Familiar faces abound at season-opening NRL race
BRECKENRIDGE – It was a lot like a reunion for the Summit Nordic Ski Club on Saturday at the Gold Run Nordic Center. The first USSA National Ranking List (NRL) race of the season gave several past and present members of the local youth racing organization a chance to shed the offseason rust together. Summit’s Tyler Reinking, who took eighth place in the first J1 race of his career, recognized at least one alumnus during the classic race. “We’re in with all these college kids and Pete Richmond passed me,” Reinking said. “He graduated like three years ago or something, and I’m going, ‘Great, there he goes.'”Richmond is one of six Western State skiers who is a former member of Summit’s club. The others are Andy Richmond (his brother), Josh Dayton, Patrick Neel, Kate Chapman and Brittany Perkins.”I’ve been excited for this race for like two months,” said Perkins, who won five individual state championships while skiing for Summit High School. “So I was happy to finally do it.”Perkins took second among OJ girls in her first race as a member of the Western State team.
The local skiing and running star said her college career was still too young for her to compare it to life on Summit’s Nordic club.”I raced this race last year, so it doesn’t really feel any different yet,” she said. “But I know it’s going to get way more intense once we get on the college circuit. I was just kind of excited to come back home for my first race.”Briana Perkins, Brittany’s younger sister, took second place in the J2 competition with a time of 20:01.7. She was followed by teammates Mackenzie Jones (sixth), Jenya Berino (11th) and Leah Venturoni (13th).Perkins, an SHS junior, seemed to appreciate the high level of competition that surrounded her on Saturday. “It’s a tough field out there – that makes it fun,” she said. “I think having college teams here makes you go faster. If they’re catching or passing you, you just want to stick with them.”DU’s Kyle Ahern and Taylor Shelden were other Summit Nordic Club alumni in Saturday’s field.Gene Dayton, who coaches the Summit High School Nordic team and assists his son, Matt Dayton, with the ski club, said Saturday’s competitive field was helpful for his young skiers.”It’s a tremendous inspiration because they have a chance to see what everybody’s doing,” Dayton said. “They get to see college teams and the level they’re training at compared to them.”
Getting back into the swing of thingsMany of Saturday’s racers seemed happy to put the season’s opening event behind them.”Everyone gets those jitters and missed starts out,” Chapman said. “Myself, I thought it was a 7K until the very end, so I had to figure that out.””On the first day, everyone’s anxious and nervous to see how they stack up and how their summer training’s paid off,” Matt Dayton said. “I think for the most part it went really well.”Still, the cold and fast-paced nature of the Nordic season opener seemed to take its toll on at least a handful of Summit racers.”The first race is always really humbling,” said Dana Meeker, who took 14th among J2 girls. “Once the season gets going, you feel back at home again.”
“I came out here to gain some experience and see how my training has been,” said Marshall Snead (26th among J1s). “The race kind of kicked my butt to tell you the truth.”Rene Reisshauer of DU won the senior men’s competition; CU’s Karl Nygren won OJ boys; and Noah Hoffman of Aspen won the J1 boys competition.On the women’s side CU’s Maria Grevsgaard won the senior division; Polina Ermoshina of the University of New Mexico won the OJ category; and Vail’s Karlie Moore was tops among J1s. Today’s skate race begins at 11 a.m. Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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