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Area Nordic athletes to ski for state

CRAFTSBURY — This past Saturday, nine Middlebury-area Nordic skiers traveled to Craftsbury for a day of racing. The goal was to qualify for one of two teams — an elite high school team and an under-age-16 group — that will represent Vermont in regional youth championship races next month.
In races featuring 126 boys and 101 girls, six of the Addison County teenagers qualified for the Vermont teams. Sam Hodges, Tom Hussey, Nick Wilkerson and Ursula Volz qualified for the elite Vermont team that will race at the Eastern High School Championships, and  Malia Hodges and Jack Christner qualified for the U16 championship team.
Owen Palikir, Cade Christner and Kate Oster also competed at Craftsbury.
All nine of the local racers are Middlebury Union High School students, except Wilkerson, who is a local resident but attends Green Mountain Valley School.
The older group will compete at the Eastern High School Championships, which will held at Mountain Top Inn and Resort in Chittenden on March 17-19. It will feature athletes from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Up to 24 boys and 24 girls are selected for each state’s teams. The Vermont high school elite team is composed of racers from public and private schools. 
The younger group will race at the U16 Championships (formerly J2) to be held at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, Maine on March 10-12. The only difference from the elite team in terms of who participates is that the competitors are all age 14 or 15.
The MUHS Nordic team is preparing for Vermont high school championships, which will take place on two days — this Friday at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton and next Monday at Craftsbury. The Tiger boys are looking to defend their 2016 state title.

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