With the rain and warm temps forecasted for Tuesday, BKL decided to scrap practice at the Range and went climbing at Metrorocks instead. We had a great turn-out and a great time! Turns out that a lot of our kids really enjoy the challenge of climbing! The Tic Tac Toe wall as a favorite as were the self-belays and the slack line.
Yes, it was quite a weekend and the Eastern Mass BKL League put on quite a Festival for all of us New England skiers. They pulled off some amazing snow! When we arrived on Friday to preview the course, we were skiing on very dirty, melting, icy granular snow surrounded by a brown, dead-grass golf course. “How will this hold up to 400 skiers?” I wondered. Driving in the next morning, the first thing I noticed was that the course actually looked white. They had made more snow overnight and spread a layer over the entire course. Conditions were fast and fun! On top of that, they got about 6 inches of fresh snow the next night. I don’t know how they did it, but they must have an “in” with the snow gods because the same thing happened the last time they hosted the Festival (except that time it was even more snow)! Pretty amazing and lucky!
Saturday: Skate Relay and Skate Sprint
After setting up our base camp, distributing race bibs to all the kids and doing a little structure to make our skis go faster, it was time for the relays. In the 1/2 mixed race, Ryley Morigeau teamed up with Frost Mt’s Jorgen Pirrung and brought home second! Next was the 3/4 girls race, where Kate Carlson and Pippa Diller put the pedal to the metal and also came in second! Tessa Diller teamed up with Violet Anderson and finished in eighth!
In the boys 3/4 race, Cole Shullenberger teamed up with Matt Macintosh and Lincoln Miller. Cole put on a good lead in the first leg and then tagged off to Matt and Lincoln. Matt is a little guy, but skied like a whirling dervish and the team came in first! Great job boys!
Next was the girls’ 5/6 race. What an exciting race! Virginia Cobb led out the pack all the way to the tag-off, but the other teams were not far behind. Julia Thurston kept up a blistering pace but got caught by Putney’s Caroline Tarmy and then got out-sprinted by Ford Sayer’s Sarah Gluck in the final ten feet of the course! So close! It was heartbreaking for Julia, but these six girls from MNC, Putney & Ford Sayer showed great sportsmanship and kindness and hugs were immediately given all around which made everyone feel better. Not to be outdone, Finley Barker also had a great race. She teamed up with Frost Mt. skiers Beth Macintosh and Anita Miller. Beth skied first, tagging off to Finley and Anita and Finley brought home sixth place. Mia Diller and new racer Adleigh Frankie also had a good race and finished twelfth out of about twenty teams. It was great to see all these 5/6 girls put in great effort and get results!
MNC was having a good day and it just continued! The boys 5/6 race was also exciting. Niko Cuneo and Taylor Carlson skied first legs. Niko did a great job avoiding trouble and handily skied around a tripped up skier on the first uphill and soon took the lead. He kept it all the way to the tag zone where Brady Morigeau took over, opened up a bigger lead and skied into first place. Taylor had a great leg and tagged off to Carl Priganc who brought home 9th- another top ten for MNC!
The 7/8’s girls and boys are always fun to watch because many of the skiers have perfected their technique, gotten bigger and stronger, and are skiing really well as a result. We watched the girls race with much excitement. Ava Thurston, Hattie Barker and Greta Kilburn all started. Heading up the first uphill, Ava got a little stuck behind two other skiers but by the time she had crested, she was passing them both. She kept her lead and tagged off to Esther Cuneo who put even more time on the pack and finished first! Not far behind Ava was Hattie who had a great leg and tagged off to Maise Franke. Maise has been working really hard on her skiing this year and it shows. She looked awesome and brought her team to an eighth place. Greta had a great start, skied well and tagged off to Carly Trapeni. Carly also skied well, made short work of the course and came in twelfth.
In the boys 7/8 race, Jordon Shullenberger teamed up with two skiers from Frost Mt. Oliver Anderson skied the first leg and tagged off to Jordon and Joe Graziadei. They had a good race in a super competitive field and finished eleventh.
After relay awards and the Festival Parade, we all enjoyed a well-earned Festival potluck lunch, complete with mac & cheese, an awesome chili, and Coach Rosemary’s blueberry soup! The Nordic Adventure activities opened up and while coaches brushed the morning’s dirt off the skis, kids got their faces painted, tried out the tandem skis, got Bill Koch’s autograph or tried the egg and spoon races.
At about 2:30, the afternoon sprints began. These were short- 0.5 km for grade 3&4, 0.7 km for grades 5-8. One quick steep uphill on the way out, one flying down and up on the way back. Although kids had been seeded, this was a timed, one and done event. Your finish place would be based on your time, so you couldn’t hold anything back, even if you were winning your heat.
