Wisconsin State Nordic Championship Recap

by Ken Schoville
February 9, 2014

I win. I love being a soothsayer and it all turns out as, “forseen”. While I want to bask in the glory for a bit, I think it pertinent to inform you that the 2014 championship at Telemark this last weekend was an overwhelming success. Perhaps I've used the words “ghostly”, “demise”, and in “a retiring state” to describe Telemark in the past, I just want to be the first to say, perhaps I've errored. Telemark is alive!

While the ghost MotherShip may hover in the background, the trails were absolutely ripping with adolescent enthusiasm and technical prowess as Telemark, and more specifically the Cable community put on an absolutely stellar event. A plethora of well versed and experienced volunteers made the event run on schedule and without a major glitch.

Saturday started out with a firm skate deck for the freestyle event and interval starts as Erin Bolger, (as predicted) stomped the course and while not quite meeting the goal of decking the field by two minutes had a healthy margin of over a minute to gain a bit of breathing room for the classic pursuit. Of course, close friend and training buddy Emma Barnes, Iola, had other thoughts in mind. Slightly outside of my crystal ball and knocking at the door, Alissa Niggeman, Central Nordic, felt empowered to make a skate run at third place. My apologies for not staring deeper into the crystal ball. She was there.

On the boys side, yep, Dan Delestry, Chippewa Valley, trounced the field, if six seconds can be considered a trouncing. Mac FitzPatrick, Lakeland, seemed to be paying no respect to his training buddy and landed firmly in second, drooling. Of course Ian Liphart, 4-H Canski, was only another six seconds back, making for an interesting pursuit start.

Sunday started out a bit crisp with a -6F at just 8:15 before the scheduled 9:00 start for the boys. A jury meeting resulted in collective breathing and by 8:45 all was legal. The charge out of the gate for the pursuit was measurable in kilowatts of energy as Delestry made his merry way over the same five kilometer course as the day before. Nothing new here as skiers looked for the optimum balance between kick and the much maligned glide over the Bill Pierce groomed course. For those not familiar, that means that rock hard tracks were followed by experienced track lifts, massaged downhills and basically the best of two track skiing. Of course Delestry, on the well groomed track, had heavy breathing down his backside as FitzPatrick and Liphart worked hard to close the gap. When all was said and done, Delestry claimed the crown with FitzPatrick a scant two seconds back with Liphart sliding in another 21 seconds behind the leader. In a pursuit there is a race within a race, FitzPatrick taking first, Delestry second, and Liphart third as the classic unfolds computer wise.

The girls had drama; as in visually slow, predictable drama; Shakespearean.. With slightly over a minute lead, Bolger had to implode to not win the pursuit. Fortunately, back there in time, others were looking bloodthirsty. Emma Barnes showed off her classic stuff and won that embedded event. Alissa Niggemann dropped just a bit in the classic while the Iola teammate of Barnes, Lily Kraft, had a dynamite classic day and it could be considered a “senior moment”. So, overall we have Bolger, Barnes, Niggemann, and Kraft for the Pursuit championship.

Of course the team scores are entirely different story. Sure I looked at Madison for the boys and Lakeland for the girls as possible repeat defenders. Ahem, but I did leave the door open for others and guess what, it happened! A hah, life at the top is fragile. Even the high and mighty have a tenuous grasp of glory.

In the boys, a new team, greatly deserved, prevailed. All Hail the great and mighty 4-H CanSki. They worked for it, they longed for it, they hoped for it, now go and enjoy, a fleeting memory in life, but still one you can bank on for a long time. A lovely 21 points sealed the deal. Lakeland put up a good fight and ended up with 36, champs MadNorski had health problems and garnered third with 46, overall a championship effort.

The Iola girls prevailed, for the first time in memory, and should feel very warm and fuzzy with a inspired performances all around, and a little in house sickness to overcome, although a solid 20 points is nothing to sneeze at. Lakeland had a fantastic finish for the girls with some dramatic classic accomplishments and wound up with 22 points. In third with 24 points came the gutsy Peak Nordic girls, always on task and on time.

There's more to the story. If the timer does his job and includes the grades of the skiers you'll see some young impressive efforts. With a little training, camps, polishing, there's a bright future ahead for some. And please, let's not forget about about that useful human emotion known as revenge, the “Coulda, Shouda, Woulda” line of thinking. Lot's to contemplate for the future as we move ahead.

Next weekend, the Traveling Circus travels to Madison for a wild sprint time around the Capital Square. Serious teams will be there ready to rock as the surreal street festival provides the perfect venue for non stop Nordic weird; a surreal experience with State Street beckoning with oddities of various sorts and the imposing governmental edifice, known as the State Capital keeping watchful eye over the comings and goings of the high school nordic types. As a second state championship the sprints bear respect, like the distances, just ask the US Ski Team. Be there or be square.