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Nordics Take Second Place In Opener

By Jessica Kleiss

The nordic ski team had its first regular season races this past weekend, after a long week of training camp in Quebec. Tired, but hungry to race, the skiers made the 12-hour journey from Mont Sainte Anne to their meet in Rochester, New York. The three women skiers, MIT’s first full women’s team in four years, tied for second place with Cornell, behind top-ranked Clarkson.

Teams present at the meet included Clarkson, Cornell, West Point, Skidmore, Alfred, and Colby Sawyer College. Saturday’s race was a 10K classic-style for both the women’s and men’s teams. Jessica Kleiss ’00 led the way for MIT, finishing second place. Teresa Hung ’02 and freshman sensation Jessy Baker rounded out the women’s team with 7th and 10th place finishes, respectively.

The rapidly rising temperatures and rough trail conditions made ski waxing especially difficult for the men’s race. Defending national champion Sam Coradetti ’02 overcame the difficult trail conditions and managed a 6th place finish, followed closely by Jim Berry ’00 and Tim Garnett ’02 in 7th and 8th places. Other finishers included Derek Southwell ’01 (10th), Chris Testa ’03 (17th), Brad Olsen ’03 (20th), Karl Magnus Mcletchie ’02 (25th), and Alex MeVay ’01 (27th). The top three men gave the Engineers second place behind Clarkson, whose top three skiers swept first, second, and third places.

Hungry for redemption, both the MIT men’s and women’s teams faced a skate relay on Sunday. The men’s 3 x 8 kilometer relay was suspensefully tight, as Southwell, Berry, and Coradetti skied neck-to-neck the entire race with the Clarkson relay team. Just 300 meters before the finish line, Coradetti powered into a speed burst to pull ahead of Clarkson, securing a victory for the men. MIT’s second men’s team of Garnett, Olsen and Testa finished with an impressive third place finish.

The women’s 3 x 5 kilometer race was equally exciting and victorious. Baker flew into the tag zone just meters ahead of Cornell. Hung held onto a solid second place, despite taking three wrong turns during her race. When Kleiss took over, Cornell had taken the lead by 45 seconds. Kleiss tore up the course, passing Cornell by the 4 kilometer mark, and finishing with the fastest women’s time of the day.

Saturday evening entertained a refreshing 1.5 kilometer moonlight sprint. The trail was dimly lit with torches, but the sprinting skiers had to use their night vision and ski racing intuition to navigate the trail. MIT had an incredibly strong finish, taking first in both the women’s and mens competition.

After months of searching, the team is excited that they have finally secured a coach for the team. The nordic Engineers look forward to a successful season on the snow.