Coaches corner: SMS sees success at NENSA Eastern Cup
Way up at the northernmost tip of Maine you will find the town of Fort Kent and the beginning of US 1, the longest North-South road in the United States, stretching as far south as Key West, Florida. Fort Kent was far from the warmth of the Florida sun however, which was perfect conditions for the first of the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) Eastern Cup Series races.
This past weekend, young nordic skiers from New England and Canada gathered in this small town and braved frigid temperatures and biting winds to prove who was the fastest sprinter and distance skier. Among these young athletes were local students from Stratton Mountain School (SMS).
Two days of intense competition yielded top results for the SMS team, which was just coming off of two weeks of training in Quebec, Canada. Ben Ogden (Landgrove) led the charge with a third place result in the Skate Sprints while following it up with a 1st place finish in the individual 10k Classic the next day. He was followed close behind by teammate Conor Munns (Jericho) who placed ninth in the sprints and seventh in the 10k Classic. In the women's race, Anna Lehmann (Windham) set the pace with a fifth place finish in the sprints. Right behind her was Mae Chalmers (Landgrove) who placed eighth in the sprints and fifth in the 5km Classic.
Other top performers for the SMS nordic team were Asa Chalmers (Landgrove) and Nina Seeman (Bondville), both of whom competed in the U16 division for skiers aged 16 and under. Chalmers placed eighth in the U16 sprints and eighth in the U16 5km Classic and was followed by teammate Gavin Blauch (Minnesota) who finished twelfth in the sprints and thirteenth in the 5k Classic. Seeman qualified for the Open Sprint heats, automatically scoring her as the top U16 girl and moving on to compete against U18 and U20 athletes where she placed twenty-first, just a few spots behind teammates Lillian Fisher (Brattleboro), who placed sixteenth, and Charlotte Ogden (Landgrove), who placed eighteenth. Seeman also finished second in the U16 5km Classic. Full results can be found on nensa.net.
The SMS Nordic season continues with a few skiers headed to Alaska for the L.L. Bean US Senior National Championships in early January, while the rest will be preparing for the next Eastern Cup Series, to be held in Middlebury in mid-January.
George Forbes is an Assistant Coach for the Stratton Mountain School Nordic Ski Team.
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