Nordic skiers race well at Vail Classic |

Nordic skiers race well at Vail Classic

Ian Cropp
VMS Armstrong, Blake PU 2-4

VAIL – While there was only one way to get from the start to the finish in Saturday’s Vail Classic Nordic race, it was a different journey for a lot of the local athletes.The girls’ top-local finisher, Vail Christian’s Molly McGee (sixth place) said she had one of her better races, and seemed to be getting geared up for next weekend’s state meet.”I was working on getting all the technique down,” McGee said, noting she double-poled for about 70 percent of the race.Elsie Macsata of Vail Mountain finished two spots behind McGee, despite her best initial efforts to take it easy.”Today was like a slack-off day, but I said, ‘You know what, I’m going for it,'” Macsata said.Right behind Macsata was teammate Kaitlin Zdechlik in ninth place, while Janelle Kibler-Silengo place 17th.On the boys’ side, Eagle Valley’s Kyle Simonett found out that sometimes you need to lose before you can win.Friday, Simonett wrestled classmate and Eagle Valley wrestling team member Will Britt in a faux match for a television show at Eagle Valley. Dressed in his Nordic suit and donning a gas mask left over from Halloween, Simonett used the stage name “The Exterminator.” Unfortunately, “The Exterminator” lost to “Billy Bob Savage,” but fared a bit better on Saturday, earning his best finish of the year in ninth place.

Like most skiers, Simonett benefited a bit from skiing on his home course.”We skied some scenarios this week because we didn’t know what the course would be like, and (the practice) really helped out,” Simonett said.As did some motivation provided by his mom, who promised to buy him a massage with a top-10 finish.Engineer at heartLike he promised on Friday, Vail Mountain’s Chris Woods raced despite a broken thumb and torn ligament.Woods tapped his a pink cast that covered his thumb and a bit of his hand to his arm, and then duct-taped his pole shaft to his cast.”It felt really good because my cast wasn’t moving at all and my thumb didn’t hurt when I pushed,” Woods said.With a 12th-place finish Saturday, Woods led his team, and also helped his pursuit of the Skimeister title.

So can we also expect Woods to pursue an engineering career after his recent equipment adjustments?”Maybe,” Woods said.Finishing behind Woods were teammates Tony Ryerson in 15th and James Batts in 19th.The Devils stacked six racers in the top 30, with Sage Smith leading the charge in 24th place, ahead of his brother Ethan, who finished 27th.”I figured I’d let him beat me in one of the races,” Ethan Smith said. “In state, he’s going down, though.”Regardless of what happens next weekend at state, the Smith brothers can continue the battle on the golf course, where Eagle Valley Nordic and golf coach Glen Ewing can judge who is better.Rounding out the top 30 (the state qualifier cutoff) for the Devils were James McGoodwin in 26th, Andy Wentzel in 29th and Nick Brink in 30th place.”I hadn’t qualified yet, so this was my last chance,” Brink said.Ewing was happy to squeeze Brink in to state.

“We had waxed him with a couple pairs of skis to make sure he had the fastest wax of the day,” Ewing said. “He worked his butt off.”Sun and shadeA week of heavy snowfall, a shining sun and some shade made for an interesting course Saturday.It also made applying wax a tedious task. “Coach Ewing just kept trying different waxes to see what stuck the most. We went through about nine waxes or so,” said Eagle Valley’s Ali Gulick, who finished in 20th place.Much like teamamte Simonett, Gulick used the familiar terrain to her advantage.”I knew where I could rest and where I couldn’t,” Gulick said.Battle Mountain’s Jane Lettovska, who finished in 23rd, two places behind teammate Whitney Allard, didn’t have much time to worry about her wax.

“I was more concerned with being in the middle of the course, getting attacked from a girl behind me,” Lettovska said.Lettovska had two top-30 finishes this weekend, as she placed 17th in Friday’s alpine slalom at Golden Peak.The rest of the Huskies’ squad finished as such: Sammy McCoy, 30th; Julia Schorr, 34th; Morgan Wallace, 35th; Julia Burnett, 37th and Joslyn Funez, 44th.Vail Christian’s other racer for the day, Lettie Fickling, placed 31st, while Eagle Valley’s other racer on the girls side, Caitlin Yarger , was 40th.Other boys finishers were Ben Rogers (Eagle Valley, 42nd), Harrison Huntoon (Battle Mountain, 38th), Tyler Cole (Battle Mountain, 39th) and Charlie Coats (Battle Mountain, 50th).This weekend, the teams will be in Winter Park for the state meet.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or, Colorado

Support Local Journalism