Shenendehowa girls, Queensbury boys claim Nordic ski titles on warm day

A skier wearing shorts and a t-shirt holding two poles

Shenendehowa's Raquelle Landa skis up the 'A' hill at the North Creek Ski Bowl Wednesday, skiing one of two laps on the 6.6km course during the Section II Nordic Ski Championships in North Creek.

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NORTH CREEK — Shenendehowa skier Raquelle Landa withstood the elements to capture the Section II girls’ Nordic title Wednesday at the North Creek Ski Bowl with some help from her coaches and inspiration from a teammate.

Landa raced the 6.6 km two-lap course in 24 minutes, 12.3 seconds, edging Glens Falls’ Clary Avery at 25:12, who was followed by Plainsmen teammate Courtney Krawiecki at 26:18. Iris Wiedmann finished sixth at 27:56 to help Shenendehowa claim the girls’ title in unseasonably warm conditions.

“I was really worried that we weren’t going to have a good kick [part of her stride], because it’s so warm,” Landa said. “We had been testing skis, and what I was testing just wasn’t working out too well, but the coaches did some magic with our race skis, and it ended up working out really well.”

Wednesday’s championships were moved from Lapland Lake in Benson to the Gore Mountain site due to unseasonably warm conditions. The crew at Gore Mountain was able to make snow and groom the entire cross country ski course for Section II.

Like several of her teammates, Landa opted to race in short sleeves and shorts for her late-morning race.

“My teammate Jake [Perkins], he always wears shorts and races,” Landa said. “I wasn’t going to today, but as I was warming up, I was, like, ‘Geez, it’s really warm out.’ If there was ever any day to wear racing shorts, today would be the day.”

Krawiecki embraced the site change to North Creek, but not the wardrobe change.

“I do like this course a lot better because of the ‘A’ [hill] climb, and I really like that it’s two laps,” Krawiecki said. “You know how far along you are, and just the hills, it’s more challenging. The more challenging, the better.”

All of the Nordic coaches were focused on ski maintenance prior to the boys’ race, followed by the girls’ event.

“We saw the the temperature going up pretty quickly, and we tried a couple of colder waxes and they worked initially, but then tested them 20 to 25 minutes later and we ended up just saying, ‘All right, we’re going to go with the warmest wax we have and hope it holds,’” Shenendehowa assistant coach John Salls said. “We were kind of aggressive with it. They seem to be happy with it, which is great.”

Mayfield senior Fianna Halloran carried the torch for the Panthers as the lone girls’ entry, finishing ninth overall, also racing in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt.

“I came prepared. I had a lot of different options, but as soon as I got out here, the sun was beating down on me, I had to wear as little as I could,” Halloran said. “With a lot of layers, I feel that it makes me claustrophobic. I can’t breathe, so I just felt that I had an advantage wearing as little as I could.”

She carried the torch passed on to her by last year’s senior stars, Madison Relyea and Delaney LaFontaine.

“I miss them. We’re like sisters out there. We had a lot of fun,” Halloran said. “They made the team really fun, so I was a little sad when they left, but I’ve got a crew here and they’re all fun to ski with. They’re all my friends, so it’s bittersweet.”

Queensbury captured the boys’ title, led again by Ben Jenkin, giving the Spartans a five-year run with the boys’ individual champion. His brother, Lucas Jenkin, took the top spot the three previous years.

Jenkin embraced the change of venue from Lapland Lake to the North Creek Ski Bowl.

“We’ve come up here a couple of times for practice and when we’ve been able to go out,” Jenkin said. “I drove up on the weekends quite a few times, so that’s awesome.”

His familiarity with the course helped him cover the course in 19:42.6, ahead of Glens Falls’ Forrest Slingerland at 20:35 and teammate Alden Guay at 22:29.

“The wax isn’t really great, so I had to rely on my coaches, so I thank them for that,” Jenkin said. “They said don’t go out too fast, go out slower, drink a lot of water, which I tried to do.”

As far as the race plan — “Yeah, I went out fast again.”

Johnstown senior Trey Naselli had the advantage and disadvantage of being the first skier on the course Wednesday morning, sporting bib No. 1.

“I’m more of a chaser, so it’s kind of hard when I don’t have anyone to go after,” Naselli said. “As I was in the race, the more I kind of got into it.”

Naselli finished 22nd overall for the fifth-place Johnstown/Gloversville combined Nordic squad. Garrett Bobowski led the Sir Bills with his 14th-place finish at 24:27.

The state Nordic championships are for Feb. 27-28 at Bristol Mountain near Canandaigua, in conjunction with the state Alpine ski championships.

Section II Nordic Championships

at North Creek Ski Bowl

Boys’ team scores

Queensbury 11, Shenendehowa 28, Guilderland 45, Lake George 55, Johnstown 70, Johnsburg 75, Scotia-Glenville 78, Glens Falls 80. Non-team scoring: Saratoga Springs, Mayfield.

Boys’ individual results

6.6 km Classic course

Ben Jenkin (Q), 19:42; Forrest Slingerlands (GF), 20:35; Aiden Guay (Q), 22:29; Lionel Wiedmann (Shen), 23:06; Brice Williams (M), 23:13; Landon Kinal (G), 23:33; Patrick Cirillo (Q), 24:00; Jacob Perkins (Shen), 23:48; Julian Campopiano (Q), 24:00; Nathaniel Burke (G), 24:10.

Girls’ team scores

Shenendehowa 10, Queensbury 19, Glens Falls 39, Saratoga Springs 42, Guilderland 56, Scotia-Glenville 64, Johnstown 77. Non-team scoring: Mayfield, Lake George.

Girls’ individual results

6.6 km Classic course

Raquelle Landa (Shen), 24:43; Clara Avery (GF), 25:12; Courtney Krawiecki (Shen), 26:18; Maddie Powers (Q), 26:53; Emma Murray (Sara), 27:07; Iris Wiedmann (Shen), 27:56; Finley Purvis (Q), 28:27; Bri Guay (Q), 28:34; Fianna Halloran (M), 28:40; Erin Smith (SG), 29:52.

Categories: -Sports-, Clifton Park and Halfmoon, High School Sports, Sports

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