HS nordic: Micah Bruner fifth, Erika Looman eighth at state championship

Staff Writer
Published: 2/25/2020 9:05:16 PM

WOODFORD, Vt. — Micah Bruner and Erika Looman showed they can compete with the best high school nordic skiers in the state on Tuesday.

Bruner, a seventh grader at Amherst Regional, placed fifth in the State Boys Nordic Championship held at Prospect Mountain.

Bruner finished in 23 minutes, 56 seconds for the Hurricanes.

Looman, a senior at Mohawk Trail Regional, placed eighth overall in the girls championship. Looman crossed in 27:03 on a tough course that stretched over 7 kilometers.

The Warriors placed fifth in the girls competition.

“Eighth is the goal I had in mind going into the meet,” Looman said. “I was really happy to get that. I wanted to help my team and go out in my last race strong. I’ve raced a lot of the eastern Mass. girls this season so I was aware of how strong they are.”

Looman was especially proud of her team’s accomplishment, as the program hasn’t found its way into the top five in a number of years.

“I don’t think anybody else on the team understood what fifth (place) was like,” Looman said. “We’ve been sixth a bunch of years in a row.”

Warriors coach Mark Pollard said he couldn’t have been more proud of his captain.

“She’s been phenomenal,” Pollard said. “She sets the pace.”

Lenox took the girls title, with three racers placing in the top five. Wellesley’s Sophia Sirica finished first in 23:27, followed by Dover Sherborn’s Mica Bodkins in 25:15.

Mohawk’s Katarzyna Wisnauckas, who attends Hampshire Regional, entered the meet hoping to finish in the top 30 after placing in or around the top 10 during the Berkshire Nordic League’s races. She accomplished her goal, taking 26th in 28:54.

“Our team has done really well all season,” Wisnauckas said. “Personally, it’s been a really good season. A lot of the eastern Mass. girls are really good here today.”

Having already raced at Prospect Mountain twice this season, Wisnauckas said she and the Warriors knew what to expect.

“I thought it was going to be the gradual flats but it ended up being gradual uphills,” Wisnauckas said. “The snow was a lot faster than I anticipated and we liked that a lot. Having it be over 7 kilometers was a lot more than usual. We’ve had two league meets here so we had already done some of the loops.”

Lilliana Manley (38th, 31:08) and Sylvie Mahon-Moore (53rd, 32:14) rounded out the scoring for Mohawk. Kala Garrido (55th), Eleanor Meunier (70th) and Brooke Looman (115th) also competed.

Mahon-Moore and Meunier (33:23) attend Hampshire Regional.

“They’ve worked really hard all year,” Pollard said of his team. “They have a really good energy. It’s been a great season. Everybody laid everything out there. Everybody worked hard today. There was nothing left in them.”

Amherst Regional placed 15th in the girls championship.

Anna Burns (63rd) led the team and finished in 33:26. Jana Murphy (74th, 34:49), Zora Dallman (81st, 35:20) and Elena Humbeck (87th, 35:56) closed out the top four. Zada Forde (89th, 36:16) and Violeta Foster (91st, 38:31) also raced.

Boys championship

Amherst finished 13th behind Bruner’s performance.

Lucas Bodkins of Dover Sherborn won in 21:41. Weston’s Lucas Daly (22:44), Lenox’s Colin Young (23:26) and Mount Greylock’s Col McDermott (23:40) finished ahead of Bruner.

Nor Young (44th, 27:06), Henry Geffert (69th, 29:07) and Jesse Barker-Plotkin (70th, 29:12) scored for Amherst. Ryan Yanko (78th, 30:44) and Geir Hartl (79th, 30:46) also competed.

West Williams finished 94th in 31:22 to pace Mohawk.

“I think it went pretty good for me today,” the Hampshire Regional student said. “I did better than I expected to in the conditions. The snow was thick and it gripped my skis more than I would have liked but everybody is in the same conditions.”

The first-year nordic skier felt he was propelled by the top competition around him. Racing with the top heat, he said he pushed himself harder than he had all season.

“The more people you’re with, the more you want to stay with them,” Williams said. “Especially with the small size of our team, I was positioned closer to the front with the faster skiers than the level I’m at which pushed me to stay with them. I’ve enjoyed just a steady increase and growth. I was expecting today to be one of my better races and it was.”

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