Mocatta’s win leads strong Summit Tigers Nordic showing at Bakerville skate ski
Athletes describe 7.5-kilometer race as unlike any other event
BAKERVILLE — The Summit High School Nordic ski team dominated the 7.5-kilometer interval-start skate ski race on Friday, Feb. 12 in Bakerville east of Loveland Ski Area, with four boys in the top five and three girls finishing in the top six.
Considering the backcountry, powder conditions, the race was less of a skate and more of a downhill double-pole. Tigers senior Liam Goettelman (fifth place, 20 minutes and 1.7 seconds) said the conditions favored the Summit team, considering the team’s experience in downhill and backcountry racing.
“This one is definitely going to be going into the history books as a fun one,” Goettelman said.
It was Summit’s Jonah Mocatta who came out on top in the boys field completing the mostly downhill course — which featured many racers, and some trees, downed along the way. Mocatta’s winning time was 19:04, two-tenths of a second faster than runner-up Jace Peters of Lake County High School and ahead of Tigers teammates Roan Varble (third, 19:33.6), Kai Oppito (fourth, 19:36.4) and Goettelman.
Mocatta’s run was good right from the start.
“You could tell right away he started off pretty well,” said coach Eva Hagen. “I saw him at the start — you needed to adjust your stride a little bit because it was narrow, and you could fall off either side. He really tried to get a narrower skate and more forward push in.”
Hagen said the narrow nature of the rec path course made it a tricky one for racers to traverse after they started one-by-one in 30-second intervals. The coach said the Tigers girls and boys both were tentative to the “adventure course” at first before becoming comfortable after a bit of warmup.
“This was just a fun opportunity that kids don’t usually get,” Hagen said. “This was just due to COVID — we needed to have more races and Evergreen High School just said we’ll organize one, so they organized this one.”
“It was a little weird. It’s different with such narrow skis it’s hard to stay on top of the snow. Your edge would catch and you kept falling, but it was the coolest course I’ve ever skied,” Oppito said.
In the 28-skier girls race Summit’s Aubree Confer finished in second place (19:29.1), followed by Liliane Zygulski (fifth, 20:28.8) and Maclean Donovan (sixth, 21:17.3).
“This race was very different from anything I’ve done before,” Donovan said. “With all of fresh powder, there’s not really a path, so it was a lot of double-poling downhill, which was fun.”
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