Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Maine Eastern Cup weekend

Jamie will undoubtedly post some photos of all our skiers looking quite speedy, but I figured I should fill in some of the words. This may get long, I get all gushy when my athletes ski so well. The weekend featured a classic sprint on Saturday, and a skate distance race, individual start, on Sunday. The sprint course was pretty flat, and a lot of the top guys just double poled on skate skis. This was clearly the approach for the Craftsbury Green Team gorillas, but for everyone else, kick wax was the way to go. I think Eli, Jordan, Calvin, and Greg all also tried the double pole approach, with varying degrees of success. Sunday, the course veered in the opposite direction, sending skiers up the alpine mountain for a pretty tough climb. J2s did that climb three times, women did it six times, and the men did it eight times. That's a lot.

Sprint day:
CSU had a pretty banner day on the women's side on Saturday. Led by Corey in first, we put seven CSU women into the senior heats - Corey, Julia, Zoe, Rebecca, Cate, Olivia, and coach Alex. Coach Doro also almost qualified for the heats, ending up in 34th place! Blake had an outstanding day, ending up as the 13th junior after the senior heats - the top 12 made it to the junior heats. Bittersweet, but a great race! Rosie had a good day too - in her words, if she were a J2, she'd be in the J2 heats! Ah, the curse of when your birthday happens to fall. Kaytie improved her seed spot by over 10 places, and Katie looked really smooth and confident out there. Great skiing from everyone!

Among the J2 girls, we had more outstanding performances. 12 J2s advanced to heats after the senior heats, and Charlotte and Hadley were our athletes in that race. Both qualified easily for the A final, and Charlotte had a breakthrough day, where she realized that the trick to winning is just to beat everyone else, and she did that with ease. Hadley took third, also making it look easy!

In the men's race, Eli qualified for the senior heats. Although he didn't advance from the quarterfinal, he skied a smart race, and it was fun to watch the heat. Calvin had a day similar to Blake's, in that he was the 13th junior after the senior heats, so just missed mixing it up in the junior heats. Jordan had a good day too, showing off what happens when you are a strong double poler on a power course, and Greg, Ian, Nathan, Sean, and Ryan were close behind.

The J2 boys had three CSU skiers in the heats: Chris, Max, and Jacob. Chris skied easily into the A final, but then didn't quite have the oomph left to win the heat. Jacob unfortunately got tangled up in his semifinal, and fell on the downhill, losing his momentum, but he rallied well and ended up 10th overall, 4th in the B final. Max showed off his double pole technique, and out-poled his competitors in the finish to take first in the B final. Gavin and Lewis didn't quite make the finals, but as first-year J2s, they got a great experience out there nonetheless!

Distance day:
We had a surprise overnight when the hotel had a fire alarm in the middle of the night, but luckily that didn't seem to affect anyone's racing, and CSU skiers were ready to rock on the tough climber's course. J2 boys went first, and our guys skied really great. Gavin led the way in 3rd, proving that he is indeed a fantastic climber, and Max had his best result yet this year, ending up 5th. Chris toughed it out in 9th place, and Jacob was 15th, with Lewis just behind in 17th, all climbing smoothly, and descending fast.

The J2 girls were next, and the CSU gals put on an outstanding show, with all five girls in the top 7! These are some fit ladies. Julia took 1st, and Zoe was 3rd, just seconds behind her friend and rival Katherine from SMS. The next five seconds had three skiers, with Hadley in 4th, and Charlotte in 6th. First-year J2, Katrin, was 7th place, in her first EC! They made that hill look easy.

Next up were the women, with six laps. Due to a head cold, Corey sat out, but the other's picked up where she left off. Olivia and Cate led the way in the top 30, showing us what fitness really is, with Olivia posting a personal best 8th place! Coach Maddy came out of retirement (about time!) with a solid finish, and Rosie had a really good day too. Rebecca had a tougher day, battling an upset stomach, and I won't repeat what I overheard Blake and Katie saying to each other about the race... but despite not having the finishes they were hoping for, they were super supportive of their teammates, and had a really great positive attitude.

The final race of the weekend was the men's 11km, 8 lap, sufferfest. Cathy Schen counted laps for the boys, a very necessary task when you have race brain on a hilly course. Eli led the day, as the top junior overall, and only two minutes out from the leader, in 18th. Ian, Rion, and Calvin were all clumped not too far behind Eli. I swear Rion didn't slow down at all between any of his laps, and Ian made that hill look easy. Nathan was just behind that group of guys, skiing smoothly for each lap. Sean had gotten a nice ride off of Rion early on, but discovered that pace was a bit too fast for 8 times up that hill, and faded a little. Greg skied really smoothly, showing some nice technique improvements, and Ryan had a fitness breakthrough - "how did that feel?" "It felt AWESOME!" And he wasn't even being sarcastic!

Overall, we had some great performances, and some breakthrough races. Keep up this great attitude, CSU!

No comments: