Vail Mountain girls dominate Nordic duathlon
BRECKENRIDGE – Vail Mountain School’s girls Nordic team dominated Saturday’s duathlon to win the combination skate/classic event.
The duathlon is a little like NASCAR without the yee-haw factor. Skiers take a 3K loop on classic Nordic skis, then release their inner NASCAR driver and jump in for a pit stop to change into their skate gear for another 3K loop.
There were 13 pit spaces – 20-feet by 10-feet – and coaches were allowed to set out four or five sets of their skiers’ skate gear so the athletes could get at it easily, then yank the classic gear so it wasn’t in the way when other skiers rolled in. But coaches were not allowed to help their skiers change gear.
It’s a little like stacking up tires and fuel for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., then making them pump their own gas.
Most years, it’s run with a lunch break between the classic and skate races, but not this year.
This year, they went all NASCAR on everyone and kept both the clock and the skiers moving, with a quick pit stop and back out they went.
“It’s three races within a race,” explained Eagle Valley coach Sean Kerrigan. “Your time in both the classic and the skate both count for state qualification. Then the combined time determines the day’s overall winner.”
In the classic, the VMS women took five of the top 10 places with Katie Scruggs the winner. In the skate, Scruggs again led VMS with a third overall, mere seconds ahead of teammate Amelia Ortiz.
In fact, the VMS women took five of the top 10 in skating with Scruggs, Ortiz, Sally Ryerson, Hannah Hardenbergh and Eva Spaeh in the top 10, and Bridget Moffet finishing 19th.
On the boys side, Battle Mountain’s Christian Shanley and Alexei Horn were second and seventh respectively in the classic. Vail Mountain School’s Cal Deline was fourth and independent Christian Kloser was ninth.
Cal was third in the skate and third overall. Shanley was fourth and Horn cracked the top to with a ninth place overall finish.
Eagle Valley qualified five boys for next month’s state meet. Casey Kerrigan, Caleb Krueger, Ben Muehlethaler, Wyatt Smith and Robbie Clark all qualified for the skate and classic events.
For the Eagle Valley girls, Nikki Cunning and Megan Muehlethaler both qualified for the state meet.