Berkshire County Nordic skiers gearing up for end of season
Local cross-country skiers are marching through a winter wonderland with sights set on the MIAA State Championships, which is set for Feb. 25. With states rapidly approaching, skiers will take to Notchview Reservation — the home of the state championships — for the final Berkshire League race of the season today.
First and foremost, the Mount Greylock boys are putting together something special with senior Col McDermott leading the pack.
McDermott has captured first place in all five of the season's races and the Mounties are yet to relinquish first with five teams wins on the year, forcing the rest of the field into a battle for second place.
Early in the season it seemed that the Mounties had a shot at a clean-sweep.
The girls started the season with two-straight wins that featured first-place finishes from Jackie Wells and a strong supporting cast as five Mounties finished inside the 10-top.
However, the Millionaires are proving they have the depth and talent to give Mount Greylock a run for its money, taking races three and four and having at least three of the top-10 finishers in every race thus far.
With the finish line in sight, here is how things are shaping up for Berkshire County's Nordic ski teams.
It is though to look past the season Col McDermott is putting together with five-first place finishes, but Mount Greylock has established itself in the front of the pack with top-to-bottom depth. After missing the cut week 1, Ollie Swabey has four top-10 finishes on his resume, including a fifth-place finish on Jan. 25. Foster Safitsky took second place in the season's first meet and has a third and sixth place finish on the year as well.
Quinn McDermott, Owen Tucker-Smith, Corban Miller and Gabe Gerry have all established themselves as consistent top-10 finishers and have spent the year flirting with top-five finishes to help the Mounties have a commanding presence on the score sheet.
Speaking of a commanding presence, Jackie Wells, along with the Mountie girls, have won three races on the year. However, teammate Brandi Gill is putting together a strong season of her own with four top-five finishes, which is highlighted by a first-place finish on Jan. 25. The power doesn't stop there, though, as Miriam Bakija has third and fourth place finishes in her back pocket on the year. Annie Miller, Juliann Laweson and Elizabeth Dupras are all point-getters for the Mounties, consistently in the top-10.
The Millionaire boys may not have the depth of the Mounties, but it has a strong quartet leading the charge. Ted Yee has five top-13 finishes under his belt, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at Prospect Mountain, back on Feb. 6., and two sixth-place finishes. Speaking of top-five finishes, JT Leger finished third at Notchview on Jan. 11, and Colin Young was 15 seconds behind him in fourth place. The top-tier performances gave the Mounties a run for their money, topping Lenox by just five points. Maxime Leger had a big day for the Millionaires on Jan. 25 at Notchview, clocking in with a second-place performance.
The Jan. 25 meet at Notchview was also a big day for the girls, who topped Mount Greylock for the first time in recent memory, behind top-five finishes by Ava Bachman, Mary Elliot and Aidan Burns, with Grace Elliot right behind them in sixth place. Mary and Grace have combined to finish outside the top-10 just once. For Mary Elliot, she's been outside the top five just once, which was a sixth-place finish back in week one. Since then, she has two fourth-place finishes, along with a second and third place finish. Despite the Mounties winning the most recent race on Feb. 8 at prospect Mountain, the Millionaires are continuing to give them a run for their money. Grace took second and Mary finished third, but were four-points short of first place. Along with Burns and Bachman, Solia Herndon-Schmid is often a top-10 finisher.
The Hurricanes have four third-place finishes on the year with Justin Levesque and Corbin Craig being big reasons why. Levesque has proven he is in the hunt to win any race, with second-place finishes at Notchview on Jan. 11 and Prospect on Feb. 1. In the most recent race, also at Prospect Mountain, he finished with a bronze medal performance. Craig, on the other hand, has third, fourth and fifth place performances on the year to help the Hurricanes bring in the points. Evan Norcross has earned top-20 performances in four-of-five races as well.
On the girls side, Mahar Vienna has three top-20 performances on the year.
Jack Pudlo and Hayden Kendall have set the tone for the Warriors throughout the season, finishing inside the top 20 at every race on the year. Their best performance came in week two, when Wahconah tied Hoosac Valley for third place at Notchview. Kendall finished seventh and Pudlo was right behind him in eighth.
Haley Crosier is the lone Warrior to finish every race inside the top-20 on the girls side and she continues to get stronger as the season develops. She finished with a personal best in the year on Feb. 1, finishing at 15. She topped it on Feb. 8 at Prospect by coming in at 13.
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