Tiger boys’ Nordic dominates! MUHS is state champ

RIPTON — The Middlebury Union High School boys’ Nordic team last week claimed the Division II state championship in dominant fashion — with a two-day performance at the Rikert Nordic Center that probably would have been good enough to also win the D-I title.
The Tiger boys breezed to wins in all four D-II events, the 5-kilometer freestyle race and the freestyle relay on Tuesday, and the 5K classic-style race and classic relay on Thursday.
Their times in the relays, 21:33.7 on Tuesday and 23:36.4 on Thursday, not only easily outdistanced D-II runner-up Woodstock by more than a minute and a half on Tuesday and D-
II runner-up U-32 by almost a minute in the Thursday race, but also bettered D-I champion Mount Mansfield’s efforts by more than 17 seconds on Tuesday and about 50 seconds on Thursday.
The Tigers’ four scoring skiers and relay racers — junior Nick Wilkerson, sophomore Sam Hodges, and sophomores Thomas Hussey and Cade Christner — all finished in the top 17 in Tuesday’s freestyle race and then in the top 15 in Thursday’s classic event, scoring 34 and 23 points for the team, respectively.
Wilkerson led the way with a second-place effort in the classic and was fifth in the freestyle, while Hodges took third in both the freestyle and classic races. MUHS did not win any individual titles, but their overall score for their top four skiers in the individual races was better than the overall scores for any other D-II team.
With 10 points for winning the two relays, the Tigers finished with 77 points, 92 points ahead of second-place U-32 (169). Stowe (185) took third and Harwood (233) fourth in the nine-team boys’ field.
The Tiger girls finished fifth in an eight-team field with 271 points. U-32 showed strong on the girls’ side with 72 points, but the competition was closer: Woodstock took second with 102, followed by Harwood (134).
Junior Amelia Ingersoll paced the Tiger girls by taking ninth in the classic race and 11th in the freestyle. Both Tiger relay teams finished fifth.
Mount Abraham independent Morgan Pratt also enjoyed a strong championship week, finishing 14th in the freestyle (16:23.1) and 24th in the classic race (18:45.9).
The three Otter Valley girls participating were paced by senior Emma Cijka, who was 37th in the freestyle, and junior Sophie Wood, who was 45th in the classic race.
Rikert had originally been set to host only the second day of Nordic championship racing, which had been scheduled for March 1. But Prospect Mountain Nordic bowed out because of a lack of snow, and Rikert, with its snow-making capacity, agreed to step up and host both days. Due to Rikert’s obligation to host Middlebury College’s Winter Carnival on Feb. 27-28, events were scheduled this past Tuesday and Thursday.
The winner and the Tigers’ 5K freestyle results from this past Tuesday were (all placements are overall, not for scoring purposes; first four racers score):
• 1. Anders Hanson, Craftsbury, 11:47.4; 3. Hodges, 11:58; 5. Wilkerson, 12:16.3; 11. Hussey, 12:39; 17. Christner, 13:04.2; 20. Haven Tate, 13:53.3; 22. Harlow Punderson, 13:39.2; 37. David Dregallo, 14:43.8; 47. Ross Crowne, 15:37.9.
The winner and the Tigers’ classic 5K results from this past Thursday were:
• 1. Scott Mooney, Peru, 12:31.3; 2. Wilkerson, 12:44.5; 3. Hodges, 12:54.8; 7. Hussey, 13:25.7; 15. Christner, 14:20.4; 21. Harlow Punderson, 14:47.9; 23. Haven Tate, 14:49.4; 34. Julian Schmitt, 15:49.1; 36. David Dregallo, 15:59.6.
The winner and the Tigers’ and Otters’ 5K freestyle results from this past Tuesday were:
1. Abby Kaija, Woodstock, 14:25.3; 11. Ingersoll, M, 15:52.3; 14. Pratt, Ind., 16:23.1; 22. Katherine Koehler, M, 17:19.8; 27. Caroline Kimble, M, 17:49.3; 31. Kate Oster, M, 18:43.6; 32. Claire Wulfman, M, 18:35.7; 35. Signi Livingstone-Peters, M, 10:05; 37. Cijka, OV, 19:43.8; 38. Audrey Huston, M, 19:47.3; 42. Wood, OV, 20:05.4; 64. Brittany Danforth, OV, 24:19.9.
The Tiger free relay team of Ingersoll, Koehler, Kimble and Oster finished fifth in 30:17.15. U-32 won the event in 25:50.8.
The winner and the Tigers and Otters’ classic 5K results from this past Thursday were:
1. Kaija, Woodstock, 15:39.7; 9. Ingersoll, M, 16:54.2; 22. Koehler, M. 18:22.6; 24. Pratt, Ind., 18:45.9; 26. Oster, M, 19:03.4; 28. Kimble, M, 19:20.1; 32. Wulfman, M, 19:57.9; 34. Livingstone-Peters, M, 20:31.9; 36. Huston, M, 20:47; 45. Wood, OV, 23:11.8; 46. Cijka, 23:12.3; Danforth, OV, 28:46.3.
The Tiger classic relay team of Ingersoll, Koehler, Kimble and Oster finished fifth in 32:32.6. U-32 won the event in 28:26. 

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