The Essex girls’ and boys’ Nordic ski teams competed in the Division I Vermont state championships that completed last week and both placed fourth overall. The two-day meet included a freestyle (skate) race held on Feb. 20 at Rickert Nordic Center in Middlebury and a classic race held on Feb. 25 at Mount Top Nordic Center in Chittenden. Both events included a 5-kilometer race in the morning followed by a four-person relay in the afternoon, with the results from the freestyle and classic races combined to determine overall results.
In the boys’ freestyle race, Essex was led by captain Ethan John, who enjoyed his finest freestyle race of the year with a sixth-place finish in 14:49. Steven Maloney was the second Hornet across the line in 17th-place, covering the course in 15:22. The strength of the “pack” was evidenced in the race, with the next three skiers separated by 21 seconds. Andry Chmykh covered the course in 16:06 for 23rd place, Peter Feehan in 16:08 for 24th, Caleb Guziak in 16:13 for 26th and Colby Pastel logged a time of 16:27 for 33rd. Freshman Neil Hutcheon also skied a strong race for 60th-place. The relay team was made up of John, Guziak, Feehan and Maloney, who shocked spectators and coaches alike by finding themselves on the podium with their third-place finish, 13 seconds ahead of perennial power MMU.
In the classic race, John demonstrated that he is not a one-trick pony with another sixth-place finish, skiing the 5-kilometers in 16:17. The “pack” showed up again, with Guziak, Chyyka and Maloney finishing 21st, 22nd and 24th, respectively; all three skiers crossed the line within 14 seconds of each other. Feehan had a nice day on the course with a 27th-place result. Jeff Schultz (39th), Colby Pastel (44th) and Hutcheon (65th) skied solid races as well. In the relay race, MMU turned the tide by edging the EHS relay team by 8 seconds for third place. The fourth-place Hornet team was made up of John, Maloney, Chmykh and Guziak.
The combined results for the boys freestyle, classic and two relay races had CVU winning the Division I title, followed by Mount Anthony, Mount Mansfield, Essex, Colchester, Rutland, St. Johnsbury, BHS, Brattleboro, NCU and BFA-St. Albans.
In the girls’ freestyle race, Essex was led by sophomore Chole Lemmel-Hay, who finished 14th with a time of 18:13. Just 20 seconds behind in 20th-place was freshman Annemarie Martell. Sophomore Feora Leveillee, skiing with an almost effortless technique, was 32nd. Katie Moino, Sarah Tallman and Maria Grant all skied strong races to finish 50th, 51st, and 52nd, respectively, with only 11 seconds separating the trio. Madison Corkum was 55th and senior captain Ellie Pinto was 56th. The afternoon’s relay team made up of Lemmel-Hay, Monio, Leveillee and Martell finished fifth.
Lemmel-Hay’s 13th-place finish in 19:20 in the classic race led the way for the girls’ squad. Lemmel-Hay was supported in the scoring by Moino, who saved her best race for last as she nailed the course for a 30th-place finish and a time of 21:01. Martell was 32nd with a time of 21:14 and Sarah Tallman skied the icy downhills with an aggressive style for 38th-place in a time of 22:11. Feora Levillee, Ellie Pinto, Grant and Madison Corkum finished 41st, 46th, 53rd and 58th, respectively. The relay race saw the EHS team of Lemmel-Hay, Tallman, Martell and Moino get off to a slow start and move up through the field for a solid fourth-place finish.
The combined results for the girls’ freestyle, classic and two relay races had CVU winning the Division I competition, followed by Mount Mansfield, Mount Anthony, Essex, Burlington, Rutland, BFA-St. Albans, NCU and Colchester.
The 2014 season was a smashing success for both the boys’ and girls’ Nordic teams at Essex, as they enjoyed their best results in over a decade.