Area Nordic skiers excel at Frost Mountain

CRAFTSBURY — Frost Mountain Nordic Club skiers posted solid results at the first race of the New England Nordic Skiing Association Eastern Cup, a freestyle event held on Dec. 21 at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
The late-December event was the first in a series of eight in what is the region’s premier racing circuit for junior skiers and that determines which athletes will represent New England at the Junior National championships. 
Highlighting the efforts of the Ripton club’s skiers was a third-place finish by Sophie Hodges in the under-16 girls skate sprint race. In that event all the athletes competed in 1-kilometer time trials and then were sorted into six-person heats, with the top two skiers in each heat advancing.
Coach Cam MacKugler said Hodges had a strong effort.
“Sophie skied brilliantly through her qualifier and semifinal, and pushed the pace in the finals making for a tremendously exciting race to the finish,” MacKugler said.
In the U-16 boys’ race, Sam Hodges was 17th, and Nick Wilkerson took 25th. In the U-18-girls’ race, Dorothy Punderson took 138th.
Frost Mountain alums Alia Johnson and Britta Clark also competed in competitions for older skiers. MacKugler said Johnson, now racing for Middlebury College, placed second in the U-20 women’s final heat, and Clark, now skiing for Bates, qualified for the Open Women’s heats and ended the day in 22nd.
The planned Dec. 22 classic distance race was cancelled due to the ice storm.

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