Amherst boys fourth, girls sixth at state Nordic championship



Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014

The Amherst Regional Nordic program established new heights at the state level Tuesday.

The boys team placed fourth, while the girls finished sixth at Notchview Reservation in Windsor.

“That is excellent,” Amherst coach Nat Woodruff said of the boys finish. “If you look at the results it was second in WMass, who we have been competing against all year. It’s the best we’ve every done.”

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Mount Greylock won its fourth straight state title with 25 points. Acton-Boxborough was second with 42. Amherst had 128 points. Westford Academy was fifth with 130. Wahconah (139) was seventh overall and third from western Mass.

Lincoln-Sudbury won the girls title with 47 points. Mount Greylock was second with 64 points. Amherst had 159 despite its top skier, Charlotte Price, on the mend.

“Sixth place with our top skier on the sick list is pretty good,” Woodruff said.

Lewis Nottonson, of Acton-Boxborough, finished first in 21 minutes, 10.1 seconds on the 7.5-kilometer course. Amherst’s Kale Wenczel finished 15th in 24:22.9 to pace the Hurricanes, who finished fifth last season and lost No. 1 skier Thomas Jeffries to graduation.

“Kale stepped up. Getting 15th is phenomenal,” Woodruff said. “He really stepped up and filled the void left by Thomas. That was what enabled us to pull in there.”

Owen Devlin Gauthier finished 27th in 25:28.3 for Amherst.

The Hurricanes took advantage of the hills on the course to race past some of the competition.

“It was a good course,” Woodruff said. “We’ve been skiing on loops because of low snowfalls, but just this past week we were able to ski a full course so with the hills that was an unknown. How we would do on hills? We were able to train on hills, which is an advantage over the Eastern teams. ... We spent a lot of time on conditioning this year. Our kids were in great shape and those hills played to our strength.”

Valerie Willocq was Amherst’s top finisher in the girls race with a 25th showing in 29:02.2. Amanda Riley was 36th in 30:34.

“Valerie had an exceptional race getting 25th. She skied really well,” Woodruff said. “Amanda was out all last year with an injury. She came back this season and that was one of the major reasons we were able to move up.”

Charlotte Cole, of Brookline, won the individual title in 24:45.4.

Mike Moran can be reached at mmoran@gazettenet.com.




 


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