By Steven McCarthy
When racers pulled into the Quarry Road Trails parking lot Sunday morning in advance of the second day of Maine Eastern Cup competition, they noticed everything was different.
The mid-30’s temperatures of Saturday were now low-20’s (with wind). The moist snow base had solidified, cushioned only by an inch or so of drifting powder. And day one winners Welly Ramsey and Heidi Halvorsen weren’t suited up to defend their titles.
To ensure no similarity to Saturday’s classic mass start, both the men’s 10k and women’s 5k interval start skate races panned out to three new faces on the podium.
Cate Brams (Cambridge Sports Union) took the top spot, 15 seconds ahead of Maddy Pfeifer (Green Mountain Valley School), who was one second faster than Brams’ younger sister, Leah, a 14 year-old J2. Bret Bedard (Unattached) fended off Maine Winter Sports Center biathlete Raleigh Goessling on the men’s side, followed by Jack Schrupp (Gunstock Nordic).
Brams was the second-ranked J1 (behind automatic qualifier Halvorsen) entering the final qualifying weekend for the New England Junior National Team. The team naming committee will be sifting through results and finalizing the roster in the coming days.
“I just wasn’t really super-stressed going into the race,” Brams said. “It worked out well.”
CSU made it a team effort, placing five in the top seven. Brams chased down her coach, Alexandra Jospe (4th place), who started 15 seconds ahead of her, and kept teammate Julia Kern (5th, started 15 seconds behind Brams) at bay.
“Because it was an interval start, I think I tried to go out really hard and work all the uphills really well because I knew I would recover on the downhills,” Brams said.
Bedard improved on a fifth place finish Saturday and benefitted from a Goessling fall.
“I’m usually a better skater than classic, so I figured if I was in there for the classic, I’d be close for the skate,” Bedard said.
After learning he was four seconds up through two kilometers, Bedard said he was unaware of where he stood the rest of the way. Goessling navigated through the field, starting 265th of 275.
“I’m working full-time, so this is just kind of fun for me,” Bedard said.
On-line results were not available at the time of posting. They will be available here.