Over the weekend the U16 Championships were held at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, Maine. This Championship event is an important step in the NENSA development pipeline. These Championships bridge the gap between the New England Bill Koch League and Middle School skiing to high school racing, the Eastern High School Championships and Junior Nationals. There was a great field of 14 and 15 year old athletes representing Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and a guest team from the Midwest.
The first race of the weekend was the 5k skate held on Friday which went off like clockwork. On Saturday, low temperatures delayed the start of the 5k classic to midday which unfortunately cancelled the skate sprint. Thanks to great race organization and experienced coaches and Team Leaders, all of the teams adapted to the new schedule once mother nature started cooperating.
The most exciting race of the weekend was on Sunday, the team relay! This race has four legs alternating between girls and boys, with two classic and two skate legs. The race began with a girls mass start classic race, which had ample room for a clean start. At the end of each leg, skiers came out of the woods, and though the stadium before tagging off to the next skier. This set up really helped coaches call out numbers and line up skiers in the tag zone. The last leg of the relay was the boys skate. Finn Sweet from Vermont crossed the line with just over a minute lead to win the relay. Adam Carlisle from Team Massachusetts and New Hampshire skier Cal Schrupp battled closely for second and third place with Team Massachusetts earning the 2nd step on the podium by 1 tenth of a second.
The awards ceremony took place at noon on Sunday, where the announcer recognized the race organizers and sponsors. Tony Ramsey gave a special award to Fred Griffin for his work as a TD, Teacher, Coach and for serving as NENSA’s Executive Director for almost 10 years. The top 5 relays teams were called up, and the top three were given local maple syrup and awards handmade with local wood. Team scores for the weekend were then announced, with NY in 5th place, MA in 4th place, ME taking 3rd place, NH in second and Vermont taking the win and the U16 Championship Cup!
The best part of the entire weekend is watching the camaraderie at the start and finish lines between all of the athletes and the unity and support within each team. Friendships are made during this weekend that can last well beyond high school. Thank you to Titcomb Mountain and the Farmington Ski Club for hosting a great weekend of racing. Thank you also to all the parents and coaches who supported these young athletes with food and waxing. And Thank You all to the Team Leaders who keep the teams organized and make sure everything runs smoothly.