GRAFTON -- Three days before the Grafton Winter Carnival, the person most suited to be its queen made an appearance.
Brattleboro’s Halie Lange ruled over Grafton Ponds on Wednesday afternoon at least, easily winning the Marble Valley League girls Nordic skiing skate championship in a time of 17:31.
"Halie had a nice, relaxed race," said Colonels coach Bill Jahn, who was hosting the 5K heats for six different schools.
Lange’s rival, Rutland standout Chloe Levins, had to miss the event due to a 102-degree fever.
"I do like racing with Chloe. We are fierce competitors when we race, but otherwise we are pretty good friends," said Lange.
The duo had just faced off at Grafton Ponds on Jan. 26, with Lange and Levins battling it out in the 150-meter stretch. The veteran BUHS skier outfoxed the Rutland freshman to win that duel by 1.4 seconds.
"Grafton Ponds did a great job of putting this race on when nobody else could," said Lange of Wednesday’s meet. "This is a fast, technical course. I’ve always liked the laps instead of doing just one lap."
Woodstock’s Carmen Bango (18:49) and MAU’s Becca Romac (18:59) rounded out the top three in the MVL skate meet. Linnea Jahn, who is the only other member of the Brattleboro girls team, wound up 10th in the 30-skier field in 20:46.
The boys race started first on Wednesday, with 40 competitors doing four laps each on a course that began paralell to Route 35, turned right up a hill, winded its way through the woods, dropped back down into the field and turned right back to the starting point.
Parents, coaches and students were spread out along the loop, cheering on the skiers.
"Go, Evan!" shouted someone near the parking lot as Rutland’s Evan Hill started his climb up toward the woods for the first time.
One onlooker had a dog with her. Another was sipping hot chocolate. Several were snapping pictures.
"It’s a nice, friendly atmosphere here," said Edwin de Bruijn, who was there to take photos and support the purple and white.
Rutland’s Isaac Wright, who ended up winning the race in 15:21, showed a burst of speed at the base of the hill during the second lap while in hot pursuit of MAU’s Jeremiah Colbath. At the same time, Brattleboro’s Graham Glennon was closing in on Burr and Burton’s Anders Proft.
Woodstock’s Zane Fields was the runnerup in 15:40, Luke Keenan of MAU took the bronze in 16:06.1, and Glennon finished fourth in 16:06.9.
"It wasn’t a great race for everybody. There was a lack of energy that I’m not clear about why," noted the Brattleboro coach. "I know my kids will be eager to improve on Wednesday."
The MVL classic race will be held at Prospect Mountain on Feb. 13.
Girls Top 10: 1)Halie Lange, Brattleboro; 2)Carmen Bango, Woodstock; 3)Becca Romac, MAU; 4)Christie Harris, Woodstock; 5)Abby Malmborg, MAU; 6)Erin Anderson, MAU; 7)Helena Bigelow, Burr and Burton; 8)Lauren Kaija, Woodstock; 9)Finn McFarland, Woodstock; 10)Linnea Jahn, Brattleboro.
Boys results: 1)Isaac Wright, Rutland; 2)Zane Fields, Woodstock; 3)Luke Keenan, MAU; 4)Graham Glennon, Brattleboro; 5)Will Buckley, MAU; 6)Caleb Cohen, MAU; 7)Harry Linowski, Woodstock; 8)Jeremiah Colbath, MAU; 9)Ben Faller, MAU; 10)Andy Barlow, MAU; 13)Oliver Pomazi, Brattleboro; 14)Declan King, Brattleboro; 15)Austin Lester, Brattleboro; 20)Sam Green, Brattleboro; 25)Colby McGinn, Brattleboro; 27)Jonathon Burdo, Brattleboro; 29)Sam Sherlock, Brattleboro; 32)Jeff Kahler, Brattleboro.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.