Freitas-Eagan defends Nordic freestyle title

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CRAFTSBURY — Seventy-degree sunshine on Wednesday was a strange prelude for Thursday's

freestyle leg of Vermont's State Nordic Championships. Back into winter mode by race day, the Brattleboro Union High School boys and girls teams did exactly what they have done all season, showing their strength and depth in challenging conditions.

Skiing first for Brattleboro was Nolan Holmes, who due to his early start time was able to give some valuable course details to teammates with later starts, such as, "Everyone's trying to find firm snow, so just pick the quickest line, and don't be afraid to go fast on the downhills."

Good advice.

As finish times rolled in, Mount Mansfield racked up the 2nd, 3rd , 4th , and 14th fastest times of the day, but the boys from Brattleboro held their own against everyone else. In a field of 83 skiers, Holmes skied to a solid 47th, followed by Colin Costa-Walsh in 44th, Orion Stone in 29th, and Henry Thurber just ahead in 27th.

Then it was time for Brattleboro's four scoring skiers. Galen Fletcher raced into 23rd, Sam Freitas-Eagan laid down an impressive 20th, Evan Koch powered to 15th, and Isaac Freitas-Eagan, defending State Champion, showed Vermont what training on the hilly back roads and trails of Guilford can do for a skier. In a time of 12:37, he secured back-to-back titles.

In the girls race, despite the dynamism of Mount Mansfield's team, who had finishers 4, 5, 6, and 10, Brattleboro illustrated that purple is a very fast color.

Angelika Toomey bested half of the day's 81 racers with a 40th place finish. Just ahead was Alexandra Miskovich in 39th, and sisters Annie and Bella Takacs were 29th and 24th respectively. Scoring for BUHS were Elery Loggia in 22nd, Liz Morse in 16th, Isabella Thurber in 15th, and Sarah Gallagher in 8th.

The afternoon's 4x1.5k relays were fast and furious. In the boys relay, Koch, Sam Frietas-Eagan, and Fletcher maintained enough contact with southern Vermont rivals Woodstock and MAU for Isaac Freitas-Eagan to skate past them to a 4th place finish behind MMU, Middlebury, and U32, and hold the team's 2nd place finish within D-1.

The girl's race began haphazardly and concluded magnificently. Isabella Thurber got tangled up in the commotion of the mass start, but then skied brilliantly to go from last place to 3rd place to tag Loggia within seconds of the two leading teams. Loggia and 3rd leg Morse held 3rd place for Gallagher to finish comfortably behind MMU and U32, maintaining the team's 2nd place in D-1.

The Nordic State Championships will conclude Monday at Rikert Nordic Center, with individual and relay races in the classic technique.

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