Ski Report, Sports

Outdoor Centers Hosts Classic High School Ski Race

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by NordicFocus from Fasterskier
Jake Brown (14) of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project anchors the U.S. Biathlon team to a record 5th place at Czech World Championships with tens of thousands of fans watching. Vitezslav Horning (9) of the Czech Republic is to the right.

CRAFTSBURY – Once again, northern Vermont high school ski teams converged on the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s ski trails for a classic race due to lack of snow and icy conditions at Lamoille Union’s trails.

The day actually felt like winter at 15 F and 20 mph gusts of wind but that only enlivened the 160 athletes from eight schools to ski a little faster. Sage Grossi (Montpelier) continued his high level of performance this year winning the boys 5 km mass start race (14:34) around the North 5K course, which will be used for the state meet on March 1.

Sisu Lange (St. Johnsbury) led for the first few kilometers knowing Grossi was right there behind him and finished 18 seconds back. Ben Wetherell (Montpelier), Charlie Kehler (Craftsbury-CA), Zeb Whitlock (Lamoille), and Porter Hurteau (BFA – St. Albans) followed in the 3rd to 6th positions.

Local skiers included Silas Hunt 10th (CA), Max Demaine 11 (Lake Region with CA), Soren Stelma-Leonard 20 (CA) and Xavier Chapdelaine 47 (Lake Region with CA). Fifty-four skiers were in the race.

In the team scores, Montpelier was 1st (36 pts.) followed by Lamoille (51 pts.), BFA St. Albans (70), St. Johnsbury (72), Peoples Academy (79), Stowe (93), and BFA Fairfax (142). Craftsbury combined with Lake Region had an unofficial 81 points. In cross country skiing, students from schools that do not have official teams (i.e., Lake Region) cannot score with the team they train with (Craftsbury). Four skiers are needed for a team score. Craftsbury currently has three boys skiing varsity. VPA rules state that skiing is an individual sport, despite the excitement around the teams and relays, especially at the state meet.

In the girls varsity race, Amelia Circosta (independent-Greensboro with CA) skied a fast 16:29 followed by Anika Leahy (CA), Meg Voison (Montpelier), Margaret Saligman-McGill (Montpelier), Leila Griffith (Stowe), Anya Moriarity (St. Johnsbury), and Ava Purdy (St. Johnsbury). Purdy lives in Wheelock.

Montpelier took the team win with 30 points followed by St. Johnsbury (38), BFA-Fairfax (74), Lamoille (76), and BFA-St. Albans (84).

JV was next up and CA skier Aemilia Terrone tore around the two-lap 4 km race in 14:22 almost a minute ahead of Liam Nichols (PA), Will Whipkey (PA), and Ace Irwin (St. Johnsbury).

Fifty-five middle schoolers lined up for the mass start 4 km race with CA’s Oryon Hart skiing away from the pack in 12:38 with Paul Slesar (Stowe) and Henry Young (PA) coming in next. Jin Ramsay (All Saints Catholic Academy) was 6th along with Stig Linck 9 (CA), Nora Demaine 13 (Glover with CA), James Reynolds 17 (CA), and Stella Cusack 24 (CA).

Craftsbury’s Jake Brown Anchors U.S. to 5th in Biathlon World Championship Relay

NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic – Jake Brown, a St. Paul, Minn., native who has been based in Craftsbury for the past seven or so years with the Green Racing Project (GRP), had a day he will not soon forget. He and U.S. biathalon teammates, Vincent Bonacci, Sean Doherty, and Campbell Wright finished 5th among 24 nations: the U.S. team’s best-ever World Championship or Olympic Men’s Relay result in history. They were only 1:22 behind the winners from Sweden.

Norway out-sprinted France for the silver, and Germany was fourth. The Americans sat in 10th after the first two legs, and then Wright skied the 4th fastest third round and used only one spare (translation – one shot short of hitting all his 10 targets and no penalty loops to ski) to tag off to Brown in 6th place. Brown struggled with sickness last year and his shooting has been off this year, but the 31-year old veteran hit all his prone targets (lying down while shooting) and skied into his final shooting (standing) in 5th place. He used two spares and maintained the U.S. 5th position all the way to the finish.

Craftsbury Skiers Race at History Making Minneapolis World Cup

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Cross Country Skiing World Cup came to Minnesota last weekend for the first World Cup races in the United States in 23 years.

With the U.S. and Canada playing host, several extras slots opened up for these teams, and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project and Craftsbury Ski Club (CSC) filled several of them. Alex Lawson, Margie Freed, and Michaela Keller-Miller skied in the sprint and distance races along with CSC skier Jack Young, currently a junior at Colby College.

Over 20,000 fans lined the course at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

Jack Young had the top finish among the Craftsbury contingent in the sprint qualifier placing 33rd and just missing the quarterfinal heats by 0.7 seconds. He finished just behind Erik Valnes of Sweden, the current sprint leader on the World Cup. Freed and Keller-Miller finished 50 and 51 in probably the toughest fields they have ever skied with. Four U.S. men qualified for the 30-person quarterfinals but none made it to the semis.

The women’s final was the highlight of the day with U.S. skier and hometown hero, Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), skiing to 4th place among the all-stars of skiing right now: Jonna Sundling, Linn Svahn, and Emma Ribom of Sweden, Kristine Stavaas Skistad of Norway, and Victoria Carl of Germany. Diggins is currently ranked first in overall World Cup standings with Rosie Brennan in 5th.

The second day of racing in Minneapolis involved a 10 km individual freestyle race, where skiers headed out at 30 second intervals. It is a true test of individual skiing ability as each athlete can ski his or her own race without being carried along in a mass start and waiting to make a move at the end. Athletes need to go hard throughout the race, but not so hard that they “blow-up.”

U.S. skier, Gus Schumacher (Alaska) paced it perfectly to take his first World Cup win to chants of U.S.A. as he topped three Norwegians. Not since Bill Koch in 1983 has a U.S. male skier won a world cup distance race. Schumacher went out 35th of 70 skiers, but the top 15 ranked skiers started 38th-70th. William Poromaa (SWE-bib 42)) came across eight seconds behind Schumacher’s time of 20:52. British skier Andrew Musgrave (bib 46) came in 10 seconds behind, Calle Halfvarsson (SWE bib 54) 13 seconds back, and then world cup distance leader Harald Ostberg Amundsen (NOR – bib 56) crossed the line 4.4 seconds off Schumacher’s mark. It was then that the Schumacher, the U.S. team, and 20,000 cheering fans realized something special was going on. The last skier to have a chance to catch Schumacher, Paal Golberg (SWE) in bib 70, was only a few seconds behind Gus’s split at 8.8 km. Everyone waited for Golberg to ski his last kilometer to the finish. 20:58 (5.8 seconds behind). History was made.

If the U.S. was to have a win, everyone thought it would come from Jessie Diggins in the next race of the day. She eked out a 3rd place finish and a podium spot behind two very fast Swedish skiers, Jonna Sundling and Frida Karlson. She did not disappoint. Jessie was the primary driver in bringing a World Cup back to the U.S. And two Craftsbury skiers were part of this amazing event with Margie Freed placing 41st and Alex Lawson 50th. They will have some stories to tell. Margie received some extra cheering as her hometown is Apple Valley, only 20 minutes to the south of the race.

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