Zygulski, Oppito top Summit High Nordic racers at Gold Run 4.7K classic | SummitDaily.com

Zygulski, Oppito top Summit High Nordic racers at Gold Run 4.7K classic

The Summit High School Nordic Ski team jumps for joy while practicing at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge on Jan. 21.
Photo by Liz Copan / Studio Copan

BRECKENRIDGE — With nine top-10 finishers, the Summit High School Tigers boys and girls Nordic ski teams had impressive performances on a snow-filled, 4.7-kilometer classic course Friday, Feb. 5, at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge.

In the time-trial-like race, Summit’s two female skiers, Liliane Zygulski and Maclean Donovan, raced to second and third place, respectively. Zygulski’s time of 21 minutes and 5 seconds was just over a minute off the winning pace of Lake County’s Elona Greene in the 21-skier girls race. Donovan’s time of 22:33 edged Lake County’s Violet Hill by four seconds in a race where Zygulski and Donovan were the only Tigers girls to take to the course due to quarantines precluding other girls from racing. Tigers head coach Eva Hagen said the remainder of the team’s girls side will return from quarantine Saturday and should be able to race in Bakerville next Feb. 12.

“Lily has beautiful, very perfect — almost — form,” Hagen said. “She’s a really good classic skier. I think sometimes she doesn’t push quite as hard, but today she pushed really hard. And Maclean sometimes is tentative, but today she did great. It was a smaller race on our home course. I really think they both did really well.”

Hagen said she and the Tigers coaches tried different waxes on the snowy, slow trails to optimize the glide as opposed to the kick on a course that didn’t feature much climbing. With a lot of flat stretches, the cross-country skiers often were using double-pole downhill technique. But it was the Tigers’ top boys finisher, Kai Oppito (second, 17:08) in the 31-skier boys race who opted for a different strategy — one with his skate skis.

“So I didn’t have any kick wax,” said Oppito, who was 40 seconds off the winning pace of Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos of Evergreen High School. It was a lot faster on the flats, but it was definitely harder on the uphills.”

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Oppito was followed in the top 10 by Tiger teammates Evan Callahan (third, 17:08), Roan Varble (fifth, 18:13), Liam Goettelman (sixth, 18:23), Jonah Mocatta (seventh, 18:26), Christian Skowron (eighth, 18:48) and Lucas Dayton (ninth, 19:01). Hagen commended Callahan’s showing in his first race back from quarantine.

“I felt pretty good,” Callahan said. “I got my kick wax right, and most important, I didn’t put too much on. I was able to go fast on the downhill, which was important today with poor snow conditions.”

Summit’s Nordic skiers next will race Friday, Feb. 12, in Bakerville, with the start time to be determined.

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