (Contoocook) and New York’s Sophie McClelland (Keene Valley) took individual honors for the day. For boys, Caleb Lucy(Intervale, NH), Evan Dethier (Williamstown, MA), Alex Schulz (Johnson, VT) and Steven Bedard (Cheshire, NH) rounded out the top five. Following McClleland in the girl’s race was Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT), Stephanie Crocker (Poughkeepsie, NY), Elise Moody-Roberts (Cape Elizabeth, ME), and Megan Killigrew (Peru, VT). Friday afternoon’s races finished just as a spring snowstorm settled in over Maine’s Western Mountains.
It snowed through the day on Saturday creating a challenge for both the competitors and the organizers. The event proceeded as scheduled and continued to show off the top skiing talent of New England’s high school skiers. Saturday also saw the strong Vermont team build on its day one lead to take control of the team championship. In the women’s 5K freestyle it was Freeport, Maine’s Adele Espy surprised the crowd with a 12-second victory over former Freeport High School teammate, now Burke Mountain Academy student Lucy Garrec. Sophie Caldwell, Elise Moody-Roberts, and Sophie McClelland continued to ski well, grabbing 3rd through 5th place. Steve Vargo (Shaftsbury, VT) narrowly edged Sam Marshall (Etna, NH) by 3.1 seconds to take the boy’s 5K freestyle victory. Sam Tarling (Cumberland, ME), Steven Bedard, and Keith Kantack (Jackson, NH) followed to round out the top five.
Saturday afternoon, the racing continued as the snowstorm began to pull away from Rangeley with the 2 boy, 2 girls, mixed technique relay. Vermont put two teams in the top three and continued to dominate the event’s team scoring. The Vermont #1 team of Noah Brautigam, Steven Vargo, Megan Killigrew, and Sophie Caldwell took first, followed by Maine’s Graham Egan, Sam Tarling, Lucy Garrec, and Elise Moody-Roberts. The Vermont #2 team of Alex Schulz, Ethan Dreissigacker, Madeleine Talkington, and Mae Foster took the final spot on the relay podium.
Athletes, coaches, spectators, and event organizers were thrilled to see the sun poking through the clouds and more pleasant conditions for Sunday’s Mass Start 7K Classic event. The mass start is a highlight of the weekend, featuring head-to-head racing using the old-style classical skiing technique. The girls raced first and featured some familiar names in the top five. The two â€œSophie’sâ€, Caldwell and McClelland, battled for the entire race and sprinted side-by-side to the finish line along with Elise Moody-Roberts. Caldwell took the narrow victory, followed by McClelland and Moody-Roberts. Stephanie Crocker followed closely in 4th, with Lucy Garrec taking the 5th spot. The men’s race featured a pack of ten skiers maneuvering for position through the first lap of the course. As things stretched out on the second lap it became a three-skier fight to the finish with Steven Bedard, Fritz Horst, and Keith Kantack all having a good chance of victory coming into the finishing sprint. Bedard, an athlete who did not qualify for this year’s New England Junior Olympic team grabbed the win over Junior Olympic team members Horst and Kantack in second and third. Closely following the top three, the remainder of the lead group quickly flowed to the finish with Sam Tarling grabbing 4th and Noah Brautigam in 5th.
For results and more, visit www.NENSA.net
The Rangeley Lakes Cross Country Ski Trails are located in the heart of the scenic western mountains and lakes region of Maine, with an annual snowfall approaching 200 inches. The snow conditions plus fantastic terrain make skiing at Rangeley a wonderful experience for any skier from novice to expert. In the summer of 2005 the nonprofit Rangeley Lakes XC Ski Club moved their ski center to Saddleback Mountain. Learn more at www.rangeleyxcski.com
2. New Hampshire