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Nordic Skiers Dominate USCSA Regional Championships

By Jessica Kleiss

The Nordic Ski team brought home some gold and silver at the USCSA Regionals competition last weekend in Jericho, Vermont. MIT raced to victory ahead of rival teams from Clarkson, Cornell, West Point, Colby Sawyer College, and Skidmore.

Extreme uphill stretches made the course challenging for all racers. Freshman Chris Testa surprised the entire field with a victory in the men’s 10K skate race. “I love mass starts. If there’s a guy ahead of me I can just stick onto his tail, and pull past him at the finish line. I hate skiing alone in the woods,” said Testa.

Senior Jessica Kleiss matched Testa’s gold in the women’s race, pulling ahead of the competition from the first crack of the gun, and widening her lead throughout the course.

The nordic women’s team, the first full team in four years, won the regionals competition and brought home the team title and trophy. Freshman Jessy Baker had a strong race on Saturday, fighting with a crowd of skiers for the first half of the race, and finishing 4th over all. Teresa Hung ’02 came in 8th, securing a team score of 14 points and winning the skate race, just one point ahead of West Point Academy. In the classic race, Kleiss took second, and Hung and Baker took 6th and 7th, securing a wide margin of victory over all other women’s teams. “I’m so excited that we have a full women’s team this year,” exclaims Kleiss. “Our ultimate goal is to win the team title at the Nationals three weeks from now,” she said.

The nordic men had an excruciatingly tight skate race, with a pack of top skiers racing neck-to-neck right into the last 2K. Sam Coradetti ’02, Derek Southwell ’01 and Jim Berry ’00 finished 4th, 5th and 6th, their final times within 30 seconds of one another (the total race takes just over 30 minutes).

Jim Berry led the men in the 15K classic race with a third place finish, despite some inacurate splits given to him by cheering fans. “Some say it cost me the silver,” observed Berry. Tim Garnett ’02 and Coradetti finished in 5th and 6th places. Although the men’s team won the skating race, their performance in the classic race on Sunday left them one point shy of taking the meet, so they relinquished the Regionals trophy to the Clarkson men’s team.

This weekend the skiers will test the competition at the NCAA Middlebury Carnival Qualifiers, followed by their USCSA Nationals competition on March 8-12.