Wolverines set pace in Nordic race
Special to the Sun
Family dominance. Names such as Joffe, Gelso and Goodpaster are in the annals of school Nordic team racing, where older siblings dominate the high school division, while their younger brother or sister are clearly the fastest for the middle school.
This year, it is the Kennedy family giving notice that, with Russell in the high school boys division and Allene racing for the middle school girls, they are fully prepared to put their names in the history books with the others.
CNISSF school-league racing returned to Royal Gorge this past Friday after a seven-year break, with athletes, coaches and spectators alike being treated to spectacular conditions for this Freestyle (Skate) event ” the first individual points race of the school season.
With beautiful blue skies and great snow conditions, racing was fast and furious over the rolling course at Royal Gorge’s Summit Station trails.
In the high school boys division, it was Kennedy of Truckee High skiing away from the crowd in impressive fashion, hardly challenged in posting a win over the 4-kilometer course in 11 minutes and 46 seconds, close to a minute in front of his nearest competitors.
After Kennedy, however, the racing was down to the wire in the varsity boys, with the next eight spots separated by less than 15 seconds. Managing to eke out a close second place was Tom McElravey of North Tahoe, barely 2 seconds in front of teammate Miles Heapes.
Most importantly, the team breakdown over the top 10 skiers showed no clear dominance after the top spot, and it’s obvious that the varsity boys team school points race will be hard-fought over the season. Austin Meng of Truckee High was the top “Open” (formerly JV) finisher for the day.
It was a different story in the high school girls varsity race.
Dayna Stimson of Mammoth High, Bernie Nelson of Truckee and her teammate, Annika Taylor, all fought for position throughout the two-lap course, with three more Truckee girls hot on their tail.
Nelson used a strong final surge to pass Stimson before the finish, finishing in a time of 13 minutes and 10 seconds. Six seconds back was last year’s State Champion Stimson (13:16), with Taylor taking the bronze with a time of 13:33. Truckee dominated the varsity girls points, with six out of the top 10 finishers. Michelle Cahill of North Tahoe barely edged out Truckee’s Annika Deurlington at the finish line to take the Open Division.
It was a different Kennedy in the Middle School race ” younger sister Allene ” who dominated the girls division. Alder Creek’s Kennedy used a strong start and then put it in cruise control to take the win over Mammoth Middle School racer Laurel Fiddler. Shannon Ondry of ACMS put in a strong sprint to the finish to take the third spot.
For the boys, it was Alex Kopytko of ACMS who bided his time until finding an opening on the narrow trails, and then skied strong to the finish for the top spot. Alex Picken of Mammoth managed second, with Patrick McElravey of North Tahoe taking third.
In all, Alder Creek managed to take six out of the top 10 boys places, and an amazing eight out of the top 10 girls to show both the speed and depth of their program.
For complete results and schedule, go to http://www.farwestnordic.org.
The CNISSF Race Series resumes Friday with the spectator-friendly Truckee Sprints at the school’s Surprise Stadium.
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