CRAFTSBURY – The eastern college cross country ski circuit (EISA) moves around to different venues over six weeks during the winter. Harvard was the host school this weekend but without a certified ski course in Boston (as well as reliable snow), the races were held at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. About 85 men and 80 women lined up for a 15 km mass start classic for some of the most exciting racing action. In the women’s race, Shea Brams (Middlebury) started breaking away from the lead pack during the 3rd of four laps on the challenging 3.75 km course and won by a wide margin in 43:42. Emma Reader (Dartmouth) was 2nd, Craftsbury Academy (CA) graduate, Camille Bolduc (UVM), finished a strong 11th, and Lamoille Union grad, Maggie McGee (Colby), placed 32nd. This was McGee’s first carnival race of the year as she returns from a broken wrist injury from last summer. In the men’s race, Remi Drolet (Harvard) skied patiently with the lead pack of 20-30 skiers over the first two laps before breaking away and winning by over 40 seconds in 39:22. Drolet skied for Canada in the last Olympics in China. Local hero and CA graduate, Finn Sweet, finished 2nd and would have challenged Drolet had it not been for a spread eagle crash on the 2nd lap of the race after tangling up with other skiers in the elbow-to-elbow skiing. Sweet worked extra hard to catch back up to the lead pack but spent his energy and could not keep up with Drolet when he made his move. A trip-up on the Kirbys downhill by a skier near the lead during the 1st lap caused a major crash as the skiers behind could not get out of the way causing four or five skiers to have broken poles and skis. Jack Young (Colby), a North Country Union graduate, missed the tangle by inches and skied to 5th place. CA graduate, Aiden Casey (Dartmouth) placed 45th.
On day two, skiers switched to freestyle technique and individual starts every 30 seconds for a 7.5 km race. Over 320 Eastern Cup racers joined the college field as the youth skiers try to qualify for the Northeast Junior National team. Nearly 500 racers partook in the controlled chaos. Lucy Anderson (UNH) took the win in 18:20 ahead of Elizabeth Tuttle (UVM). Local skiers in the race included Camille Bolduc (UVM) 10th, Ruth Krebs 51, Amelia Circosta 54, Isabel Linton 93, Tillie Lange 98, Anika Leahy 105, Emily Linton 119, and Nora Demaine 173. In the men’s race, skiers and spectators were honored by the showing of U.S. Ski Team member and top 10 World Cup athlete Ben Ogden (Stratton) who won by 15 seconds in what I’m sure was more of a workout than a race. Ben is off to Canmore, Alberta this week for more World Cup skiing. Remi Drolet (Harvard) finished 15 seconds back. Jack Young (Colby) had his best distance NCAA race ever finishing 3rd among the college skiers (5th overall) with good friend, Finn Sweet (UVM), a few seconds back in 4th. Local finishers included Sage Grossi 42, Aiden Casey 71, Samuel Brondyke 101, Sisu Lange 130, Luke Murphy 153, Zeb Whitlock 159, Ben Wetherill 173, and Max Demaine 194.
On day 3, the varsity college skiers had departed, leaving the racing to a younger crowed. In the Under 16 5 km freestyle pursuit, Lea Perreard (Ford Sayre/Hanover) ripped around the 5 km course in 13:23 with Mary Harrington (Green Mountain Valley School – GMVS) 3 seconds behind. Tillie Lange was 10th, Leila Griffith 17, Nora Demaine 32, and Amelia Terrone 34. Matias Citarella (GMVS) led the U16 boys in 12:01 followed by Ivan Ivanov two seconds behind. Greta Kilburn, a first-year student at UVM, won the women’s race in 27:04 with Annelies Hannah 22 seconds behind in 2nd. Ruth Krebs of Craftsbury was 10th along with Isabel Linton 16, Anika Leahy 21, and Emily Linton 28. Kilburn, from Burlington but spends lots of time in Greensboro, is trying to make the UVM college team and after this weekend’s performance, UVM coach Pat Weaver, might be thinking she could help the Lady Cats over the next few years. At the end of a full slate of skiing over the weekend, nearly 100 1st to 8th graders partook in youth races.
Young to World Cup and Circosta at U.S. Nordic Nation’s Cup
Jack Young, a North Country Union graduate and Craftsbury Ski Club member, will be traveling to Canmore, Alberta, Canada, this week to put on a U.S. Ski Team uniform for two World Cup sprint starts. Jack earned the honors after having some very fast races back in December and January on the U.S. Supertour series and at U.S. Nationals. Jack currently skis for Colby College and trains at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in the summer. And he’s a really nice and humble person (editor note: I’ve known Jack since he was about 12 years old).
Amelia Circosta, a junior skier from Greensboro, was awarded a spot on the U.S. Nordic Nation’s Cup (under 18) team that traveled to Falun, Sweden, in late January for a week of racing with some of the best young Swedish skiers. Amelia qualified at U.S. Nationals in Soldier Hollow, Utah, in early January. Here is an excerpt of what Ameilia wrote about the trip for the National Nordic Foundation (NNF) website in a story by Ben Theyerl. NNF supports programs for developing skiers. The first race was postponed a day because of -10 F temperatures, and one race was canceled. Amelia placed 7th in the 10 km classic race and was the 2nd U.S. skier. She also skied in the sprint race.
“The next day’s temperature being much more merciful, I ditched the face tape and buff for face glitter and red, white, and blue hair ribbons. The boys ripped it up on course while the girls warmed up, then they re-grouped as the loudest and most enthusiastic cheer squad ever for the girls’ race! I definitely think that the Swedes could take some cheering lessons from the U.S. team. The excitement carried late into the night with an expedition to the ski jump hills for some epic sliding. Without proper sleds, ski jackets did the trick, but a plastic shopping bag was definitely the hot set-up for maximum speed. The next morning, we headed to Stockholm, where we enjoyed our last day in Sweden, exploring the beautiful streets of the Old Town.
“For me, this was a trip of new experiences. I had never been to Europe before, much less traveled solo, and I had never raced in a United States uniform (…pretty sure patriotic pride makes you faster!). There were new teammates, new coaches, new race courses, a new time zone and latitude, and delicious new foods. I learned to adjust quickly and prepare well for racing while traveling and living in a different place, practiced assessing an unfamiliar and exciting course, and experimented with the capabilities of my new race suit to accommodate a startling number of underlayers. It was an incredible learning opportunity that was very motivating to me. How couldn’t this experience make me want to strive to be the very best skier and the very best teammate that I can become? When everyone went separate ways in the airport to disperse all around the US and back to our respective clubs, I took a moment to appreciate how well we came together into such a strong team for this trip.
“I know that I won’t ever take opportunities like this one for granted. Thank you NNF (National Nordic Foundation) for making the U18 Nordic Nation’s trip possible! And thank you to my home team of Craftsbury for the continued coaching and support. Without such an incredible ski community, none of this would be possible.
Sincerely, Amelia Circosta, Craftsbury Ski Club, Team USA”