This has not been a good winter for skiers. The lack of snow and warm temperatures made it difficult to get out and ski. But thanks to the extensive snow making at the Weston Ski Track, the Wayland Nordic Ski Team has had a place to practice and compete all season.
That practice paid off.
The MIAA Nordic State Championships were delayed two weeks and moved to the Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center in Woodford, Vt., due to the limited snow in western Massachusetts, where the event is usually held.
In the girls’ race, perennial powerhouse Mt. Greylock took first place, as expected. But the race for second place did not go as expected. The Wayland Warriors finished ahead of their league rivals and the rest of the teams in the state to capture the second place trophy.
“This was a good day for us," Wayland coach Chris Li said. "All season we finished behind Acton-Boxborough and Lincoln-Sudbury. But today our girls put in an incredible effort and pulled off an upset.”
The Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center is at the site of an old downhill ski area. The eight kilometer (approximately five mile) course is hilly and challenging -- a true test of endurance.
The top finisher for Wayland was sophomore Phoebe Morss. Morss finished in ninth place, earning a top-10 State Championship medal in just her first year of skiing.
Sophomore Elizabeth Karpacz was next in 13th place. Team captain Hannah Brigham, a junior, finished right behind Karpacz in 14ht place.
The top four finishers from each team determine the team score. After scoring their first three skiers, Wayland was in second place by the slimmest possible margin -- the Warriors led Acton-Boxborough by just one point.
The race for second place came down to the fourth skier for each team. Junior Alice D’Orlando was fourth finisher for Wayland. D’Orlando crossed the finish line in 34th place, in a dead heat with the fourth finisher from Acton-Boxborough. This was just enough to preserve the one-point lead and bring home the second place trophy from the State Championships.
The other girls on the Wayland team skied well, too. Juniors Rebecca Harris (46th) and Julia Lavenson (58th), sophomore Meg Kuhn (60th) and senior Sam Kovolson (100th) joined their teammates at the finish line.
“I love this team," said team captain Brigham. "We have fun together and we work hard together. We skied for each other today and took second place at States!”
The Wayland boys’ team also had a good day. The Warrior boys were led by two freshmen, Paul Longnecker and Elijah Bucher. Longnecker finished in 38th place. Bucher was close behind in 45th place.
Sophomore Jacob Rudelson, in 75th place, was the third Wayland finisher. Junior James Longnecker rounded out the Warriors scoring, finishing 77th. Junior Eli Lord was the final skier for Wayland in 109th place.
“Our boys’ team is young and inexperienced," Li said. "They did quite well today, especially considering that we only had five skiers. I am looking forward to having them all back again next year.”
The event ended with all of the teams getting together to dance to the music in the snow. There were lots of smiles on the faces of the Wayland skiers.