Dublin School hosted the Lakes Region Championships on Wednesday, February 15th at the Nordic Center. With over three feet of freshly fallen snow the Nordic Center was in spectacular condition for the skiathlon style event. The Lakes Region League is made up of fourteen prep schools from four different New England states. The Championship race called for a mass start in the classic technique. Each skier would ski a 3km lap on our World Cup level trails then return to the start/finish stadium area, change into their skate equipment with the clock running, and then head out on a separate 3 km skate loop before returning to the finish line. The top four skiers placing in the race would count toward the team score, with the next two racers on the team staying in the team scoring as “displacers.”
On a historic day for Dublin skiing, both the boys’ and girls’ teams won the team events and Calvin Bates (Dublin, NH) and Lilly Bates (Dublin, NH) took the overall titles in the individual races.
The day started with the girls’ mass start. Lilly, Agnes Macy (Dublin, NH) and Robyn McIntosh (Chelsea, Quebec) got out in the lead pack trailing behind a skier from Proctor who was a co-leader with Lilly in the season rankings. Unfortunately, the strong Holderness team could not make it to the races due to a snow storm up north. Lilly made a move on Rope Tow Hill (where the school’s famous rope tow used to be) and passed the Proctor skier, establishing a lead that she would not relinquish. Agnes entered the exchange zone in third and started making up time on the Proctor skier in third. Thanks to our expert timers, Pat and Lindsey Masterson, we were able to time the skiers in the “pits” and Robyn had one of the best pit times of the day and left the exchange in 5th place.
One could see the anticipation building as fans poured into the “Wildcat Woods” spectator area to watch the lead changes about to take place. John Morton designed these trails to be fan friendly and people were amazed that they could see their skiers up to ten times during a 6km race. Soon a roar went up from the fans deep out on the course as Lilly made her way down from the top of Beech Hill, through the S-turns and into the finish area with a commanding forty second lead over Vermont Academy’s Australian sensation who had moved past the Proctor skier out on the course. Just behind her a battle was developing between Agnes and the Proctor skier. Agnes was briefly in third place, but fell behind on the final downhill before making a courageous move at the finish line. She came up just short going for an inside move and ended up in a solid fourth place position—not too shabby for a ninth grader!
Robyn had one of the best races of her season and finished fifth. One of the other big stories for the girls was their all important fourth scoring racer. Sita Moses (Dublin, NH) moved up from her typical position around thirtieth place and finished fifteenth, sealing the win for the girls! Olivia O'Rourke (Peterborough, NH) had to pull out of the race as she recovered from skiing in the Canadian Marathon the previous weekend. We were all impressed to see rookie skier Theresa Barth (Alexandria, Virginia) finish the race and compete in her first championship. This was the second LR Championship race victory in a row for the girls after winning last year’s event at Proctor in a surprise upset.
The boys race had a competitive field and season leaders Calvin and GH Werowinski (Acton, MA) from Dublin took the lead from the start with a senior from Proctor in hot pursuit. The coaches tested ten different waxes before settling on the proper kick wax, but some of our skiers still struggled with their kick. The tracks that Steve had set so professionally in the snowcat had glazed up with all the skiers skiing on them, and finding the balance between good kick and fast skis became harder and harder. Parent Sean Macy and Coaches Lindsey Masterson and Alison Weber did an amazing job of getting everyone’s skis just right for each individual. Senior Ryan Hyde (Hollis, NH) had an awesome first leg and entered the stadium for the exchange just behind the lead pack. Unfortunately, like many other competitors, he lost track of where his skate skis were and lost valuable time in the exchange. He did not give up and came through with an important finish, ending up in fifteenth place. Ryan provided a great example to our younger skiers of showing resilience when you are devastated on the inside.
Calvin maintained a small but comfortable lead over George Henry and the Proctor skier, and earned the victory in his final home race as a Dublin skier. It was fun watching Calvin gliding through the trees so beautifully on trails he has spent so much time training on through the years. George Henry continued his remarkable rise in New England skiing by finishing in the silver medal position. At one point in his prep school career George Henry was struggling to finish in the top eighty! He has worked incredibly heard to earn this speed. Revealing the excitement we all have for the future of Dublin skiing, ninth grader Quinn Wilson (Dublin, NH) continued to improve his classic skiing and move up in the ranks. He entered the exchange in fifth, lost some time to St. Paul’s top skier in the pits, and then actually caught up to him on the skate leg before finishing in a close fifth place.
Seniors Jared Lewis (Bennington, NH) and Mark Franklin (Keene, NH) served as Dublin’s displacers and helped contribute to the Dublin boys first ever Lakes Region title. John Sandstedt (West Newton, MA) and James Wolpe (Dublin, NH) finished in the top fifty. Riley Hodson (Guilford, CT) finished just behind them. We only wish John and Riley had started skiing before their senior years! AJ Lee (Hong Kong), Grady Allen (Shepherdstown, WV) and Ethan Stanhope (Nassau, Bahamas) rounded out the Dublin team and earned valuable experience heading into next year.
We wrap up our regular season next week with a Wednesday sprint relay at the Weston Ski Track and the New England Championships at Vermont Academy on Saturday. Thank you to our coaches, buildings and grounds staff, kitchen and volunteers for all the work that went into putting on such a great event for the athletes!