HS nordic: Despite injury, Northampton freshman David Shycon enjoys New England U16 Championships

  • Northampton High School freshman David Shycon competes in the skate style event at the New England Nordic Ski Association Under-16 Championship qualifier on Feb. 2 in Weston. COURTESY ROBERT SHYCON

  • Northampton High School freshman David Shycon competes in the classic style event at the New England Nordic Ski Association Under-16 Championship qualifier on Feb. 2 in Weston. COURTESY ROBERT SHYCON

  • Amherst Regional senior Nor Young is shown during the nordic ski season. Young qualified for Team Massachusetts and was set to compete at the Eastern High School Championships this past weekend. The event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. COURTESY MARY BARTLEY

  • Amherst Regional senior Nor Young is shown during the nordic ski season. Young qualified for Team Massachusetts and was set to compete at the Eastern High School Championships this past weekend. The event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. COURTESY MARY BARTLEY

  • Amherst seventh grader Micah Schmalzbauer Bruner is shown competing at Notchview on Feb. 15 during the nordic ski season. COURTESY JAMES GEHRZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/19/2020 6:59:22 PM

David Shycon could do nothing except watch on the last day of the New England Nordic Ski Association Under-16 Championships.

The Northampton High School freshman fell during the classic 5-kilometer race on the second day and a resulting injury left him on the sidelines for the sprint race.

Shycon entered the championships with a goal of finishing in the top three and making the podium. He finished 45th but his result did nothing to dampen his experience at his first U16 championship.

“It was a pretty fun weekend overall, aside from the thumb setback,” Shycon said.

Shycon, 14, has been skiing since he was 5, first with the Berkshire Trails Bill Koch Ski Club, and now with Cambridge Sports Union. Shycon practices once a week with his team at the Weston Ski Track and trains on his own. He will ski at Notchview in Windsor, do strength workouts at the Hampshire YMCA, or train with his friends on the Northampton indoor track team. Shycon ran cross country in the fall and planned on running outdoor track this spring.

“One of the cross training methods for nordic skiing is definitely running, especially distance running,” Shycon said. “You get really good cardio and that sets you up very well for nordic season.”

His nordic season consisted of eight races in the Eastern Cup Series spread over four weekends across New England.

The U16 championships earlier this month consisted of five teams — Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Shycon was one of 24 skiers to make the Mass. team from a qualifier at Weston on Feb. 2.

Hampshire Regional’s West Williams also made the boys team, while Hampshire’s Eleanor Meunier made the girls team.

The championship was held at Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vermont. The freestyle 5K was held on March 6, followed by the classic the following day. The sprint race closed the championship on March 7.

“The first day was very slushy and was pretty slow, hard conditions to ski in,” Shycon said. “The next day it got colder and iced up. The conditions were pretty fast.”

Shycon placed fifth in the freestyle, finishing in 14 minutes, 45.9 seconds.

“I wouldn’t say I had my best race,” he said. “I had a good race.”

Shycon had a plan for the classic race. He was going to stick with Vermont’s Janne Koch and the plan was working until he fell.

“The classic 5K felt really well,” Shycon said. “They did the races in heats of six and I knew the guy who I was trying to stick with or beat. I was right with him coming around to the second lap and I fell. I hurt my thumb and came in eighth. That was pretty disappointing.”

Shycon finished in 16:29.6. Koch was third in 16:12.4.

The fall prevented Shycon from competing in the sprint event. He finished 45th with 239 points.

“I sprained my thumb and I had to go to the Rutland Medical Center,” he said. “I had to get it X-rayed. I didn’t break my thumb but they put me in a cast and I didn’t race the last race of the weekend. That was pretty disappointing.”

The winner of each race earns 135 points. Shycon felt confident he would have at least placed in the top 10 of the sprint and finished much higher in the overall standings.

Maine’s Luke Streinz won two of three races to finish first overall with 390 points. Wyatt Teaford, of Vermont, won the classic race and was second (378). Vermont teammates Orion Cenkl and Zachary Wilkerson tied for third (359).

Williams finished 93rd overall (104 points) for Massachusetts. He was 103rd in the freestyle (20:46.3), 104th in the classic (25:53.5) and 102nd in the sprint (5:17.4).

Meunier was 90th overall with 104 points in the girls championship. She was 102nd (22:33.4) in the freestyle, 99th in the classic (25:05.1) and 102nd in the sprint (5:50.3).

Shycon’s goal for next season is to qualify for the New England team and compete at U16 Junior Nationals. He has to finish in the top six for points on the Eastern Cup Series. He finished tied for 12th with 49 points over his best four races. There was a three-way tie for sixth with 63 points.

HURRICANE NOTES — The New England Nordic Ski Association’s Eastern High School Championships that was scheduled for last weekend at Gore Mountain Ski Resort in North Creek, New York, was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Team Massachusetts featured Amherst Regional senior Nor Young and Hampshire Regional junior Katarzyna Wisnauckas, who skied for Mohawk Trail Regional during the winter season.

Skiers qualified for the championship by placing in the top 24 at a qualifier at Weston on Feb. 2.

Young placed 30th and was an alternate. He made the team after enough skiers dropped out.

“I’ve been trying to make this team the last four years,” Young said. “I finally made it and it got canceled. That was hard.”

Young competed for the Hurricanes in the Berkshire Nordic Ski League.

“I was very happy with it,” he said. “I was trying to make the top 10 in at least one race. My best was 11th, like 1 second from 10th, so that was kind of disappointing. I had a great season. It was a lot fun and I worked hard.”

Young’s teammate Micah Schmalzbauer Bruner entered the MIAA State Nordic Championships aiming for a top 20 finish. The seventh-grader was fifth in 23:56.

“It went really well,” Bruner said. “I was really excited with how it went. It was a new experience.”

As the season progressed, Bruner got used to competing against skiers much older than him.

“It’s a bit intimidating, but they are all nice and fun,” Bruner said. “You get to hang out with them before and after. They’re all fun guys and are very supportive.”




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