Ski Report, Sports

Craftsbury Academy’s Anika Leahy Skis to 3rd and 4th at Vermont State High School Championships

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photo by Eric Hanson
Silas Hunt (38) of Craftsbury Academy catches Zeb Whitlock (39) of Lamoille Union at the top of the steep Chip Hill after the 1st of two laps. Hunt had started 15 seconds behind Whitlock.

Day one: Classic Races at Rikert Touring Center, Ripton, February 27. Under sunny skies and temperatures approaching 60 F, high school skiers from across the state sloshed and pushed their way through snow, ice, and mud in the 5 km individual start race in the morning followed by team relays in the afternoon.

Craftsbury Academy’s (CA) Anika Leahy found the right mix of klister (for kick) and poling power to stride her way to the podium finishing 3rd (21:12) in the Division 2 race behind Middlebury skiers Beth McIntosh (20:26) and Ava Schneider. Skiers started 15 seconds apart.

In the Division 1 race, Gillian Fairfax of Burlington HS won in 20:56. Ava Purdy of Wheelock and skiing for St. Johnsbury had her first top 20 of her career placing 15th in 24:56. For the boys, Uva Quinn of Woodstock won the D2 race in 19:07. CA’s Charlie Kehler made his way up to 9th (20:51), Max Demaine was 20th (Lake Region), Silas Hunt placed 22nd (CA), and Xavier Chapdelaine 52nd (Lake Region). In D1, Luke Rizio (Mount Anthony Union-MAU) continued his dominance winning the race for the 3rd year in a row in 18:40.


photo by Eric Hanson
Ava Purdy (289) of St. Johnsbury Academy cruises along in the 5 km individual race. Purdy is from Wheelock.

In the classic relay Middlebury’s (D2) four person girls team skied to first overall in 46:33, CVU (D1) 2nd 49:12, and Burlington (D1) 49:20. For scoring, D1 and D2 teams are separated. On the boys’ side, Woodstock (D2) took the win in 37:23 followed by Mount Mansfield Union-MMU (D1) 38:15, and MAU (D1) 38:43.

Day two: Freestyle Races at Craftsbury, March 1. Temperatures plummeted and turned all that slushy snow and puddles to ice, but with a full day of cold weather, the crew at Crafsbury turned it all to a skiable loose granular for Friday’s races.

The boys went off first in the morning with James Underwood (Woodstock) winning the D2 race in a time of 12:01 with Sage Grossi (Montpelier) finishing less than one second behind. Charlie Kehler (CA) found himself in 9th place again, Silas Hunt (CA) moved up to 18th, Max Demaine 30th (Lake Region), and Xavier Chapdelain 54th (Lake Region). D1’s Luke Rizio (MAU) had the fastest time of the day in 11:52.

In the girls’ D2 race, the Middlebury skiers showed their stuff with Mary Harrington winning in 13:50 and Beth McIntosh five seconds back. Anika Leahy (CA) placed 4th only three seconds ahead of Middlebury’s Ava Schneider. In D1, MMU’s Seven Bowen placed first in 14:58.


photo by Eric Hanson
Craftsbury Academy’s Anika Leahy maintains her speed at the bottom of a downhill in the freestyle race. Leahy would place 4th in Division 2.

The Woodstock boys (D2) showed their depth by having the fastest 4-person relay time in 25:21, and MMU (25:52) held off MAU (26:01) in the D1 category. For the girls, Middlebury’s girls (D2) skied the 4 lap course in 29:48, MMU (D1) 30:42, and Montpelier (D2) 31:05.

After adding up all four races over the two-day event, MMU (72) outpaced MAU (98) for the boy’s D1 title. St. Johnsbury was 6th. The lower the score, the higher up in the rankings. In the D2 race, Woodstock posted a solid win (58) ahead of Montpelier (102). In D1 girls, CVU (95) edged out MMU (111), and St. Johnsbury was 3rd. In D2, the Middlebury ladies had 61 points ahead of Montpelier (122). Craftsbury and Lake Region did not have full 4-person teams in either the boys or girls races to field a scoring team.

Bill Koch Ski Festival Goes On

RIPTON – Despite poor snow conditions, that did not stop hundreds of first- to eighth-graders from participating in the annual Northeast Bill Koch Ski Festival at the Rikert Touring Center this past weekend. There were races and relays, parades and games, and adventure hunts and lots of hot chocolate. Many Craftsbury Ski Club (CSC) members joined the fun. Well over 150 youth skiers have been participating in one- to three-day per week after-school and weekend skiing programs at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, and the BKL Festival is a culminating event of the year.


photo by Eric Hanson
Max Demaine (1) of Lake Region is the first skier on course at the state high school championships.

Skiers from New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont all gather for the two-day event (and all their parents). Local skiers included Scarlett Pelland, Winter Pelland, Fern Hammond, Willa Nunnery, and Ruthie Podolin in the grades one to grade two division. In the third-and fourth-grade group, there were Bea Johnson, Scarlett Podolin, Emerson McCarthy, Phoebe Bunten, Rue Jacobs, Samuel Koschak, Asher Jacobs, and Teddy Harvey. In the fifth- to sixth- grade, skiers included Eleanor Hammond, Eliza Bakeman, Theodora Veve, Miles Brooks, Hollis Allen, and Finn Nunnery. And finally in the seventh- to eighth-grade division, CSC skiers included Eliza Bunten, Phoebe Bakeman, Ada Allen, Althea Veve, Isaac Nadzam, James Kehler, and Elliott Stewart.

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