Again, MNC had great results, lots of top ten, top twenty and lots of ties and close finishes between teammates! It really shows that these kids are getting fast together! Cole Shullenburger finished 6th in the boys 3/4 race. In the girls 3/4 race, Kate Carlson tied for second and teammate Pippa Diller was right behind her in 4th (if there is a tie, they take out the next placement). Tessa finished 16th and her relay partner Violet finished right behind her in 17th. Niko finished 4thin the 5/6 boys race, with Brady coming in only five tenths of a second behind him for 5th. Incredibly close! Taylor was 17th and Carl came in 24th out of the 67 5/6 boy skiers. MNC skiers were all well within the upper half of the field- that is fantastic!
The 5/6 girls first sprint heat proved to be a nail-biter with those three friends and rivals, Virginia, Sarah and Sadie facing off. Virginia really powered up the first hill and got the lead. Sadie was close on her tail. She put a little bit more space between herself and her rivals, but Sadie’s skis were fast and she was catching on the downhill run out. Then Sarah surged at the finish and caught Virginia in a tie for first! Wow! Another fun finish: Julia Thurston and Finley Barker tied for 11th! Mia Diller came in 24th and Adleigh finished right behind one of her relay partners in 32nd. Great skiing girls!
In the 7/8 boys race, Jordon finished 37th. In the girls 7/8 race, Ava Thurston finished 5th with teammate Esther Cuneo right behind her in 6th, and Hattie Barker came in 9th. Greta finished 21st, Maise finished 25th and Carly finished 33rd. Congratulations girls!
What a first day! We quickly broke down our camp and headed to our lodgings, where some went swimming with 100 of their BKL buddies, others played cops and robbers in the hotel, parents enjoyed a brew and some socializing, some coaches fretted about tomorrow’s wax and we all eventually had dinner!
Sunday- The Classic Individual
We awoke to about 6 inches of fresh powder! I and a handful of other club coaches arrived early and began setting up our camps and getting ready to test wax. These are conditions that coaches dread for classic waxing- fresh new snow, full sunshine and temps warming up quickly to 40 degrees F. The wax can change so fast that the first lap you ski can have decent kick and by the next lap you can have nothing!
Things were pretty straight forward for the 1/2 mixed race and Ryley Morigeau put down a fast ski and finished third after two boys. The 3/4 girls did a great job making their skis work and double poling when they didn’t as conditions were starting to change. They proved that they can handle anything with Kate finishing 3rd, Pippa finishing 6th and Tessa finishing 19th. We had to quickly change the wax for Cole as the tracks had started to melt and his skis had no kick at all. With better wax he managed to land a 5th place! Great job to all these skiers!
After the 3/4’s we had a break from racing so they could do awards for the sprint races, do eighth grade graduation and the lollipop race. You have never seen anything cuter than a lollipop race! The eighth graders hand out the lollipops to all the lollipoppers at the end of the race. Ava Thurston and Hattie Barker were our only 8th graders this year. Next year they will be off to high school and Eastern Cup races.
All these events gave us some time to test more waxes and also let conditions settle a bit. By the time we needed to wax up the 5-8 graders’ skis, Coach Barker, Coach Tom and I were pretty confident that we had zeroed in on a mix that would work well. A mixture of klister and hardwax proved to be the ticket for us and we were rewarded by seeing all our 5-8 skiers kick right up the hill all afternoon.
In the 5/6 girls race, all our girls looked really good. Lots of strong double poling, some really good turns around a sharp turn-around and great technique and energy on the uphills. These races were an interval start so it was hard to tell how skiers were doing until we saw the results. Virginia was 4th, Finley landed 10th with Julia right behind her in 11th, Mia was 30th and Adleigh was 35th. Great job girls!
I must admit that I missed watching most of the boys 5/6 race because I was waxing the 7/8 skis. But, I can tell by results and pictures that they skied well. Brady was 4th, Niko reported that he fell but still pulled out an eighth, Taylor was 18th and Carl was 32nd. These boys have been working on their technique for years now. Both Brady and Niko used to hate classic days, but they are really good classic skiers now. Taylor has such nice classic technique that he is a pleasure to watch and when I watch Carl double pole, I always think “yup, he’s got that right!”
