Colonels sweep freestyle races
Gallagher won the girls race in 17:01 and Freitas-Eagan prevailed in the boys race in 14-minutes flat, leading the Brattleboro Union High School Nordic teams to victory in the Marble Valley League freestyle championships.
"This is a tough course because the snow is all choppy, but these kids give 100 percent regardless," said BUHS assistant coach Dave Johnston. "We are feeling really good about the future. It's all coming together for us at the right time, with the states a little over a week away."
Fans lined the 5.2K course, which is located on 40 acres of farm land that also includes two barns, a farm house and a creamery. Among them were vocal supporters Hank Lange and Edwin de Bruijn.
"Come on, Izzy (Isabelle Small). Go get 'em. You're doing great," screamed an MAU fan during the girls race. "Come on, Sarah (Umphlett). Nice job!"
The Brattleboro girls defeated their rival Patriots, 14-26, in the team event. Gallagher struck gold, Isabella Thurber took silver in a time of 17:41, Liz Morse wound up fifth in 18:08, and Elery Loggia finished sixth in 18:17, to lead the hosts.
"It's a good course, but it's very tough with all of the hills," noted Morse. "I think our teams have been doing well. We've been winning a lot this year."
There was a cold wind and the snow was pretty soft, making things difficult on the 56 total varsity skiers from BUHS, MAU, Burr and Burton, and Woodstock. Each of them participated in a staggered start, climbed 100 yards uphill, followed a trail that resembled the top portion of a heart, and descended back down toward the tree line.
"Looking good, Phelan (Muller)," shouted a Colonel fan as the boys race got underway.
The home crowd was treated to a powerful move by Freitas-Eagan, who chased down BBA's Ned Carter by the time he got to the warming shelter halfway up the hill.
"I think I did pretty well," stated the race winner. "The second-place skier was closer to me this race than he was last race, but I think I was tired from racing in the Eastern Cup."
Freitas-Eagan (1st), Spencer Loggia (4th), Galen Fletcher (7th), and Colin Costa-Walsh (9th) teamed up to earn Brattleboro the MVL freestyle team crown. The Colonel boys ended up with 21 points, while MAU took second with 33 points and Woodstock scored 46 points for the bronze.
After earning the No. 9 ranking for his age group in the Eastern Cup race series, Freitas-Eagan will be competing in the Junior Nationals in Lake Placid next month.
"I'm super psyched about this. It's been my main goal this season," said Freitas-Eagan, who added that he uses the cross-country running season to get ready for Nordic skiing.
He recently placed 14th overall during an Eastern Cup heat at Rikert.
"It's incredible that he has made Junior Nationals," commented coach Johnston. "He has the mindset. He is totally focused."
Girls race top 10: Sarah Gallagher 17:01, Isabella Thurber 17:41, Natalie Jelley 17:42, Allie Boudreau 17:43, Liz Morse 18:08, Elery Loggia 18:17, Annie Takacs 18:33, Bella Takacs 18:34, Bri Zipprich 19:01, Bethany Hassett 19:10.
Boys race top 10: Isaac Freitas-Eagan 14:00, Matthew Bassette 14:07, Justice Bassette 15:00, Spencer Loggia 15:20, Ben Doucette 16:15, Jack Drew 16:19, Galen Fletcher 16:22, Austin Buttle 16:37, Colin Costa-Walsh 16:38, Orion Stone 16:54.
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