Nordic team mammoth at Classic Technique race
It was a chilly Friday morning as we set up the array of wax tables and benches at the trailhead of Tamarack Lodge in Mammoth Lakes, in preparation for the first Classic Technique Nordic race of the CNISSF season on Jan. 23.
On our early morning drive down the eastern Sierra, coaches amused themselves by taking bets on how cold the temperatures would be upon our arrival. Ten degrees above zero was the winning answer, and although that makes for easy grip waxing, it doesn’t do much to warm a coach’s hands and feet while applying the wax to 40 pairs of skis.
Luckily for the racers, by starting time it had warmed up to a comfortable, cool temperature. Unfortunately for the waxers, this meant keeping up with the changing conditions, and making sure skiers had enough grip to cover the 3K course (twice around for the High School racers, once for the Middle Schoolers).
Once again, the Truckee racers (and their coaches) were up to the challenge, taking first in each of the six individual racing categories, and winning all but one of the team points races.
While two of the top boys division racers, Joaquin Goodpaster of Truckee and Dominic Henriques of Tahoe City, were traveling with the US Ski Team in Estonia to participate in the Scandinavian Junior Cup in Europe, Truckee skiers were able to win both of the varsity races in Mammoth.
Maisha Goodpaster, winner of the first freestyle-skate race in Kirkwood, repeated her triumph in Mammoth. Starting out in a wave-start 30 seconds behind rival Kara LaPoint of Truckee, Goodpaster was able to catch LaPoint on her second lap, finishing with a time of 24 minutes and 4 seconds on the 6K course.
“I knew I was having a good race when I had Kara in my sights on the second lap,” Goodpaster said. “I was able to catch up to her until she sped up late in the race, but by then I had made up enough ground to win.”
LaPoint (24:29.3) was able to hold on to take second by a tiny margin of only half a second over third place finisher Whitney Prosor of Truckee (24:29.8).
In the boys’ varsity division, Matt Gelso showed, even slowed down by sickness, he’s still the one to beat in a classic race. Gelso (18:56), last year’s state champion, was able to win by over two minutes over his nearest rival, Nick Bozzio of North Tahoe (21:57).
“I felt OK on the first half of the course, but I really felt like I slowed down a lot on the back loop,” Gelso said. “I guess I still had enough to win today, even though I didn’t feel too well.
Truckee racer Alex Taylor took third place honors with a time of 22:17.
In the junior varsity divisions, Truckee once again showed their depth, taking the top six places in the boys and five out of the top six in the girls. The fastest JV time was posted by Ben Kantz (23:40), followed by Tyler Wright (23:41) and Ben VanBlarigan (25:13). Jenny VanBlarigan was the top JV girl (27:30) by a clear margin, with Katy Jones of Truckee second (29:26) and Dani Griffo of North Tahoe third (29:42).
The Middle School girls had the closest race, with Bernie Nelson of Sierra Mountain Middle once again taking the top spot with a time of 12 minutes and 34 seconds. Rival Dayna Stimson of Mammoth was second (13:05), and Erika Cornell of Sierra Mountain showed her classic skills by taking third place (13:24).
In the boys’ division, Daniel Gelso of Sierra Mountain again showed his dominance by easily taking the top honors with a time of 11:35, winning by more than a minute over his nearest rival. Second place was hotly contested, with a trio of skiers trading leads throughout the race in a close battle. Jordan Nadell of Sierra Mountain (12:44) came out ahead at the end, putting on a finish sprint to win over T.J. Christiana of Mammoth (12:49), who nipped Will Prosor of Sierra Mountain at the finish line.
This week finds the CNISSF schedule at North Tahoe on Friday for a no-points, two-person freestyle relay event, with the major race of the weekend for the juniors being the final Junior Olympics points qualifier classic race on Sunday at Tahoe Cross Country.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.