Nordic teams shine on home snow |

Nordic teams shine on home snow

That’s got to be the consensus for the Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain School Nordic teams after Friday’s freestyle at the Vail Nordic Center.

On the track that will host the state freestyle meet in late February, the locals put up a myriad of great performances including breakout finishes from the Eagle Valley girls team, the VMS boys team not to mention individuals like Battle Mountain’s Meghan Meehan, Maddie McCaulley and VMS’ Haleigh Armstrong.

The rundown on the proceedings at the Vail Nordic Center:

n One quote from Devils coach Glen Ewing says it all about the Eagle Valley girls: “The big thing is that we used to strive to get on the first page of the results. We had seven on the first page today and four in the top 17. Without a doubt, it was the best performance we’ve ever had for the Eagle Valley girls team.”

n Kim Smith, the two-time defending 3A state champ in the 800 meters come spring, is showing that she is equally adept on the Nordic track. She finished ninth with a time of 27 minutes, 29 seconds. Right behind her was Audrey Powell (12th, 27:48), Jill Ewing (16th, 28:40) and Katie Wick (17th, 28:45).

n There’s a new word in the VMS lexicon. It’s “Haleigh-esque,” meaning a first-year Nordic skier with an innate talent for the sport. That’s how Gore Rangers’ coach Dan Weiland described Sylvan Ellefson, who led VMS with an 11th-place finish in 21:55.

n Ellefson was just one in a slew of Gore Rangers who put up state times – Duncan Robinson (11th), Josh Smith (16th), Taylor Sheldon (18th) and Brad Bingham (20th).

n Coach-speak: “It’s been good that we have all those guys competing against each other in practice. They train hard and they’re friendly, but they want to beat each other. It’s also the result of having an all-knowing coach.”

n Whatever, Danny.

n Getting back to things Haleigh-esque, Haleigh Armstrong is fast showing that her Skimeister last year was no coincidence. The VMS sophomore tore up the hills on the way to second place with a time of 23:40. Courtney Robinson logged in at 28:35, good for 14th. Jenny Thorne rounded out VMS’ scorers in 32nd.

n Meanwhile, the Huskies girls team was also having a fantastic day. Bette Midler is known as “The Divine Ms. M,” so how about “The Divine Double M’s” – Meghan Meehan and Maddie McCaulley. Meehan took fifth with a time of 27:31, while McCaulley made it two Huskies in the top 10 with a 10th-place finish. Courtney Davis was the Huskies third scorer.

n From Huskies coach Mia Stockdale: “I’m very pleased, especially with Meghan and Maddie. And the thing is I think they can go faster.”

n Yikes.

n Moving back to the boys, the Devils had a trio with state times. With the state cut at 38th place, Dan Lewis (26th, 23:05), Everet Minett (35th, 24:05) and James Ewing (37th, 24:37) can show off their credentials.

n For the Huskies boys, Grant Stevenson continues to carry the banner. Presumably clad in a Hawaiian shirt, the sophomore finished 25th with a time of 23:05, two-tenths of a second ahead of Lewis. Andy Given and Corey Wilson also put up points for the Huskies.

n Next stop for Nordic: Eldora, Saturday, Jan. 25.

n Finally, many thanks to the Vail Recreation District for its help with the race as well as to the volunteers, coaches and parents.

n Finally, part II: Alpine hits the hill today at Golden Peak for a slalom.

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at

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