Jericho, VT – The Ethan Allen Firing Range hosted today’s TD Bank Eastern Cup. The original host, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, had enough snow to pull of yesterday’s freestyle sprint on their own trails, but felt that moving to Jericho for the longer mass start classic races would provide the best possible racing conditions for the athletes. They were right. With temperatures in the mid-twenties, easy waxing, and a beautiful race course, smiles were everywhere at today’s events.
The biggest smiles might have been from Tim Reynolds (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Sophie Caldwell (Dartmouth College) who completed sweeps of the weekend’s racing. Each won both today’s 12K classic and yesterday 1.3K freestyle sprint.
The day began with the J2s, athletes aged fifteen and younger. In the boys race it was the experience of Hamish McEwan (CSU) and Tyler Foulkes (Stratton Mountain School) edging out Ben Hegman (Mansfield Nordic) who enters his first year in the age group. The girls were next and once again, it was the 2nd year J2s Heidi Halvorsen (GMVS) and Cate Brams (CSU) taking first and second with 1st year J2 Brooke Mooney (Stratton) taking third. The sprint to the finish between Halvorsen and Brams was one of the most intense of the day.
Collegiate standouts Sophie Caldwell (Dartmouth) and Caitlin Patterson (UVM) dueled at the front of the women’s race. In the end, it was Caldwell gliding to a 2.6 second victory. About 20 seconds later, Heather Mooney (Stratton) crossed the line to take the top junior spot and third on the podium.
The men’s race stayed in a pack until Reynolds, his teammate Patrick O’brien, and UVM’s Scott Patterson broke away on the third of four laps. While the break was not huge, it was enough to decide the podium. Reynolds stretched across the line 1.6 seconds ahead of O’brien with Patterson another 4.5 seconds behind. In grabbing third, 2010 World Junior Championship standout Patterson also grabbed top junior honors.
The first weekend of TD Bank Eastern Cup racing concluded and will be remembered for excellent conditions despite general lack of snowfall so far this winter. It will also be remembered for attracting very strong fields on both the men’s and women’s side. Momentum from this event will help carry New England athletes to success at the upcoming US Nationals January 2-8 in Rumford, Maine and the next Eastern Cup on January 30th at Weston Ski Track, just outside of Boston.
TD Bank Eastern Cup events are sanctioned by the International Skiing Federation (FIS), the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and NENSA; it is widely recognized as the premiere regionally skiing circuit in the United States, attracting strength of fields second only to the Super Tour in this country.
See NENSA.net for full details, and after the event, check back for results, photos, and more. For immediate updates during the events, follow the athletes and coaches directly at www.twitter.com/nensa/athletes