March 19, 2009
By Mal Boright
Coach Sarah Strack and her Champlain Valley Union High Nordic ski team, some 65 strong, can look back on a successful winter campaign.
Skiers from Champlain Valley Union High's Nordic ski team line up at the start of a race held at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington earlier this winter.
“We had a great season,” Strack said early this week in assessing the season that wrapped up a couple of weeks ago with state meet events at Stowe and The Mountain Top Resort just north of Rutland.
Senior John Dixon’s third place in the 5-kilometer freestyle race at Stowe led the Redhawks to a fourth place finish. The boys also took fourth in the classic event at The Mountain Top, with Dixon in eighth place among individuals.
Strack said there was additional drama in the four-person, 2-kilometer relay competitions both days.
In the freestyle, Strack said sophomore Jake Marston, sophomore Ben Epstein and senior Sam Hughes had good runs in the first three legs. Dixon, in the anchor position, was about to make a pass into second place when he was accidentally tripped by another skier.
A few days later, the same relay team, with the team in overall fifth place after the individual classic competition, pulled out a strong performance that lifted the Redhawks into fourth in the final team standings.
The girls took overall third place in freestyle and fourth in classic.
Senior Danika Frisbie was 10th in individual freestyle and 13th in classic, pacing the Redhawks in both events.
Senior Molly Hebert was 13th in freestyle and junior Annie Jackson took 18th. Sophomore Sierra Frisbie garnered 18th in classic while senior Virginia Farley was 19th.
Each of the individual events for both boys and girls had as many as 80 athletes at the starting gates.
Jackson, Hebert, Farley and Danika Frisbie comprised the girls relay teams and got credit from Strack for “two solid thirds.”
According to Strack, Danika Frisbie hopes to continue in Nordic competition next winter as a University of Vermont student and is also considering biathlon participation.
Farley is bound for St. Lawrence University and possibly more distance skiing.
Dixon, whom Strack called a dominant force in his fourth winter of competition, just missed a slot on the U.S. Junior Olympic team. The coach said he finished 37th in Junior Nationals among 50 top competitors. The top 30 moved on.