Thursday, March 14, 2013

J2 Championships

Last weekend the J2 Championships were held at the Holderness School in NH.  Hard to believe after shoveling 10" of snow out of my driveway so I could get to the races, but north of Concord there was practically nothing and Holderness had maybe 1" of new snow and there wasn't that much there to begin with.  So, race courses were a little thin, particularly in the start/finish fields and the first hill.  On top of the course there seemed to be plenty though and the races were a go at Holderness, rather than the back up site at Waterville.  Everyone was happy with that since that meant a 5 min. ride from the hotel and we could set up waxing in our wax room and keep everything there, including all the skis, for the weekend.  Much easier than schlepping up to Waterville and back every day! 

CSU had a fairly small number of J2s competing since several were winging their way to JNs, but they had a big impact on the team.  In the Friday skate race Lewis nailed down 2nd place in smart order, sking much of the race with a Vt skier before putting the hammer down at the end.  Meanwhile, in Wave 2 (wave starts are used with 1 skier from each state team) Joey Carleo was also having an excellent race to come in 7th.  Will Rhatigan was next CSUer in 37th, Sam LaChance 68, Jordan 87 and Aryeh 94.  In the girls race Katrin O'Grady had an excellent race to come in 4th and Talia Seltzer, a little surprised it would seem with her excellent result, finished 6th!  Janelle came in 22, Rebecca Nottonson 60, Izzy 68 and Haley 70.  It should be noted that 2 guest teams from the Midwest also participated with some very good skiiers from CXC again this year and also from Great Lakes (mostly Michigan) who were right at the top in all the races.  Lots of quality competition!! 

On day 2 it was the classic race in the morning with the usual scramble to pick wax in the boiler plate/death cookie conditions rapidly warming toward slush.  Our wax was good, but iced up a bit for the girls, who went first and worked better for the boys as it softened up more.  Katrin finished in 9th and Janelle moved up a number of spots to 16th, Talia 27, Izzy 61, Rebecca 81 and Haley 91.  On the boys side, Lewis nailed down another podium, finishing 3rd this time, followed by Joey 18, Will, moving up a lot to 29, Jordan moving up to 73 and Aryeh 93. 

In the afternoon were the sprints, which with the wave start format, are always fun to watch.  Because we were now dealing with slush, the Holderness crew fertilized the course, which firms up the snow considerably and made the course much better.  Lewis, in a tough race, finished 5th, Joey 18, Will 40, Jordan 91 and Aryeh 95.  For the girls Katrin finished strong in 5th, Talia 14, Janelle 22, Izzy having her best race finished 26th, Rebecca, having her best race 41 and Haley also having her best race 64.  We do well in the sprints! 

Sunday morning dawned early, even earlier with the time change.  That meant the course would stay harder and icier for the 10am relay race start.  However, coach Voisin had a great wax suggestion which gave awesome kick on the icy first big uphill, so we went with that.  The relay starts with 2 classic legs, followed by 2 skate legs, boys starting this year.  I missed watching the start due to wax touch ups, but Lewis got out in good order for our top team, and I think handed off to Katrin in 2nd.  Katrin got up the hill smartly, chasing one of the midwest teams, but then had a fall and lost a couple spots.  She handed off to Joey, who was still in the hunt and Joey's pole handle came off when someone stepped on his pole.  Good friend Nat Lucy was there to hand Joey a pole, but it was Nat's classic pole so Joey was a bit lop-sided the rest of his leg.  He then handed off to Talia on this all-CSU team who skated hard and eventually got by a couple of girls to bring the team in in 7th. 

That concluded a great event with sun and warmth, good skiing and hard racing.  Massachusetts finished in its usual 4th, but we were about 500 points better than last year, so a good performance by the team.  Full results are HERE.  A few photos:

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