If there were any doubts of the skill or tenacity of New England cross country skiers they were put to rest on November 3rd. Hosting the fifth and final race of the 2018 NENSA Bag Balm Series on the doorstep of winter allows athletes and coaches a final competition before seeking on snow training — but also poses the challenge of adverse weather conditions. As teams arrived to the Trapp Family Lodge they were greeted by rain and tree bending wind — however the athletes went about their pre race prep with focus — while organizers readied the course, held a coaches meeting, and finalized safety plans.
It was quite a scene following the racers to the end of Nebraska Valley Road during warm up — with chins tucked into their rain jackets, and rivers flowing through the ditches on either side of the road. With a 15 second start interval – things were quickly underway as racers departed one by one from under the start tent – brandishing wry expressions and showing their grit amidst now mixed precipitation. All told 59 expert skiers set out to challenge the 10 kilometer course which makes a dramatic climb to the Trapp Outdoor Center.
Adam Martin of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP) and Julia Kern of Dartmouth College and the US Ski Team proved to be the class of the field — with the fastest times of the day — showing great form and satisfied smiles at the finish. In the men’s race Martin was followed closely by teammate, Ben Lustgarten and University of Vermont standout, Bill Harmeyer to round out the podium. For the women, Evelina Sutro of the University of Vermont took second place and Caitlin Patterson, who had been undefeated during the 2018 rollerski race season took third.
In the junior field Matias Oevrum and Ben Ogden of UVM took the top two steps of the podium with Wilson Moore of Middlebury College in third place. Jenny Pedersen of UVM had the fastest time for junior women, followed closely by Sophia Laukli of Stratton Mountain School and Mae Chalmers of Middlebury College.
After the race an award ceremony was held at the von Trapp Bierhall to honor the top skiers on the day and recognize the overall champions of the season long race series. In the open category athletes needed to complete 3 of the 5 races in the series to be in contention for prize money provided by Kathy and Marty Hall. The CGRP duo of Caitlin Patterson and Adam Martin each claimed $500 dollars for their outstanding performances in the App Gap Challenge, the Rossignol Fall Classic and the Trapp Invite. Second place and $300 belonged to Ida Sargent of CGRP and Ben Saxton of the SMS T2 Team. Katharine Ogden of Dartmouth College and Kyle Bratrud of SMS T2 claimed third.
Ten colleges participated in the five race series and scored World Cup points for their finishes in the overall results. Early in the series Dartmouth College, Saint Michael’s College and Saint Lawrence University took turns at the top of this list — however the UVM Catamounts finished the season with powerful performances in the final two races and distanced themselves from the other teams. Head coach, Patrick Weaver was awarded the Marty Hall College Cup – a rotating trophy that will again be up for grabs in the 2019.
NENSA would like to offer a special thanks to the Trapp Family Lodge and the Town of Stowe for hosting this memorable event.
Event photos by Reese Brown (sia_nordic):