From Head Nordic Coach Justin Beckwith:
The Nordic team concluded its competitive season last week in Craftsbury, Vermont. We had some great racing to cap the season, but all our efforts paled in comparison to the staff of Craftsbury that produced a high quality race series despite the intense "pre-summer" that swept over Vermont the week prior.
It was a fitting end to a season where we mostly skied on manmade snow -- just
up the road on trails the kids were all very familiar with. By the time
Super Tour Finals rolled around we had already raced three times at Craftsbury
this winter. Super Tour Finals (STF) was the final stop on the domestic racing
scene for 2012, which drew in the best from the US Ski Team, many of the top
juniors from throughout the country and a few international standouts as well.
GMVS was well represented by our current athletes and alums. The STF consisted of a four part race series with a 3km prologue, a distance classic race, a classic technique sprint, and the grand finale -- the Jay Peak hill climb. Three of our athletes (Halvorsen, Halvorsen, Cirelli) participated in the entire tour and Junior Devlin Shea chose to compete in the Prologue and Sprint. We had alumni racing for several programs including: Tim Reynolds (Craftsbury Green Team), Dylan Grald (UVM), David Sinclair (Dartmouth), Doug DeBold (Middlebury) and Peter Kling (Alaska Pacific University). The alumni also took on the National Championship 50km race which concluded the week of racing.
The prologue was a 3km skate race. Devlin Shea ’13 (Junior 1) and Hans Halvorsen ‘12 (Older Junior) turned in solid performances, with each placing 10th for their age group. Heidi Halvorsen ‘13, fresh off her European Tour had an impressive start to the series, placing 27th overall and 2nd for Junior 1 girls. MK Cirelli PG ‘12 was just 28 seconds back and took 6th for the older junior (OJ) girls. The alumni were led by Tim Reynolds with a 12th-place finish in the men’s race, a solid start to what would be a great week for our training partner and team mentor. David Sinclair turned in an impressive race finishing 25th, good enough for the second place finish for juniors on the day.
The distance classic was a mass start event, with the men doing 15km and the women 10km. It was a difficult race with slushy snow and a crowded 2km loop with fields of nearly 100 skiers doing 4 and 6 laps of a figure 8 course. MK led the team overall and placed 7th in the OJ Girls. Heidi was just behind and was the 6th J1 Girl. Hans struggled a bit with some slippery skis and ended as the 13th OJ. Sinclair was the 7th junior.
The classic sprint was great for the Gumbies -- perhaps our best day as a team on snow all winter. Heidi Halvorsen smoked a fast time around the prelim and placed 18th overall, qualifying for the Open Women's Final, where she would face off against this year’s World Cup Sprint Globe winner, Kikkan Randall. MK placed as the 11th junior, and made the Junior B final. With dynamic skiing she made the A Finals and went on to place 6th. Hans and Dev followed up on the ladies’ success with Hans qualifying as the 9th junior and the Speed Devil (Shea) taking the 15th spot. Hans gained speed all day and lunged for a second place finish in the Junior A Final. Dev skied awesome and finished 8th in the B Final.
3 alumni made the open heats where Reynolds took 11th, Peter Kling 25th, and Doug Debold 30th.
On the final day of the Tour, skiers were pitted against the Stateside Hill at Jay Peak. Skiers were started based on their time behind the Overall Leader. Hans, Heidi and MK proudly skied up the mountain and concluded their season with the hardest race of the year. Sinclair showed his aerobic power and skied to the 5th fastest time for juniors.
That concluded the current Gumbies season, but on Saturday we had several alums contest the National Championships for the 50km. The event was held on a 1.6 km loop that the competitors would ski 33 times! In what I believe is the best result by any GMVS Nordic skier, Tim Reynolds skied an amazing race from start to finish and stepped onto the podium for the bronze! Dylan Grald was close behind much of the race, skiing in the top ten until the last laps, he finished in 15th place -- another fine race for the recent NCAA National Championship Team Member. Kling took 35th and Sinclair 45.