You want snow? Go to Mohawk Trail Regional School. You want great exercise? Learn to cross-country ski. You want great competition? Look no further than the Berkshire Nordic Ski League girls’ varsity races. While both of the first two races of the season resulted in an 11 second margin of victory, the third race saw four racers all within 11 seconds of each other and three within one second of the win.
With Grace Smith now competing at the collegiate level, the top spots for the league appear up for grabs each week. For the second straight week, however, Brandi Gill was able to snatch the win; this week by the narrowest of margins. The freshman from Mt. Greylock started from wave two, which proved to be the most competitive wave of the day. Clarissa Pollard (MOH) and Alice Huth (LX) were matched in a wave with Gill for the second straight week. The trio went out together behind the school and through the first field. In the first series of undulations Gill opened a small gap on the two chasers. Unlike last week when Gill pulled away early, Pollard was able to respond and latched onto Gill for the remainder of the race. At times a small gap would open, but Pollard constantly fought to bring it back. The two would ski together the rest of the race and finish in the order they raced, Gill at 14:12 and Pollard at 14:13. Huth would push on in a solo effort to a fifth place finish with a time of 14:34.
Starting from wave three, MG Sophomore Margo Smith was out by herself very early in the race. At the first check she was tied with Gill and Pollard. As the race progressed, Smith was always within 3 seconds of the duo in the wave ahead. At the last check on the final downhill, Smith was still three seconds down, but clawed back two seconds in the final climb to finish tied with Pollard (14:13) and one second off the winning time.
The only other race winner on the season, Niku Darafshi (MG) started in wave one along with several other favorites: Lilly Wells (MOH), Nevada Powers (NMH), and Emma Jourdain (LX). Darafshi pulled away early and was the virtual race leader at the first time check. Darafshi continued to pull away from the wave but at the same time slowly bled time back to the race leaders. Darafshi would fight her way to a fourth place finish (14:23). The three chasers also begrudgingly gave time away to each other and finished 6th through 8th with Wells leading the pack(15:02), Powers 13 seconds back (15:15), and Jourdain chasing them home (15:23). Powers and Jourdain each improved one place on last weeks result while Wells returned after missing last weeks race.
The three remaining place winners came from three different waves. Starting in her first varsity race, Anna Butcher (MG) earned her first top 10 finish. Skiing solo from wave six, Butcher came home in a time of 15:38 for 9th place. From wave eight, eighth grader Hazel Scullin (MG) also cracked her first top 10 (15:57) finishing tied for 10th. Rounding out the place winners was Sarah Gokey from Mohawk. Gokey finished tied for 10th (15:57) and in so doing continued her streak of top 10 finishes in each league race this season.
The Mt. Greylock girls (16 pts.) again finished on top of the team podium even without last weeks 6th place finisher Emma Polumbo. The return of Lilly Wells and the high placing of Pollard helped propel the girls of Mohawk (39pts, 2nd place) over Lenox while knocking NMH out of the top three for the week. Lenox fought to the third place finish with Marion Huth (15th) and Maggie Sorrentino (19th) rounding out their scoring (47 pts.)
The Junior Varsity race was junior in name only, even with last weeks top two (Anna Butcher and Ariel Dupras) being moved up to the Varsity race. Race winner Tenley Smith (MG) and 2nd place Amelia Murphy switched finishing places from last week and finished in 16:11 and 16:25 which would have been good for a 12th place and 17th place finishes in the Varsity race. Behind Smith and Murphy was a horde of Mounties who competed with each other help Mt. Greylock take the top eight places overall.
Alice Glab (16:36) finished 3rd with Miriam Bakija seven seconds back from the next wave (4th, 16:43). The next two places were a reprise of last weeks duel but this week from separate heats as Josie Smith took 5th (16:49) and Ella Dudley was 6th (17:00). Bella Bote moved up one spot from last week in finishing 7th (17:40) while Avery Powers (18:12) moved into the top 10 after last weeks 12th place showing.
The only non-Mounties to break into the top 10 were Julianne Harwood (LX) and Rebekah Keator (NMH). Harwood finished in 9th place (18:32) with her first top 10 of the season while Keator was in 10th place (18:44) with her second straight top 10 finish.
A big thank you to the Mohawk coaches and parents for all the hard work you put into pulling off the race. A fun course, great viewing, a competitive atmosphere and marvelous athletes all made for a great day.
While a classic race at MG next week does not look promising, not many of us thought there would be skiing this week at Mohawk…let’s hope!
As with last weeks race at Wahconah, the top spots were in hot contention. The hilly (compared to last week) and highly technical course allowed for some seriously fast times and for the top fifteen all to fall within two minutes of each other. Once again Kent Yoshikawa(NMH) took the top spot from the second wave just seconds in front of Willy Wright (A). The two stuck together for the entire race separating little. By the last hill and final stretch Yoshikawa was able to pull just a bit ahead to grab his three second win over Wright finishing the course in 12:11.
Taking the last podium position was Toby Weed, a senior also from Northfield Mount Hermon. Taking advantage of the quick bottleneck at the very beginning of the course, Weed gapped the chasing group of Luke Protti (A), Jacob Adams (MG), and Miles Marshall (L) and kept his lead all the way to the finish (12:21).
After Weed, 4th through 8th were all Greylock lead by Ric Donati (12:29) from the third wave. Jakin Miller lead the fourth wave to come in twenty seconds behind Donati (12:39). Behind Miller, Jacob Adams (12:56) edged out teammate Evan Arthur (12:57) by one second. Topping off Greylock’s top five was Cameron Castonguay (13:08) in the fifth wave.
To round out the top 10: Amherst’s Luke Sedor Protti (13:13) finished in 9th with Lenox’s Miles Marshall (13:15) biting at his heels after an earlier fall, finishing 10th. Monument’s Aidan Sandvik (13:19) just missed the top ten in his first league race of the season.
Once again, Greylock (22 pts) took first for the day. With the great performances of Yoshikawa and Weed, NMH (37 pts) pulled past Amherst (63 pts) lead by Wright.
The Junior Varsity race was washed away by a wave of red as Mount Greylock took the top 15 spots except for Emmet McDonnell holding onto 10th from Berkshire Nordic Ski School. Greylock Senior Zach Armet(14:01) manned the helm to take first ahead of teammate Walker Neimeyer (14:06).
The next three: Carter Lemaire, Col McDermott, and Finn Welch, packed together early in the race and stayed tight throughout. Coming to the final two hills of the course, Mcdermott attacked and briefly parted from the other two. In the chute, however, Lemaire (14:15) just barely managed to overtake McDermott(14:16) finishing a second ahead. Not far from the two, Welch (14:22) finished in fifth.
Sam Edge (14:42), John Skavlem (14:54), Gio Cavalli (15:02), and Julius Munemo (15:09) rounded out the last Greylock skiers in the top ten. Munemo and McDonnell fought for the second part of the race after McDonnell worked back some lost ground. The 10th place showing for McDonnell (15:10) was his first appearance in a Berkshire league race as he finished just a second behind Munemo.
With a classic race possibly in the works, boys from both the Varsity and Junior Varsity are wondering if the top spots will stay the same, or change with such a different discipline. With any luck, we will be able to see for ourselves next Saturday.