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All of the Lights

By: Joseph Gais

Screaming fast corners, a few broken poles, and complete darkness… such were the adventures of the Berkshire East mass start race of the Berkshire XC Ski League this past Monday night. The race was originally scheduled to be held at Mount Greylock Regional High School, however, Father Winter disapproved of giving Greylock the advantage of their home course.  After days of deliberation to decide whether conditions allowed for another race at Mohawk High School, the council wisely designated Berkshire East, a famed downhill ski area, to be the sight of the race.

The course was either 2 or 3 laps of approximately 1.5k that meandered about various trails on the base of the alpine mountain. The course was neither particularly flat nor hilly; it fell into a middle ground between Notchview’s death by elevation and Mohawk’s Midwesternesque course layout.  Jake Foehl credits the fast downhills and technical turns for his win in the Boy’s Varsity Race, “I felt really good on the downhills, and was able to maintain my speed into the transitions”. Following Foehl came Greylock skiers Will Nolan, Matthew Wiseman, Jake Kobrin, Derek Wood, and Caleb Raymond to round out the top 6. Mohawk’s Tyler Andrews, Amherst’s Duncan Crowley, Lenox’s Matas Rudzinskas  each cracked the top ten for the heir best finishes of the season in claiming spots 7 through 9 respectively. Waconah’s Curran Doyle claimed the final top 10 spot. Following Doyle by 1/60th of a minute was Greylock’s Joseph Gais (cheap plug for the author, but this was his best finish ever).

On the girls’ side, Grace Smith pulled off the famed hat trick. With a time of 19:30, Smith would have placed 15th overall in the boys’ race. Mohawk’s Allison Lull skied in 25 seconds behind Smith to claim second with Josie Marshall of Lenox only 11 seconds back for third. Sophie Gerry (MG) glided into 4th place. Ellen Ross (Wahconah), Christina Butcher (MG), Charlotte Price (Amherst), and Alice Huth (Lenox) came in 5th to 8th place respectively.  Four Greylock skiers, Ellie Williams, Zavi Sheldon, Abby Wiseman and Niku Darafshi made up 9th to 12th places.

JV skiers were overjoyed when they heard that their race was a 3k rather than last week’s 6k. Graham Kaegi, racing on his birthday, gave an extra effort to cross the finish line in first place. However, Kaegi was given a 30 second penalty for skating in the double pole zone.  This boosted Cameron Castonguay into first place just ahead of Kaegi, giving him his second victory of the season.  MG’s Owen Brandriss claimed third place with Amherst’s Samuel Hare Steig and Wahconah’s Bryan Proctor fourth and fifth respectively.

The Smith family came away with a monopoly on girls’ cross country ski races, with 7th grader Margot Smith dominating the field for her second week in a row.  Amherst’s Hattie Wilder Karlstrom put in a strong second lap to overcome several competitors to claim second place. Lenox’s Emma Jourdain, MG’s Emma Palumbo, and MG’s Tenley Smith rounded out the top five.

Racing again returns to Mohawk High School this coming weekend for two special events – the league’s first classical race on Saturday and the two qualifier races for the Massachusetts EHS and J2 teams on Sunday. Despite a lack of snow and a challenging winter, the skiers of Western Mass are getting in some quality races and staying focused for more action leading up to the State Championships on February 11th.

 

Complete Results:

Berkshire Nordic Ski League – 1-20-14 – Boys JV Results

Berkshire Nordic Ski League – 1-20-14 – Boys Varsity Results

Berkshire Nordic Ski League – 1-20-14 – Girls JV Results

Berkshire Nordic Ski League – 1-20-14 – Girls Varsity Results

 

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