Sports

U-32 edges Tiger boys’ Nordic team by 7 points

MUHS SENIOR WILL Carpenter crests a rise during Division II classic racing on Feb. 20 at Rikert Nordic Center. He finished 18th and helped the Tigers win relay races at Rikert and during the second day of competition in Jericho.

RIPTON AND JERICHO — Over the two days of the Division II boys’ Nordic state championship, the margin between winner U-32 and second place Middlebury Union High School came down to less than one place per skier in the individual races — seven points.
When the snow settled after the freestyle competition at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho on Monday afternoon the Raiders had claimed their second straight D-II title, 72-79 over the Tigers.
The Raiders and Tigers easily outpaced the rest of the eight-team field in the final standings: Lamoille (163) was third, followed by Burr and Burton (313), BFA-Fairfax (314), Lyndon (359), Harwood (402) and Stowe (426).
The Raiders entered Monday with a 39-42 lead after the first day of competition, classic skiing at Ripton’s Rikert Nordic Center on the previous Thursday.
They then all but clinched the title by taking three of the top five places in Monday morning’s freestyle race and placing all five of their scoring skiers in the top 13.
The Tigers, as they had on Thursday, won the afternoon relay. When U-32 took second, the Tigers had cut 10 points off a 17-point lead, and fell just short.
Junior Jack Christner paced the Tigers. He won the classic race on Thursday, his fourth-place finish was the team’s best in Monday’s freestyle individual race, and he anchored the relay teams to victory on both days.
On Thursday, sophomore Elvis McIntosh, freshman Zach Wilkerson and senior Will Carpenter skied with Christner on the successful classic relay team. On Monday, Lucas Palcsik, Wilkerson and Carpenter joined Christner in winning the freestyle relay.
Palcsik (ninth) and Carpenter (10th) joined Christner in the top 10 on Monday, while Wilkerson (fourth) and McIntosh (10th) cracked the top 10 at Rikert.
Mount Abraham independent Joe Graziadei finished eighth on Monday (14:49.3), and teammate Tanner Harris was 30th (17:35.7). Graziadei (22nd in 16:19.1) and Harris (39th in 18:33.7) also skied at Rikert.
On Monday Raider Jed Kurts won the D-II individual freestyle race in 13:40.3.
The Tiger finishers were 4. Christner, 14:03.9; 9. Lucas Palcsik, 14:50.4; 10. Carpenter 15:03.1; 11. McIntosh, 15:04.9; 12. Wilkerson, 15:10.08; 25. Owen Palcsik, 16:16.2; 35. Gabe Cason, 19:52.2.
The Tiger relay team of L. Palcsik, Wilkerson, Carpenter and Christner won in 25:36.6. U-32 was second in 26:00.6.
On Friday Christner cruised to a big win in the individual classic race, but the Raiders’ depth gave U-32 the overall win — they placed five skiers in the top 11.
The Tigers finishers were: 1. Christner, 13:18.9; 4. Wilkerson, 14:33.4; 10. McIntosh, 15:15.4; 18. Carpenter, 15:54.2; 19. L. Palcsik, 15:58.2; 21. O. Palcsik, 16:11.7; 31. Cason, 17:46.9.
The MUHS relay team of McIntosh, Wilkerson, Carpenter and Christner won in 31:37.3. The Raiders were second in 32:02.

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