GIANTS RIDGE—Mother Nature offered up starkly different conditions for the Ely boys and girls skiers here last Thursday and Friday, and it had an impact on the final results of the state high …
GIANTS RIDGE—Mother Nature offered up starkly different conditions for the Ely boys and girls skiers here last Thursday and Friday, and it had an impact on the final results of the state high school Nordic ski competition.
Ely standout skier, senior
Jasper Johnston, who raced in fresh snow and below-freezing conditions on Friday, finished in the top five at the statewide contest for the second year in a row, while Ely’s other contenders finished lower in the pack.
“Jasper had a solid classic race and the top six boys in that race were separated by seconds,” said Ely Head Coach Paula Anderson. “He had a great skate race and ended up in 5th place, out of 3rd by 1.4 seconds.”
Ely’s other male competitor, junior Gabriel Pointer, had a solid meet, finishing 69th overall, although the course didn’t play to his strengths, noted Anderson. “He is mostly a climber and the course was pretty flat,” she said.
While the fresh snow and colder temperatures favored fast times for the boys, remarkably mild temperatures and marginal trail conditions on Thursday, hampered Ely’s two female competitors, sophomore Zoe Devine and classmate Phoebe Helms. “Zoe was a little frustrated with not feeling as competitive as she would have liked, but she gave it her best anyways,” said Anderson. “The girls meet was super challenging with the warm temperatures,” said Anderson. The classic race, in particular, proved daunting as the racers struggled to find the right wax for the conditions. “Most of the girls in the field were using zeros which are a waxless racing ski for 32 degrees and above,” said Anderson. “Unfortunately, our girls don't own zeros, so we struggled in the classic race.”
Both Devine and Helms fared better in the skate portion of the competition, helping to lift their overall marks.
Devine finished in 34th place in the skate portion of the contest, an improvement on her 39th place finish in the classic, for an overall finish in 35th place. Helms finished in 76th place overall, on the strength of her 60th place showing in the skate competition.
While Ely will lose its top skier with Johnston’s graduation this year, three of its four state competitors will likely be returning to the course next year, setting the stage for another promising season.