EC #2 - Lake Placid
February 4, 2024
EMXC went into the weekend prepared for chilly temperatures (we saw a high of 5 degrees F on Saturday) and classic skiing. The icing on the cake for the weekend was that the races were combined with a Supertour, so our athletes got to race against the best - including at least one 2022 Olympian!
Both races this weekend were classic races - the first a classic sprint and the second a 5/10k classic mass start. These two race formats are perhaps the most exciting, both for the athletes and the wax team. Sprinting is always fast and thrilling and mass starts give the athletes a chance to race head-to-head with their competitors. The addition of classic waxing and testing for the athletes made this weekend extra busy. Athletes came bundled and prepared with multiple base-layers, face tape, toe warmers, and hats - the works for skiing in the cold. The wax team was quite possibly even more bundled than the athletes!
Saturday, January 20th: Classic Sprint
Saturday was the coldest day of the weekend, and the short race distance gave the athletes a chance to get back inside right after their races finished. The day started off with two qualifier races - boys first, then girls. All athletes raced a 1.6k loop. The top 30 from each race moved on to open heats. Those athletes who did not make open hearts could qualify for age-group heats if they placed in the top 30 (U18/20s) or top 18 (U16s) of their age group after those in the open heats. Jasper Lloyd qualified for the U16 heats and Fran Tucker Qualified for the U18/20 heats!
Sunday, January 21st: Classic Mass Start
Sunday was another busy day, with four different races happening amongst EMXC skiers. First we had the women's 10k mass start, where four U18 gals including Sarah, Fran, Polina, and Hannah all competed. Fran Tucker had a great race for the day; placing 35th overall - an impressive feat considering the competitive field. Hannah, Polina, and Sarah all placed in the top 75 of the field!
Next up was the men's 10k race, which just might be the most skiers I've ever seen in a mass start race, as over 200 people lined up at the start! EMXC boys made up 18 of these 200 skiers. This race was an eventful one that included a pileup somewhere around 100 meters from the start. Some of our athletes managed to evade the pileup, but many got stuck in the pileup and spent part of their races trying to catch back up to the rest of the field. We saw some gritty performances, and the athletes stayed tough and didn't give up despite this setback. Ian Brenner was our top finisher in 61st, with Jared Rife (71st), Tyler Merrit (78th), Will Walton (80th), and Sam Currie (84th) in a group close behind.
The U16 5k races were in the afternoon, with the girls going off first. Abby Kirincich, Keira McNeil, and Anneka Doughty held down the U16 girls field for EMXC, with some really strong and consistent striding from all of them! Abby placed in the top 20; a best result for her. Our U16 boys came through strong as well, with Nolan McNeil as our top finisher in 23rd place. Zach Scopinich-Burgel and Jasper Lloyd were right on Nolan's tail, demonstrating the strength of working together! Brendan McVey and Eddie Zeng also demonstrated this strength by skiing almost the whole race together and putting in two top-35 finishes.
Between the excitement of racing and waxing, there's a lot going on behind the scenes that helps the EMXC machine run. We had a fantastic crew of parent volunteers helping wax skis, organize equipment, run the food table, and cheer for our athletes. It's an impressive system and we couldn't have successful races without these parents - thank you!
There was also a lot of team support going around this weekend, as athletes were bundling up to face the cold and cheer on their teammates after they finished their races. Overall, we saw the fun and supportive atmosphere that ski racing creates, and are excited for more next weekend at Craftsbury!