MUHS skis to two D2 Nordic crowns

RIPTON/CRAFTSBURY — Buoyed by senior Ursula Volz’s two individual wins, one by junior Sam Hodges, and victories in three out of four relay events, the Middlebury Union High School girls’ and boys’ Nordic ski teams both claimed Division II state championships in the two-day competition that concluded on Monday.
Volz won the girls’ D-II 5-kilometer skate race at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center by more than a minute Monday, and claimed Friday’s classic 5K at Ripton’s Rikert Nordic Center by about 30 seconds, with freshman teammate Malia Hodges in second.
Sam Hodges won Friday’s D-II boys’ classic 5K by more than a minute, and his time was good enough to have won the D-I competition. MUHS junior Tom Hussey took second.
Hodges joined senior Harlow Punderson, Hussey and junior Cade Christner to win both the four-by-2.5K classic relay at Rikert on Friday and the 4×2.5K skate relay at Craftsbury on Monday. Their classic relay team also bettered that of Champlain Valley, the D-I winner and eventual champion.
Volz skied with Malia Hodges and seniors Amelia Ingersoll and Isabel Rosenberg to pick up a crucial 20-second win over Harwood in Friday’s 4×2.5K classic relay. Volz overtook Harwood’s anchor-leg skier to give the Tigers the win and a 16-point first-day lead, enough to stave off Harwood’s comeback on Monday. Harwood came in second in the skate relay on Monday behind U-32, with the Tigers in third.
The Tiger girls won with 82 points, followed by Harwood just five points behind. U-32 (125), Fairfax (288) and Peoples (323) trailed in the five-team field.
The MUHS boys picked up a convincing win, scoring 71 to second-place U-32’s 114. Woodstock was third at 199, and Stowe, Harwood, Craftsbury, Burr & Burton, Peoples, Fairfax and Lamoille were well back.
It was the second year in a row that the Tiger boys claimed the D-II title.
In Division I, the North Country girls defended their 2016 title, joining the CVU boys as champions.
On Monday in Craftsbury, Malia Hodges (sixth), Ingersoll (eighth) and Kate Oster (10th) joined Volz in the top 10 in the skate 5K as scoring skiers for the MUHS girls. Hodges, Ingersoll, Oster and Volz skied for the Tigers’ third-place relay team.
For the boys on Monday, Hussey (second), Hodges (fifth), Christner (ninth) and Punderson (14th) scored for the Tigers in the 5K skate race.
On their home course on Friday, behind Volz and Hodges at first and second in the girls’ classic 5K, Rosenberg and Ingersoll scored in seventh and eighth, respectively, while Caroline Kimble (ninth) also cracked the top 10.
For the boys’ in the classic 5K at Rikert, behind Hodges in first, Hussey (third), Christner (eighth) and Punderson (12th) also scored. 
In the girls’ skate 5K on Monday in Craftsbury, the top 10 plus MUHS/Mt. Abe finishers in the top 20 were: 1. Volz, MUHS, 14:58.9; 2. Emma Curchin, U-32, 16:02; 3. Madeline Strasser, HAR, 16:08.8; 4. Jordan Kulis, HAR, 16:09.6; 5. Hodges, MUHS, 16:15.5; 6. Ruby Lamb, U-32, 16:18.7; 7. Anneka Williams, HAR, 16:19.6; 8. Ingersoll, MUHS, 16:33.6; 9. Marie Kyle Hekeler, HAR, 16:57.3; 10. Oster, MUHS, 17:14.8; 12. Rosenberg, MUHS, 17:23.3; 13. Kimble, MUHS, 17:25.9; 17. Addy Harris, Mt. Abe, 18:05.6; and 18. Katherine Koehler, MUHS, 18:10.
The U-32, girls’ relay team captured first in 33:05.8, followed by Harwood in second in 33:22 and the Tigers (Hodges, Ingersoll, Oster and Volz) in third in 33:37.3.
In the boys’ skate 5K on Monday in Craftsbury, the top 10 plus MUHS finishers in the top 20 were: 1. Anders Hansen, Craftsbury, 12:11.4; 2. Hussey, MUHS, 12:15.8; 3. Henry Hoffert, U-32, 12:17.5; 4. Matthew Bassette, Woodstock, 12:17.6; 5. Hodges, MUHS, 12:19.1; 6. Noah Eckstein, Harwood, 12:22.8; 7. Matt Lawlor, Lake Region, 12:46.2; 8. Justice Bassette, Woodstock, 12:46.7; 9. Christner, MUHS, 12:49.7; 10. Stephen Looke, U-32,, 13:05.3; 14. Punderson, MUHS, 13:19.7; and 17. Julian Schmitt, MUHS, 14:00.9. 
The Tiger boys (Hussey, Christner, Punderson and Hodges) won the 4×2.5K relay in 26.05, followed by U-32, (26:31.7) and Woodstock (27:48.3).
In the girls’ classic 5K on Friday at Rikert, the top 10 plus MUHS finishers in the top 20 were: 1. Volz, MUHS, 17:46.9; 2. Hodges, MUHS, 18:16.5; 3. Kulis, HAR, 18:18.7; 4. Curchin, U32, 18:54.7; 5. Strasser, HAR, 19:16.5; 6. Williams, HAR, 19:19.8; 7. Rosenberg, MUHS, 19:20; 8. Ingersoll, MUHS, 19:30.2; 9. Kimble, MUHS, 19:41.5; 10. Hekeler, HAR, 19:42.4; 12. Oster, MUHS, 19:53.3; 14. Koehler, MUHS, 20:22.2; and 18. Claire Wulfman, MUHS, 21:01.9.  
The Tiger girls’ team (Hodges, Ingersoll, Rosenberg, Volz) took first in the 4×2.5K relay in 37:48.4, with Harwood (38:08.7) in second and U-32 (40:48.9) in third.
In the boys’ classic 5K on Friday at Rikert, the top 10 plus MUHS finishers in the top 20 were: 1. Hodges, MUHS, 13:37.8; 2. Eckstein, HUHS, 14:38.2; 3. Hussey, MUHS, 14:39.4; 4. M. Bassette, Woodstock, 14:39.9; 5. Lawlor, Lake Region, 15:02.1; 6. Hoffert, U-32, 15:06.6; 7. Hanson, CA, 15:12.9; 8. Christner, MUHS, 15:35.4; 9. J. Bassette, Woodstock, 15:37.2; 10. Seivwright, Springfield, 15:37.5; 12. Punderson, MUHS, 15:39.7; and 17. Schmitt, MUHS, 16:22.6.
The Tiger boys’ team (Hussey, Christner, Punderson, Hodges) took first in the 4×2.5K relay in 30:04.2, with U-32 (31:01) in second and Stowe (32:12.4) in third.

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