Ski For Scholarship
A community Nordic ski race to benefit the
Mathias Jessup Bartels Scholarship Fund
Mount Greylock Regional High School, Williamstown, MA
February 17, 2013
By Alex White
On February 17th , with temperatures hovering in the single digits, the annual Mathias J. Bartels Scholarship Race was held at Mt. Greylock Regional High School to commemorate the life of former Greylock student Mathias Bartels and to raise money for the scholarship founded in his name. Despite the blustery winter weather, skiers from around the county flocked to Greylock to join in the festivities.
In 2004, Mathias, then a junior and a varsity member of both the cross-country ski and soccer teams, passed away in his sleep of sudden cardiac arrest due to a heart arrythmia of unknown cause. After his death, the Mathias Jessup Bartels Scholarship was created as a way to honor a graduating senior who exemplifies the traits Mathias embodied: commitment to excellence, integrity, and kindness. The annual scholarship fundraising race, which began in 2008, has become both a vital resource for the scholarship as well as an opportunity time for alumni, friends, coaches, current skiers, and family to celebrate Mathias’s life and enduring legacy.
With race time approaching, skiers congregated around the starting line. As expected, the inclusiveness of the race forced the eleven o’clock start time back about fifteen minutes as the starters waited for stragglers to meander in from the parking and wax (or not wax in some questionable cases) their skis. Over fifty skiers ages 6-70 toed the line in varying race attire from spandex race suits, to blue jeans to down jackets. The five kilometer course—which had been groomed by members of the Greylock nordic ski community, including coaches Hiram and Hilary Greene—skirted the girls’ practice soccer field before heading into the woods behind the school. Skiers eventually emerged from what is commonly known as Second Loop and retraced their steps around the soccer field towards the finish near the school side of John T. Allen Field. For those opting for a shorter race, a two kilometer course around the football/baseball fields and into the wooded Second Loop, attracted another round of enthusiastic skiers.
Local farmer, Greylock alum, skier, and businessman Topher Sabot took home the victory, using a powerful double pole to propel him through the icy conditions. Greylock nordic senior Will Kirby snagged second place ahead of his coach Matt Voisin. Topher’s wife, Jenn Mygatt, captured the top spot in the women’s category and finished off what turned out to be a couple’s sweep. In the 2K race, strong finishes were seen by Luke Sector-Protti, Clarissa Pollard and Linden Niedick.
Gifts supplied by local businesses to support the scholarship made for an exceptional prize table for all participants. The prizes, however, took a back seat to the sense of community that the Mathias J. Bartels Race never fails to foster, no matter the conditions and the spectacular $1845 raised for the scholarship fund.