Summit Nordic well represented at JO’s |

Summit Nordic well represented at JO’s

Special to the Daily/Jon Harrington

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Olympic spirit spread to Michigan last week as the Cross Country Skiing Junior Olympics were held on the trails of Michigan Tech University.0f the 409 skiers that competed in the prestigious event, nine were members of the Summit Nordic Ski Club. According to Summit Nordic program director Matt Dayton, that club’s level of representation was unprecedented. “That’s the greatest number of athletes Summit has ever sent to JO’s,” said Dayton, who grew up skiing in Summit’s Nordic pipeline and went on to compete in the 2002 Olympics. “This is the strongest Summit team that I can recall.” Dayton described his team’s overall JO performance as respectable.

“When you go in to a week of competitions like that at the end of a long season, they can go great, bad or average,” he said. “For the most part, I’d say they went average.”Patrick Neel, Summit’s oldest JO representative, had what Dayton called a break-out race in the 15K classic. Despite his ski popping off mid-course, Neel managed to finish in 12th place.”To have that kind of setback in a race and still do that well is unbelievable,” Dayton said.Brittany Perkins was Summit’s top female finisher, taking ninth in the 5K freestyle and 11th in the 10K classic race. Although Dayton considered Perkins’ finishes impressive, he said she would have been in the top five of both races had she been at her very best.Tom Sawyer, a Summit J2 competitor, finished 12th in the 5K skate race. Aspen’s Scott Lacy, with whom Sawyer battled closely the entire season, took second.

“It was a little difficult for Tom to see that,” Dayton said of Lacy’s success. “I think he realized that if he had had one of his best races, he probably would have won a medal.”Summit J2 HannaH Hausman had a rough start to the week and never fully recovered, Dayton said. “It was a little bit of a disappointment for HannaH,” he said. “She went in with high expectations.”Hausman was injured at the beginning of a 5K classic race after being nudged by another competitor. She suffered a twisted ankle in the ensuing fall, but opted to ski through the pain and complete the race, ultimately finishing in 38th place. Hausman’s misfortune continued later in the week when she became ill prior to the skate races. Other Summit athletes competing at JO’s included Mackenzie Jones, Leah Venturoni, Briana Perkins, Tyler Reinking and Alan Harrington.

Each of Summit’s JO skiers were part of the 47-member Rocky Mountain team, which placed fifth out of 10 teams from across the country.Summit athletes were teamed up with other Rocky Mountain team members for a host of relay races. “It brought kids from all over the state together,” Dayton said. “It was really neat to watch.”Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at

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