Raiders top MUHS girls at Nordic state meet


TIGER SOPHOMORE PHOEBE Hussey bursts out of the starting gates at Rikert Nordic Center on the way to her team-best fifth-place finish in the Division II championship classic race this past Thursday. The Tigers finished second behind U-32 in Division II in the two-day competition. Independent photo/Steve James

MUHS SOPHOMORE PHOEBE Hussey works her away across a flat part of the classic course in the Feb. 20 Division II classic race at Rikert Nordic Center; she finished fifth. The Tiger girls were second in the two-day competition behind defending champion U-32. Independent photo/Steve James

TIGER SOPHOMORE MADDY Stowe glides down a slight slope during last Thursday’s Division II classic race at Rikert Nordic Center; she finished 15th. The Tigers finished second behind defending state champion U-32 in the two-day competition. Independent photo/Steve James

TIGER SENIOR MALIA Hodges competes at Rikert Nordic Center on Feb. 20 in the Division II championship classic race; she finished 13th. Hodges helped the Tigers take second place behind U-32, which won its second straight D-II title. Independent photo/Steve James

RIPTON/JERICHO — Defending champion U-32 overcame a first-day relay-race disqualification and rallied on Monday past the Middlebury Union High School girls’ Nordic team to top the Tigers for the Division II state title, 132-153.

The Raiders and Tigers outclassed the eight-team field in classic racing held on Feb. 20 at Ripton’s Rikert Nordic Center and freestyle racing at the Ethan Allen Range in Jericho on Monday. Lamoille was next with 194, followed by Harwood (203), Burr and Burton (214), Peoples (358), BFA-Fairfax (379) and Stowe (441).

Sophomore Phoebe Hussey led the Tigers on both days, taking fifth at Rikert and sixth at Ethan Allen. Hussey also anchored the Tigers’ second-place relay teams. Senior Malia Hodges (13th at Rikert and 17th at Ethan Allen) cracked the top 20 on both days, and sophomore Maddy Stowe was 15th at Rikert.

Harwood’s Ava Thurston swept the D-II individual titles.

On Thursday the Raiders’ time in the classic relay was good enough for first, but a penalty during the event led to their being placed last and being assessed 80 points instead of the first-place total of 10. As a result, after the first day of competition the Tigers were in first with 70 points, while the Raiders were in fourth with 101.

But U-32 placed its five scoring skiers in the top 12 in Monday morning’s freestyle race to take an 11-point lead into the afternoon relay, and then added another 10 by defeating the Tigers in the final event.

Along with the Raiders and Tigers, Mount Abraham independent senior Addie Harris also enjoyed a successful D-II state meet. Harris took ninth at Rikert in 18:34.9 and eighth at Ethan Allen in 15:59.7.

Two Otter Valley skiers also competed on Monday. Kelsey Adams took 52nd (22:09.5), and Sarah Calvin was 59th (24:58.4).

On Monday, Harwood’s Thurston won the freestyle race in 13:39.9, about a minute of her nearest competitor.

The Tiger competitors were: 5. Hussey, 15:28.8; 17. Hodges, 17:32.9; 23. Isabel Olson, 17:53.4; 24. Stowe, 17:59.3; 25. Astrid Olsen, 18:02.2; 47. Mary Nagy-Benson, 21:07.3; and 50. Catherine Schmidt, 21:22.

U-32 won the relay in 31:56.3. The Tiger team of Hodges, Stowe, Olson and Hussey was second in 34:54.4.

At Rikert, Thurston won the classic race in 15:02.7, a margin of more than a minute and a half.

The Tiger racers were: 5. Hussey, 17:32.5; 13. Hodges, 19:24.5; 15. Stowe, 19:46.4; 21. Olsen, 20:35.6; 33. Olson, 21:14.9; 41. Alison Seaton, 21:56.4; 43. Schmidt, 22:01.5.

 Harwood won the classic relay in 40:52. The MUHS team of Hodges, Stowe, Olsen and Hussey finished second in 41:05.7.

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