Nordic racers hit home stretch |

Nordic racers hit home stretch

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily Vail Mountain's Rob Fitz, left, races Saturday in a classic Nordic contest at MIddle Park.

In the absence of some top club Nordic skiers, the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail kids turned Saturdays classic high school race at Middle Park into an intrasquad scrimmage.On the boys side, SSCV club skiers, which include Vail Mountain and Battle Mountain athletes, took the top five spots.Our whole plan was to ski as a group and hold down the top five spots, said Battle Mountains Conor Wallace, who took second, just three seconds behind winner Sean Woods, of Vail Mountain. It was pretty cool because we all skied up the first hill, looked behind and nobody was there.Wallace was neck-and-neck with Woods until he went into some powder on a downhill section and lost his speed.Sean put a gap on me, and I spent the rest of the race chasing him down, Wallace said.Vail Mountains Tony Ryerson was third, with teammates Wes Batts and Chris Woods and fourth and fifth, respectively.We were missing a couple of Aspen and Summit County kids, but its still pretty impressive when your boys go one through five and the fifth-place guy finishes 37 seconds ahead of the next-closest finisher, SSCV coach Dan Weiland said.Sean Woods, the clear front-runner for the mens Skimeister title, has had a breakout Nordic season.Hes starting to figure it all out, Weiland said of the sophomore. The nice part is hes very unassuming.Vail Mountains Robert Fitz was 13th, while Eagle Valleys Ethan Smith led his squad in 19th, followed by teammates James McGoodwin (23rd), Nick Brink (26th) and Sage Smith (27th). Vail Christians Ryan Vlaar was 25th, one spot ahead of teammate Ian Hamina. Battle Mountains Charles Gladtisch was 31st. On the girls side, Vail Mountains Karlie Moore edged out Vail Christians Jessica Linder by one second to pick up her second classical win in three races.It was the first race I was feeling 100 percent, said Moore, who has been battling an injured back. Jess was in the front of her line (at the start), and I was at the front of my line. I led for the first five minutes, then she led to the top of a hill and we switched off. I knew we were ahead of everyone, and it was just a (race) to the finish.Vail Mountains Kaitlin Zdechlik was third, while freshman teammate Lauren Zdechlik was ninth. Vail Christians Lettie Fickling was 13th.Ali Gulick led the way for the Eagle Valley in 24th, while Battle Mountains Jamie Lee Roberts, the current Skimeister leader, was 28th.

At Tuesdays skate race in Nederland, Vail Christians Hamina showed hes a man of his word.I went out and told everyone I was going to do really well, so I felt like I had to, Hamina said. I went as hard as my body would let me.Hamina, the first-year Nordic skier, took fourth and was three seconds off the podium.I feel like I got to a point where I found my bodys limits, and Im comfortable with going all the way.Eagle Valleys Ethan Smith edged out his brother Sage by less than a second to take ninth, while James McGoodwin was 13th, giving the Devils a third-place finish.We didnt have a lot of the club kids there, so we did well, Eagle Valley coach Glen Ewing said. It shows what can be done when we dont have to compete against eight-month skiers.Vlaar was 17th for the Saints, one spot ahead of the Devils Brink. Harrison Huntoon was the top Battle Mountain racer, in 32nd.On the girls side, Vail Mountains Amelia Ortiz cracked the top 10 for the fist time, landing in ninth.It was a good effort for her, Weiland said. As a first-year skier, shes going against girls with two years under their belts. It was a hard adjustment for her coming from running cross country to skiing, which requires a lot of patience and focusing on technique.Roberts was 15th with Gulick 16th. Battle Mountains Erin Barker (22nd), Annouk Guilmineau (24th) and Cassidy Rosen (25th) were in the top half of the girls draw.Club racers are in Aspen today for a mass-start classic junior national qualifier and again on Saturday for a skate.

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