Prep notebook: skiers compete in Michigan and Denver East downs Battle Mountain in hockey |

Prep notebook: skiers compete in Michigan and Denver East downs Battle Mountain in hockey

Several local Nordic skiers are way up north competing at the U.S. Senior National Championships in Houghton, Michigan, this week. Monday’s first day of four competitions — a 10-kilometer interval start freestyle — saw 182 competitors, a mixed field of Olympians and professionals, U23, U20, U18 and U16 athletes, sent out in 30-second intervals to race the two-lap course.

The women’s podium was swept by U.S. Ski Team athletes. Former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete Hailey Swirbul took the win in 27 minutes, 32.5 seconds, and was followed by fellow 2022 Olympian Novie McCabe (27:51.0) and University of Utah All-American Sydney Palmer-Leger (28:01.2).

Leadville’s Nina Schamberger (29:17.3), racing for Summit Nordic Ski Club, was the first U18 finisher, and placed ninth overall, sliding notably in front of Lauren Jortberg, who spent the last month racing on the World Cup and trains with Vermont’s SMS T2, the club team of Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins. Schamberger looked comfortable on the grinding 5.2-kilometer course, able to express her aerobic strength from a lifetime of training at altitude. The long, gradual uphill that ended each lap had every athlete collapsing into the finish line, but the 156-meters of climb per loop seemed to affect the area-raised athletes less.

Current and former Ski and Snowboard Club Vail skiers posted stellar finishes, with U18 athletes mixing it up and even beating many NCAA DI skiers. On the girls side, former U.S. junior national champion Haley Brewster (29:53.2), now skiing for the University of Vermont, was 20th overall and the top U20 athlete. Rose Horning (31:00.7) moved up from 57th to 44th overall after the first lap, nabbing the fourth-place U18 position and Emma Reeder (31:08.6), now skiing for Dartmouth College, was four places back in 48th overall, sixth for U20. Emma Barsness (32:56.1), Adele Horning (33:04.0), Isabel Glackin (33:42.7), Keely Hendricks (33:45.0), Cassidy Wright (34:22.2) and Gracen Kennedy (34:45.9) also competed for SSCV.

On the boys’ side, John Hagenbuch took the U.S. title in 25:00.3, followed closely by former World Cup veteran David Norris (25:02.8), who now coaches for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. SSCV’s Will Bentley (27:42.2) turned in an impressive performance, finishing as the second-best U16 and placing 71st overall in the field of 254 athletes. Bentley came through the line in front of several DI skiers from Bates, Williams, Colby, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Dartmouth and the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Reiner Schmidt (29:27.2) placed 148th overall for SSCV as well.

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The action continues in Michigan with classic sprints on Wednesday, a mass start 20-kilometer classic on Friday, and a skate sprint on Saturday.

Denver East defeats Battle Mountain hockey

Denver East improved to 4-1 on the year by defeating Battle Mountain 7-0 on Tuesday at Dobson Arena. The Angels, ranked No. 3 in 5A as of the latest polls, scored three first-period goals to run away with the road victory.

The loss bumps the Huskies down to 1-3 on the year. Battle Mountain plays at Crested Butte on Friday at 6 p.m. and won’t return to Dobson until a Jan. 20 matchup against Summit.

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