By: Abbi Yezierski
Lack of snow has forced the majority of our races to be held at Mohawk Trail Regional High school this season. The course has become so familiar to us skiers, we could ski it in our sleep. Luckily this week, the weather cooperated enough so we could race at a new venue – Wahconah High school.
The course was a windy 2.8 miles through soccer fields and football fields. The snow was chopped up powder by the time the races began. It was a beautiful 43 degrees – perfect ski conditions, not only for the races, but for spectators too. Finally there was no need to wear a raincoat, seek refuge in the warm cafeteria or layer jacket after jacket.
Days before the race, the Mohawk team discussed the history of the Wahconah course with experienced members trying to prep the newbies. They told us about the start: a semi mass start that goes for about 100 meters and then up a wall! We all thought about it night and day, trying to imagine this “wall” they were talking about. We have only started by mass start once this season at Berkshire East and just could not imagine a mass start up a “wall”. This surely was not going to end well. Upon arrival we were all equally pleased to hear that the start had been changed and we would not all be scrambling to go up the steep hill together.
As girls and boys skied their warmup laps, others began doing stretches and pole runs to prepare themselves for the race. The first wave of varsity boy skiers went off like a rocket. The top five boys in the race held a strong pack that traded leads and ultimately finished a full minute before the next racer. Top two finishers Will Nolan (MG) and Henry Colt (NMH) battled it out until the very end, coming across the finish line in a photo finish. Nolan shot out his toe World Cup-style and was declared the winner. Matthew Wiseman (MG) finished strong 12 seconds back with Ian Culnane (MG) and Jake Foehl (MG) rounding out the strong five-person pack. Next skier across the line was Tyler Andrews from Mohawk with his best finish to date. Teammate Tom Damery claimed 16th place for a strong showing from the Mohawk team.
Girls’ varsity went off 20 minutes after the boys start. Luckily there was a great crew out on the course, filling in grass patches and raking the chopped up areas after the boys went by. The top girls in the league went off like race horses at the start. Mount Greylock’s Grace Smith skied to victory just 12 seconds ahead of Alison Lull (Mohawk). Lull was followed shortly by Josie Marshall (Lenox) and Sophie Gerry(MG). Ellen Ross (W) rounded out the top five.
Both JV races went smoothly as well. Mount Greylock claimed the top 7 places in the boys’ JV race with John Driver, Carter Stripp, and Tommy Kirby claiming first through third places respectively. On the girls side Greylock claimed the top 9 places. Mollyann Haskins took first place with teammates Margo Smith and Emma Palumbo following shortly behind.
All the skiers did excellent considering the long weekend they had last weekend with a league race on Saturday and the EHS and J2 qualifying races on Sunday.
All racers will return to Notchview ski area this weekend for the final league race before State Championship on February 11th.