EHSC – Better Late than Never!
So, a little more than two weeks ago Ashton, Marcello, Leela and myself headed 5 hours north to Presque Isle for three days of competitive racing at the Eastern High School Championships. Gould qualified 5 skiers; Sadie went to JNs (AND CRUSHED IT! See these results for instructions on how to crush it); and, Rachael opted to peak at J2 festival.
This post is coming a little late as it took this long to recuperate from the 10 hour round trip drive to Presque Isle…just kidding, we were on spring break and the spring skiing was fantastic.
Working backwards, here are the three Gould Nordic representatives all tuckered out after three long days of racing in the cold northern tundra:
Leela was especially wiped out after racing both the J2 festival and EHSC on back to back weekends! Nonetheless, she skied with guts and determination at EHSC, working her way into the middle of the pack after being seeded in the back of classic mass start. Her first lap chutzpah impressed me and I was caught off guard seeing her so far up after one lap. She faded a little, the first race over 5k is definitely a learning experience for every skier, but still ened up 64th, almost 40 spots better than her seeded spot. She also managed to help the Maine girls with a win in her sprint heat and a convincing relay leg. We can’t wait to see what sophomore year holds for Leela!
Leela headed back through the stadium in the 5k skate:
Ashton and Marcello both enjoyed a variety of interesting scenarios over the weekend. Ashton, the 1st alternate for the Maine team, got the call-up only a day or two before the event. He managed to find his way up to Bethel and got to experience his first major NENSA Championship weekend. Here he is, happy to finally make it to Presque Isle:
Marcello, at this point a veteran of the J2 Fest/EHSC scene, seemed to be a little too relaxed with the event, losing his poles in the woods before the sprint race (probably searching for lighter sapling options; he is the preeminent voice of innovation in ski technology on the Gould Nordic squad. Thanks to Silas Eastman, winner of every individual race and future Colby skier, for providing ‘Cello with temporary replacement poles), and suffering through minor falls and a broken pole in several of the other events. Next year we might have to limit the pre-championship winter camping…
Aside from these minor anecdotes, the boys raced well. Marcello got faster as the weekend wore on. Still feeling the lingering effects of pneumonia, he battled to a 31st overall on the weekend, highlighted with a 30th in the sprint and a 34th in the classic mass start.
Ashton followed Marcello in the upward trend in results as the weekend drew to a close. He bettered his distance race results by 30 places with a 46th in the sprint and put in a relay leg that advanced his team two places. Aside from the results, Ashton was happy to finally put on the Maine team suit and represent his state after 4 years of trying. I don’t think there was a much more fitting way to end his high school ski career then with his first trip to Eastern High Schools! Congrats Ashton!
Here is a sequence of photos that show what EHSC is all about. We wanted to beat Vermont, but just being there and racing against kids who care about the sport as much as you is worth the effort. Marcello demonstrated this sportsmanship after the classic race, thanking a Vermont skier for the awesome race:
Post-race regrouping…then a post-race handshake:
Maine didn’t win the overall championship but we were damn close. It was a great weekend by all and now I think we have inspiration for summer training!
[I’m still recovering from EHSC after taking a fall on the second set of S-turns. Later I found out I cracked a bone in my shoulder…thank goodness I brought the roto brush!]
Ashton working a transition:
Girl’s Mass Start:
Leela sprinting with her heat well behind her: