by Ken Schoville
January 5, 2014

Mother Nature again showed her frigid side and changed what would have been two leisurely days of racing into a compressed “twofer” on Saturday, January 4 at the Cedric A. Vig Outdoor Classroom trails, more commonly known as CAVOC. This little gem turns out to be an interesting piece of glacial geography with plenty of vertical as a testing ground for returning Wisconsin high school skiers after the holiday break. With a 7 km skate in the morning, a noon break and a 4 km classic in the afternoon, the skiers had all the elements of a high school championships, with early season strategy and excuses given another month to materialize into the grand finale to the season.

With 15 second interval starts, 229 high school and middle school skiers toed the line for the morning rounds. After the dust had settled and results were posted, several strong points stood out. First, the reigning state boy's champions, the Madnoski Team centered in Madison, were back on their game. With places four, six, and seven wrapped up, they bested the next team, Lakeland, by eleven points; a fairly dominating performance. 4H Canski, the collaboration of Ashland and Washburn youthful resources came in a fine third, with Ashwaubenon, a Green Bay area team getting the wooden medal in the skate.

Individually, Chippewa Valley's Dan Delestry showed the effects of consistent summer work and walked away with the win with a 23 second lead over Canski's Ian Liphart, followed by Lakeland's Mac FitzPatrick, three seconds back. Madnorski's Gabe Forest then opened the floodgates to his teammates, following close on his heels.

The Girls Team Skate Title for the day went to Iola Winter Sports Club with 14 points, followed by Peak Nordic with 18 points, and a slightly frustrated Lakeland scraping into third place with 19 hard earned points. Iola is something of a new figure at the top of the heap with a long history in Wisconsin, having teams for generations and hosting two state championships. Has the tide turned?

Individually, Erin Bolger from Lakeland blew the field away with a two minute gap over second place Emma Barnes, Iola. Maria Geisor, Peak Nordic, had a nice race in third, and then Iola's freshman, Anna Zajakowski showed future potential with a strong fourth.

Round two for the day featured a shortened 4km classic event, with the preferred 15 second interval start again being utilized. The boys again lead out with Lakeland finding the wax and legs to take the lead with 19 points. Madnorski followed closely with 25 points and Hayward finishing the day with 36 points for a close lead over Peak at 39.

Individually, Mac FitzPatrick, Lakeland, took the win with a 14 second lead over teammate, Will Bodewes. Dan Delestry, Chippewa Valley, took the third followed by Madnorski's Gabe Forest.

The girls' results saw some changes also as Lakeland got it right with a 15 point spanking of the field. Peak Nordic followed with 22 and Iola felt the pressure and “whatifs” with 23.

Erin Bolger again took the win with Emma Barnes, Iola, close behind, Maria Geisor, Peak Nordic, sliding into third, and upcoming Freshman, Victoria Trantow, Madnorski, close behind.

While only a preliminary start to the drive to the state championships at Telemark, February 8-9, it's easy to get excited about some big matchups. The comparisons are unequal, uneven, and unfair. Still, the predictive juices start flowing for the coaches and fans of the season and comparisons are inevitable. Such as a little numeric magic performed when we average team scores.

Wow! In the boys, Madnorski defends their title with a 16.5 average between the two events, Lakeland 23.5, and, and...well Ashwaubenon opted for an overdistance, Wausau bugs out early for the dance of the season, and well, time will tell.

As for the girls, same story. Too early to tell, too little information to draw conclusions from and the season's not over until the fat lady sings. A subzero dose may clear up the crystal ball.