Summit Tiger Nordic ski team qualifies 7 skiers to state at home meet
Henning, Skowron help boys team place 4th overall
At the Gold Run Nordic Center on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 21, conditions couldn’t have been better for a Nordic race as Summit High School hosted their first and only home meet of the season. Snowflakes were steadily falling down among the competitors as they warmed up near the start line, and young newbies scarfed down last-minute fuel.
The skate-style Nordic race at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge marks the first of three state qualifying races of the season. The girls race was the first to start off the action. The 91-girl field was sent off in waves two at a time in 30-second intervals.
Freshman Ella Hagen was in the third wave, shooting off like a rocket and rapidly pumping her arms to gain momentum in order to chase down the wave in front of her. Hagen and Cecelia Miner were the only two of the Summit Nordic girls team that raced, as the rest decided to race in Winter Park for a club competition.
Miner crossed the the starting line 5 1/2 minutes after her teammate Hagen. Miner also looked competitive at the start as she navigated the narrow first stretch of the race.
Hagen crossed the finish line in 16 minutes and 38.79 seconds, which was enough for her to claim the title at the Tigers home meet. Hagen beat Samantha Blair from Eagle Valley by almost 20 seconds and scored 60 total points for the Tiger girls team.
“It was definitely a surprise and it was fun to race,” Ella Hagen said. “It was a fun course, and it was fun to be on home turf and see everybody racing in such a big race.”
Miner sprinted across the finish line in 20:40.83 to place 52nd overall. Miner scored 34 points for the team for a combined 94 points to finish 10th out of 13 teams.
Battle Mountain won the girls meet with 159, narrowly beating Steamboat Springs by a single point. Eagle Valley took third with 148 points.
“It was a bummer that we only had two girls,” head coach Eva Hagen said. “If we had had three girls or even four girls, we could’ve been in the top three.”
Ella Hagen qualified for the state meet in the skate discipline with her first-place finish, while Miner missed the mark by about 40 seconds.
In the boys Nordic race, the Summit Tigers had a significantly larger squad with 12 racers in the 5K skate race. However, they were without their top-three racers. Still, the larger depth on the boys team significantly helped them in terms of scoring.
Brody Henning was the first Tiger racer, skiing in the second wave of racers.
Christian Skowron — despite being ranked behind Henning — finished within 3 seconds of his teammate in an impressive performance, completing the course in 15:21.68 to place 14th. Henning finished in 15:18.66 for 13th place.
Behind the Tiger two front runners was Bryce Oppito, who notched a top-20 finish by finishing in a time of 15:41.33 for 20th place. Lucas Dayton was the fourth Tiger skier and placed 30th with a time of 16:15.92.
Six Summit boys racers qualified for the state meet, including Henning, Skowron, Oppito, Dayton, Dirk Bosgraaf and Gregor Baird. All six of the Summit qualifiers finished under 17 minutes — a good sign of the team’s overall depth.
Henning, Skowron and Oppito scored a combined 145 points, with Henning scoring the most at 50. The Tiger boys Nordic ski team placed fourth overall, losing by four points to Vail Mountain in third. Eagle Valley won the title with 171 points and Battle Mountain placed second with 168 points.
“I thought it was some pretty solid racing by a lot of the boys,” Eva Hagen said. “I think racing on our home course is always fun. You know every corner and undulations, so that helped.”
Despite not having several of their top skiers, Eva Hagen noted that this is the highest the boys team has finished at a meet since she has been the coach. Eva Hagen is hopeful that they can finish in the top three at state in a few weeks.
The Summit Nordic ski team will have an entire week to prepare for their next state qualifying race on Saturday, Jan. 29, where both skate and classic races will occur at Maloit Park in Minturn.
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