This article first appeared in the January 26th, 2012 edition of the Vermont Standard.
By David Miles
After a lack of snow hindered the early season schedule, the Woodstock Nordic ski teams are finally getting down to the business of competitive racing, with several events dotting the schedule last week. Chief among them was the Mountain Top Classic in Rutland, which saw the boys’ team triumph in a five-team field (that also included a smattering of independent racers).
The meet was held in a driving rain, “typical for this season” which has been full of weather challenges, according to Coach Nick Mahood. Even with the adverse conditions, Woodstock received very strong races from seniors Jordan Fields and Jeff Tucker who finished first and third respectively. Meanwhile 9th grader Zane Fields came home in 11th, a performance Mahood termed “stellar” for a freshman, and Josh Bassette was right behind him with a solid 12th place, allowing the Wasps to triumph, with Mt. Anthony, Brattleboro and Middlebury next in line.
Other good finishes for Woodstock were Harry Linowski in 13th, Graham Melville in 19th, and brothers Campbell and Griffin Boswell in 22nd and 24th respectively.
Because the meet came in the middle of the WUHS exam week, several skiers were unable to compete, including the majority of the girls’ team. Christy Harris was the lone Wasp female on the course and she skied very well, placing 6th for Woodstock.
On Friday night some of the skiers headed over to Jericho for the MMU Pursuit at Mt. Mansfield. Again just one girl competed, Elizabeth Bassette, who skied a “fantastic race,” as Mahood termed it, finishing 12th overall (and 3rd among the Division II racers).
The boys, however, ran into a bit of bad luck in Jericho. With Fields, Tucker and Bassette racing close together, as always, Fields ripped a binding that sent him sprawling. Not only did he go down, unable to finish the race, but he also took his two teammates with him. But they recovered to finish 4th (Bassette) and 5th (Tucker) overall and they led the D-II field with these results. Linowski came home in 28th, a solid finish for him among that level of competition, according to Mahood.
The following days more of the girls’ team competed in a paintball biathlon back at Mountain Top. Although this event was more fun-oriented and somewhat less serious, considering the lack of early season competition it was good for the girls to get in some racing. Harris, Katherine Tucker, Finn McFarland and Anna Ramsey all skied well for Woodstock.
In addition Woodstock had six Middle School girls competing for the first time all season and their results were very impressive. Carmen Bango wound up in second place with Lauren Kajia in 4th and Kristin Ramsey in 5th. Also finishing in the Top Ten for Woodstock were Ella Brooks, Rosalie Geiger and Ann Tracey.
Not that the boys are not skiing well (they are!), but Mahood is particularly enthused with the girls’ efforts thus far this season. They are exceeding his expectations and he is eager for them to get more competition through the next few weeks.
That competition will begin, weather depending, tomorrow with the Viking Free Style event in the evening down in Londonderry.