Craftsbury, VT – While much of New England waits for skiable snow, over 300 of the fastest cross-country ski racers took to the 1.3K sprint course at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center today to contest the first TD Bank Eastern Cup of the season. A member of Craftsbury’s own team, the Green Racing Project’s Tim Reynolds and junior skier Skyler Davis from Stratton Mountain School were the men’s favorites heading into the day’s sprint. On the women’s side, the field was equally stacked, with recent World Cup competitor Green Racing Project’s Ida Sargent and her Dartmouth College teammate Sophie Caldwell headlining the women.
The racing did not disappoint. Reynolds and Caldwell put down blistering times to pace their respective fields in the morning qualifier, with Davis and Sargent close behind. Despite thin snow, the hard work of Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club volunteers and Outdoor Center staff created a great skiing surface that held up well and the course allowed spectators to see the entire loop as racers went head-to-head in the afternoon heats.
A tangle in the semifinal round kept Skyler Davis from advancing to the A-final, but Reynolds skied cleanly though all of his heats to line up in the final with teammates Patrick O’brien and Dylan Mcguffin, Northern Michigan University’s Kevin Cutts, Middlebury’s Doug Debold, and UVM’s Alex Howe. In the end it was Reynolds, Cutts, and Mcguffin grabbing the top spots on the podium, with Davis winning the B-final and earning top honors for juniors.
The women’s final saw a pair of Dartmouth College skiers, Sophie Caldwell and Hilary McNamee on the start line with Stratton Mountain School’s Heather Mooney, Cambria Mcdermott and Rachel Hall, and UVM’s Caitlin Patterson. Caldwell continued her domination from the qualifying and took the victory, followed by Mooney and Patterson to round out the podium. In taking second place overall, Mooney was also the top junior woman.
Today’s event was hosted by Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, and the New England Nordic Ski Association. Tomorrow’s 5 and 10 kilometer classic mass start races have been moved to the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont because of improved snow conditions at that venue. The same strong fields with the addition of about forty skiers including Olympian Justin Freeman will compete for tomorrow’s victory.
These 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