Today was the second day of racing here in Presque Isle and was the first day of distance, with the J2’s skiing classic 5ks, while the J1/OJ women and men skied 10k and 15ks. The J2 girls started at 10a.m and the boys at 10:30. The conditions for this race were hard and fast making the race very interesting.
Corey Stock of New England and Cole Morgan of Intermountain (who also celebrated a birthday today) each repeated their championship performances from Mondays sprint races. Stock won her race by 13.5 seconds over teammate Heather Mooney, while Morgan barely squeaked out another victory by .6 seconds over New England’s Jack Hegman.
The J1/OJ girl’s races were equally as entertaining with PNSA skier Annie Pokorny coming out on top for J1 girls by 7.8 seconds over Midwest racer Annie Hart. The OJ women also had a very close race with only 30 seconds between the winner Kaitlynn Miller of New England claiming her second title and fifth place Corrine Prevot of New England. This only leads one to wonder how close the race would have been if it had stayed a mass start.
“I was pretty disappointed that it wasn’t a mass start”, said Prevot “I think I could have skied well in the mass start”.
This was the general feeling of many of the athletes who were very excited about a mass start this year at JO’s.
A couple of the athletes that didn’t mind having an individual start were among the J1/OJ boys field.
One of these athletes is second place David Sinclair of New England who finished 12.9 seconds behind Alaska’s Scott Patterson. Instead of being let down by having no mass start, Sinclair used the individual start to his advantage.
Sinclair explained “I saw the start list and noticed that Dave Norris (OJ boy’s winner from Alaska) was starting 30 seconds behind me, so when he caught me at 6k I just stayed on his tails and tried to match his rhythm until he lost me at 13.5k”.
Two other boys that were happy for the individual start were Dave Norris and Sam Tarling of New England.
“The individual start didn’t matter”, said Norris “I just wanted to go out hard and see if anyone else could match me”.
Tarling was also excited to have the individual start as he felt it “favored him in a 15k classic race”.
For both of these athletes the race style worked out very well for them as they both skied away from the field by almost a minute while only 3.3 seconds separated Norris and Tarling.
Today didn’t show the same dominance from team New England, as the results showed a much more even distribution of teams throughout each of the age groups. The hunt for the prestigious Alaska cup is still on and the fight will continue Friday here in Presque Isle, Maine with the distance skate race.