Saturday, December 30th: to most, New Year’s Eve Eve, but to some, this date marked the first race of the Berkshire Nordic Ski League. As usual, the league’s competitive season opener was held at Woodford, Vermont’s Prospect Mountain, famous to Berkshire skiers for its beautiful conditions, killer hills, and, of course, its mouth watering cookies and brownies. When skiers arrived at the course at approximately 8:30 in the morning, however, they were more excited to find warm shelter in the lodge than to race, as the temperature was, in the words of Greylock coach Mark Santella, “a balmy zero degrees!” The league, which meets every saturday for seven weeks, usually puts on five races: a varsity race for boys and girls, a junior varsity race for boys and girls, and a beginners’ race for first year skiers. As the boys’ varsity skiers left the start line at 10:00, the black, white and red race suits of the Mounties soon emerged at the front of the pack and it became clear that a new year for the league had not brought a new result.
Junior Jakin Miller won the boys’ race in fifteen minutes, twenty-four seconds. Not far behind were his teammates, senior Jacob Adams (15:47), freshman Corban Miller (16:24), and junior Aidan Duncan (17:09), who finished fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively. These impressive finishes gave the team a low score of just 16, giving them an almost thirty point lead over second place Amherst. Other varsity racers on the boys’ side included senior Ethan Schoorlemer, freshmen Col Mcdermott and Gabe Gerry, and senior Sam Edge, who all finished in the top fifteen. The boys’ roster bodes well for the rest of the season, as it is clear that no other team in the league poses much of a threat.
On the girls’ side, similar results were apparent. The Mounties swept the top five, led by sophomore Brandi Gill, who completed the five kilometer course in just eighteen minutes, forty-five seconds. The next four skiers came in close behind, and all wore red: in second was senior Lilly Wells, a new addition to the team, who finished one second ahead of sophomore Helen Greenfield. A minute later freshman Hazel Scullin crossed the line, with seventh grader Lainey Gill, who was making both her Mt. Greylock Nordic and her varsity debut, right on her heels. Senior Ariel Dupras, freshman Elizabeth Dupras, and sophomore Amelia Murphy also completed their first varsity races, and all held spots in the top twelve. With six more regular season races coming up quickly, the girls’ team clearly has depth, from which it will draw considerable success as it moves through a (hopefully) snowy winter.