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Nelson, Gelso leave middle school racers in snow dust

Mark Nadell, Special to the Sun

On a day when spectating cross country ski racing was at its finest, the middle school state competition did not lack in excitement.

In contrast to the high school event, the middle school champions were determined based on a traditional Freestyle/Skate race.

For many of the competitors, simply participating in the state championships was a daunting test, and just racing hard and finishing was the reward. For the faster competitors, gaining a medal around the neck as one of the top 15 finishers was the goal of the day, and there was a fierce race in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions for the “precious metal.”

As has been the case throughout the season, first place for the girls was a two-person race between Bernie Nelson of Sierra Mountain Middle School and Dayna Stimson of Mammoth Middle School. And, true to form, Nelson came out on top for the fifth time this year, posting a blazing-fast time of 12 minutes and 56 seconds, leaving no doubt as to who was the fastest middle school female racer in 2003-2004.

Stimson’s second place time was 13:30. Both Nelson and Stimson will be on their way next week to compete in the Junior Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y, the only two J3 (13-year-old) skiers to represent Far West Nordic this year. Sierra Mountain’s Sophie Leonord (14:04) finished third.

The boys’ competition lacked drama only in the race for first place, with Daniel Gelso dominating both the league races and the state championship, winning by over a minute with a time of 12 minutes and 24 seconds. Second place, however, was up for grabs throughout the race, with five competitors vying for the silver medal. In the end, it was Jordan Nadell of Sierra Mountain (13:30.1) coming out ahead by outsprinting teammates Will Prosor (13:30.6) and Russell Kennedy (13:31.3) to the line in an extremely exciting finish.

In addition, Truckee’s Sierra Mountain boys reprised their league title by dominating the state championships’ team competition, placing the top four finishers and six out of the top 10. Second place went to Mammoth, with North Tahoe rounding out the top three.

In the girls’ division, Mammoth avenged its down-to-the-wire second place in league by nipping Sierra Mountain for the girls’ state championship team competition title.

Mark Nadell is the Far West Nordic Administrator.


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