Ready for state: Summit Nordic ski team puts fitness on display at home meet

PHOTOS and VIDEOS: Summit boys Nordic ski team places 1st; girls take 5th

James Sowers eyes a hill during Summit's home skate race at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge. Sowers helped his team to a first place finish by placing fourth overall in the boys race.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

Temperatures may have been hovering in the single digits with a brisk breeze cutting across the Summit County, but that did not stop the Summit High School Nordic ski team from competing to the highest level at its final regular season meet of the season on Thursday, Feb. 9.

In an attempt to cure their prerace jitters and stay warm, athletes bustled around the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge before taking to the start line for a skate race.

As athletes waited for their individual start time to come, many bopped and danced around with many layers still pulled tight to their bodies.

Once within a ski length to the start line however, all the layers came off, sleek ski suits were exposed to the conditions and the athlete became focused on completing the 5-kilometer course as fast as they could.

The girls were the first to take to the course, and leading the way was sophomore Ella Hagen.

Hagen shot out of the starting line area and attacked the Gold Run Nordic Center’s trails. Knowing the course like the back of her hand, Hagen crossed the finish line in a time of 15 minutes, 44.34 seconds to place second overall. 

Ella Hagen fights her way to the finish line to place second overall at Summit’s home meet on Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Gold Run Nordic Center.

Battle Mountain High School’s Addison Beuche placed first in a time of 15:15.25 while Battle Mountain’s Lindsey Whitton placed third in 16:01.78.

Niamh Nelson was the next Summit athlete to cross the line, finishing in 15th place with a time of 17:35.36. Following Nelson, Kate Williams and Fiona Florio placed 26th and 27th, respectively.

Williams finished in a time of 18:27.84, and Florio finished in 18:42.69. Additionally, the duo added 73 points to Summit’s team score. 

Summit finished with 179 points to place fifth overall behind Poudre High School with 183 points. Battle Mountain placed first with 226 points. Lake County High School placed second with 195. Middle Park High School took third with 190 points.

Hagen, Nelson, Williams and Florio will all compete on Thursday, Feb. 16, and Friday, Feb. 17, in the Colorado High School Skiing State Championships in both the classic and skate races.

Kate Williams skates her way to a 26th-place finish at the Gold Run Nordic Center on Thursday, Feb. 9.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

The Summit boys Nordic ski team got one step closer to securing its second straight state skiing title by placing first overall by 21 points on Wednesday.

The deep, talented roster of the Summit boys Nordic ski  team helped the Tigers top their competitors. The team put four athletes in the top 10, and leading the charge was James Sowers, who placed fourth overall with a time of 13:39.43. 

Sowers was quickly followed by Carter Niemkiewicz in fifth place with a time of 13:41.58, Roan Varble in seventh with a time of 13:54.78 and Kai Oppito in eighth with a time of 13:56.91.

Parker Osborn was the next Summit athlete to cross the finish line, placing 27th with a time of 15:00.11. Josh Shriver placed 30th, Jonah Mocatta finished in 37th and Christian Skowron placed 44th.

“I felt pretty happy with my performance,” Osborn said after the race. “I went pretty hard on the uphills, and I tried to find people to pace off of and pass a few people which is good. It felt like a pretty strong performance.” 

Christian Skowron pushes his way up a hill during Summit’s home meet on Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge. Skowron placed 44th to help his team to a first place finish.

Summit finished with 220 points for first place overall while Middle Park placed second with 199 points. Battle Mountain took third with 190 points. 

The Summit boys Nordic and Alpine ski teams will look to defend its state skiing titles next week while the girls will aim for a top-5 finish. 

“We will train hard over the next weekend and just keep doing what we have been doing: skiing hard and having fun,” Osborn said.

For the second week in a row, the Summit Nordic ski team will have a home-course advantage as the Nordic portion of the state skiing championships will take place at the Frisco Nordic Center — where the team has frequently trained throughout the season. 

The Nordic skate race will begin at 2:30p.m. at the Frisco Nordic Center on Thursday, Feb. 16, with the Nordic classic race beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17. 

The Alpine competitions will take place at Copper Mountain Resort with the state giant slalom race beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday with the state slalom race beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

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