In the 7/8 girls race, Ava was the second skier out and soon caught the skier ahead of her. Ava also has beautiful classic technique- quick and smooth. She won the race by about 15 seconds which is quite impressive when you consider what a competitive field of skiers she raced against. Esther Cuneo also has really nice classic technique. She is such a powerful skier and really knows how to push herself to the limit. She landed in fourth. Hattie Barker is another beautiful classic skier who has been doing really well in middle school ski racing this year. She had a great race too and came in 6th! Next was Greta Kilburn who is an avid Mt. bike racer and runner who skis in her “off” season from biking. She capitalized on her great fitness and bike racing experience and put together an incredible race to come in 15th. Maise Frankie has been racing a lot more in middle school this year and it shows. She also landed a top twenty. Carly Trapeni is another skier to keep on your radar screen. She is a great runner and does all sorts of long distance adventures. Carly’s technique has improved tremendously from last year and it shows. She too put down another solid result for MNC.
The boys 7/8 race was the last race of the day. Jordon Shullenberger was our only 7/8 boy. Jordon is a soccer player who skis with us one day per week. He finished in an amazing 26th place amidst a very fast group of boys. Great job!
Although I’ve just reported on all the races, I think what the kids will remember from this Festival is all the fun they had. Getting their faces painted, finding and making friends from other clubs, playing cops and robbers in the hotel, swimming, and just getting out there on a beautiful day on a well-groomed course and going fast! There is nothing like the BKL Festival! Thanks to Heidi Hill for organizing our food, to all the coaches who helped with ski prep and warm-up and especially thanks to NENSA and the Eastern Mass Bill Koch Club for putting on such a fun festival!
Click Here: MNC BKL FEST VIRTUAL MEETING
Lots of racing this weekend- Middle School States at Sleepy Hollow, the Youth Biathlon Races at the Jericho NorAm Biathlon and the Woodstock Sweetheart BKL Race on Sunday!
Jericho Youth Biathlon
In Jericho, Coach Yves and Coach Peter put on a great youth biathlon race. Nine of our MNC/EABC youth biathletes competed with some impressive skiing and shooting results. In the air rifle race, Brice Dubief and Liam Vile showed everyone that they both have a future in biathlon. In the girls 11-12 race, Virginia Cobb missed three shots and subsequently, spent a bit of time on the penalty loop, but then cleaned her next five shots. Even though she skied fast, it wasn’t enough to beat out Craftsbury’s Amelia Circosta who cleaned all her targets. Lila Brilhart and Jillian Doktor both had very good shooting, Lila missing only one and Jillian missing two.
In the girls 13/14 race, Bella Norris was the only competitor and skied with her rifle on her back, and subsequently won her age class!
On the boys side, the 11/12 boys from Craftsbury had the best shooting of the day followed by Niko Cuneo who cleaned his first round, but then missed 3. He was followed by Duncan Dubief and Brody Norris who also missed 3.
Middle School States
While these skiers were focussing at their targets in Jericho, many other MNC skiers were at Sleepy Hollow skiing in the Middle School States race. Brady Morgeau was third behind some fast u32 eighth graders, followed by Taylor Carlson, Adrien Dezon-Galliard, Carl Priganc and Rye McCurtain. In the girls race, Hattie Barker pulled in first while Maise Frankie, skiing for Harwood, finished third. Not far behind were Finley Barker and Rachel Porth. Great work middle school skiers! Results Link
Woodstock Sweetheart Race
On Sunday, a bunch of MNC girls travelled to Woodstock to ski in the Sweetheart Race. Woodstock Nordic Center is stationed on a golf course, but their trail network extends up a wooded hillside as well, offering some surprisingly challenging terrain. They had lots of snow and the course was decorated with hearts hanging in the trees and posted in the snow.
This race was an interval start which was a nice change for the kids and good practice for the BKL Festival. In the girls 3/4 race, Kate Carlson double poled her way to victory on a very flat course with Pippa Diller not far behind in second place. Tessa Diller skied very fast and pulled in fifth! Nice job girls!
The 5/6 girls race was interesting. Virginia Cobb started second, quickly passed the boy ahead of her and looked great on the long series of uphills that made up the 5/6 & 7/8 course. She finished second- just one second behind Ford Sayer’s Sarah Gluek! Another close finish: Julia Thurston was fourth, just two seconds behind Putney’s Caroline Tarmy! Mia Diller did a great job on that long uphill and finished tenth. Virginia and Julia were kicking themselves when they found out how close they were! It’s hard to tell where you are in an interval start, so you just have to go as hard as you can and race the clock. All these 5/6 girls (plus a few more) have been skiing close to each other all winter. I wonder how things will shake out at the BKL Fest next week? It will definitely be exciting! Great job girls!
Our Friday Fox program lead by Amy Kelsey is having a great season. With great conditions at the range and warmer temps, these skiers are out there learning the basics and enjoying the fresh snow. Thank you to Amy and all the parent volunteers that help make this program happen. See more photos here.