|Holly Whitney races to 19th during the women's mass start classic|
Friday's 5 and 10 k skate races were held under cloudy and calm skies, with temps hovering around 30 degrees. The men raced first and placed three in the top thirty, for a combined team score of fifth: Dimitri Luthi was just outside the top ten in 12th, Isaac Hoenig in 19th, and Vanya Rybkin in 24th. The women were next, and Christina Knapp led the team to a 6th place finish with a PR skate race in 27th, while Hannah Smith placed 33rd and Hlly Whitney 35th.
Though the forecast called for overnight snow, we were unprepared for the storm that hit Stowe that night. Going to bed with lightly falling flakes, we then awoke to a power outage and a new blanket of white that was 4 inches and building. Though the groomers were on the race course until an hour before race time, they could not keep the tracks clear, the cover building nearly an inch an hour. With the additional 15-20 mile an hour winds and frequent gusts of 30mph, the stadium where the racers started, finished, and lapped through was the white-out howl of a cyclone center.
But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Holly, Christina, and Elena Luthi skied most of the mass start 15 k race together, using team work to pick off their competition. By the time Holly emerged from the woods for the finish stretch she was powering through side-blowing snow in order to cross the line in 19th place! A senior, Holly earned her career best appropriately at the end of her career. Christina finished close behind, in 21st, and Elena crossed in 26th. With these scores, the women placed 6th as a team.
The classic tracks for the men's race were even more snowed in, but as everyone was racing at the same time in the same conditions, there was no complaining to be done; only fast racing. And the fastest race for the men came from freshman Vanya Rybkin. Vanya, who hails from Alaska via Russia, perhaps felt as though he was right at home, skiing across the Arctic or Siberian tundra. He skied quickly into the lead pack and never let go, crossing the line in 10th as the team's top points score of the weekend. Kalle Jahn had his career best finish as well, skiing from a first lap rank of 46th all the way up to a finish place of 27th. Rounding out the men's score for 6th was Dimitri, in 33rd.
Our two NCAA qualifiers are Dimitri and Will Wicherski. Dimitri finished the EISA season ranked 8th and Will finished in 19th. As the highest ranked freshman, Will also earned the honor of "Rookie of the Year"!! (Will has been racing the World Junior competition in Erzerum, Turkey this past week (Reprezent!) so did not compete at the Regional competition).
(Photo albums are updated, as well)
|Dawn of the Mass Start Classic Day: Coach Fisher starts brushing out the no-wax skis|
|Knappster, Elena, Holly, pack-ski during the race|
|Hannah Hausman and Aubrey feed racers in a gusty stadium|
|Vanya races to 10th!!!|
|Isaac storms through the storm|