May 28, 2020

CVU vies for nordic championships this weekend

By Lauren Read

Observer correspondent

The high school nordic season is coming to a close and the sport is preparing to crown its champions and the Champlain Valley girls and boys teams are right in the mix.

With the classic championship on Friday, Feb. 24, at Rikert Nordic Center in Middlebury and the skate meet on Monday, Feb. 27, at Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, the Redhawks will have two days to earn their spot at the top of Division I.

“One of the big things that we are focusing on right now is enjoying the process, enjoying the team and having fun and letting the results fall where they fall,” said CVU coach Sarah Strack.

“We certainly like to set goals of being in the top three for the states, but we try not to make that all that we focus on.”

The CVU boys will paced by an experienced group with Tyler Marshall, Baxter Bishop, Harken Spillane, Jack Koskinen and Justin McAuliffe all looking to lead the way. Marshall finished third in the state meet last year, while Bishop finished fifth.

“We can only control what we can control that day and in that time,” Strack said. “That is what we try to make our focus on.”

The Redhawks will be chasing last year’s D-I title holder Mount Mansfield, who finished ahead of CVU last season.

On the girls side, Champlain Valley will be relying on a mix of experienced seniors and young freshmen to capture their first D-I title since 2014. But with North Country returning the team that blew away the competition last season and Mount Mansfield always in the hunt, Strack knows it will be a tough test.

“North Country looks to be competitive, MMU looks to be competitive,” Strack said. “It’ll be fun.”

Sophia Gorman, Jane Servin, Carly Alpert and Meara Heininger lead the senior-heavy group, while freshman Emma Strack will be a key racer for CVU.

“They are a fun group to coach,” Strack said. “They enjoy skiing and they enjoy each other’s company.”