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Nordic Skiers Place Well in Mideast Conference


Jiri Schindler--The Tech
Jeffrey Doering '99 positions himself in front of the other two racers in his wave in Saturday's 10-kilometer freestyle in the Midwest Conference regional nordic skiing championships.

By Jiri Schindler
team member

Jeffrey Doering '99 placed fourth in a 10-kilometer classical race and Lynn Cornell '96 finished fifth in a 10-kilometer freestyle race in the Mideast Conference regional nordic skiing championships held this past weekend in Salmon Hills, N.Y.

After participating in four weekend ski meets this season and placing respectably in each of the eight races, the nordic ski team qualified for the MEC regional championships which were originally scheduled in Lake Placid, N.Y. However, the quirks of this winter forced the race to be relocated to an area with snow.

The MEC officials originally planned a Saturday morning men's 15-kilometer classical race and a women's 10-kilometer with a 3x5-kilometer mixed relay in the afternoon. However, because of the last minute location change, a 10-kilometer freestyle for both men and women race was scheduled instead.

The men's race started at 3 p.m. with an interval start of three racers every 30 seconds. The women's race followed one minute after the start of the last man.

The race course was set on a 10-kilometer loop so the racers went around only once. This together with the lack of distance-to-finish markers made it hard for the racers to pace themselves.

"Ithought Ihad about 2K left, but as Icame out of the corner on the steep downhill Iwas surprised to see the yurts [in the finish] right in front of me. If Iknew the finish was right there Iwould have pushed harder on that [last] uphill," said James Berry '99.

"Igot confused around that loop when Isaw people coming at me so Iturned around after about 500 feet and went clockwise," Cornell said. The poorly marked section of the course probably cost her one place.

Despite these two shortcomings, the course was well prepared with had hard-packed granular snow. Occasional icy spots made the course fast and suitable for a freestyle race, especially in the downhills.

"I loved cutting the corners tightly, and Ipassed several people that way," Doering said.

The freestyle race was won by Alfred University's Timothy Gorbold with a time of 27 minutes five seconds. The first MIT skier to cross the line, Jeffrey Doering, placed eighth with a time of 0:30:58 followed by his teammate James Berry who finished 11 seconds behind him in 0:31:09. The third MIT skier, Jiri Schindler G, finished 18th in 0:35:19 out of 32 racers.

The women's race was won by Sophie Hartshorn from Cornell University in 0:31:30. Lynn Cornell finished fifth with a time of 0:37:01 and her teammate, Rebecca Metrick '98, finished 21th in 0:59:30 out of 24 racers.

The Sunday 10-kilometer race was set on a 5-kilometer loop which received three inches of fresh snow overnight. However, the tracks were still set in the icy base which made waxing challenging because of the different characteristics of the moist fresh powder and the old hard and granular snow.

"Ihad a good kick, but at one spot Iwas passing someone in a turn and was forced to go on the outside [with the fresh powder] which caught my ski and Ifell," Berry said.

The classical race started at 9 a.m. with two racers starting in 30-second intervals, with the women going first.

The women's regional championships was won by Sophie Hartshorn from Cornell University in 0:48:28. The first MIT racer, Lynn Cornell, finished 11th with the time of 0:58:55, and Metrick placed 20th in 1:17:18.

The men's regional championships classical race was won by Gorbold in 0:40:07. Doering finished strongly in fourth with a time of 0:44:01, while Berry finished in 11th with a time of 0:46:26, and Schindler finished 17th in 0:49:40 out of the 34 racers.

The MEC regional championships concluded with an award ceremony. The best female racer trophy went to Clarkson University's Katie Johnson and the the best male trophy to Steven Halasz from Cornell University. The overall best team of the MEC was Cornell University.

The nordic team finished a solid season and qualified for the USCSA National Championships in California but will not compete.