Ava

Harwood’s Ava Thurston skis toward the finish line during Nordic state championships at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

kurts

U-32 Nordic skier Jed Kurts charges toward the finish line during his first-place performance at freestyle state championships at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

Eleven U-32 Nordic standouts secured All-Star status after a season defined by prime conditions and even better results.

Seven boys and four girls delivered top-10 overall showings for the Raiders at state championships, sparking the program’s first sweep. The U-32 boys recorded an 11-point victory over three-time defending champ Middlebury, claiming their first crown in 17 years. Coach Mark Chaplin’s girls team prevailed for the second time in four years, serving up an 86-point victory.

“This was a record year for individual achievement for us,” Chaplin said. “We had four girls and seven boys named as All-Stars, with another three girls and one boy getting Honorable Mention. We also had record-high numbers of individuals making the post-season festivals, with eight qualifying for the U-16 Festival and nine for the Eastern High School Festival.”

U-32’s May Lamb, Jesse Colnes, Shams Ferver and Ayla Bodach-Turner earned All-Star honors on the girls’ side. Teammates Jed Kurts, Greyson Davis, Hans Krokenberger, Samuel Clark, Waylon Kurts, Trevor Patterson and Tzevi Schwartz made the cut for the boys. The Honorable Mention list features U-32’s Ginger Knight, Mia Smith, Anna Knauss and Cameron Thompson.

“The biggest factor in the sweep was our depth,” Chaplin said. “There were other top individual skiers from other Division II schools who were as strong as we were, but no other team was as strong through their entire roster. Our top skiers were amazing, but the state meets were actually won by the group that was close behind them.”

While Patterson and Colnes will graduate, the bulk of their team will return for a title defense in 2020. And with solid numbers in the middle school program, Chaplin hopes this is the start of another endurance-sport dynasty at the East Montpelier school. His boys cross-country running team has won three straight championships, while his track and field squad has rattled off six titles in a row.

“The future continues to look bright for Nordic skiing at U-32,” Chaplin said. “Of all of the individuals earning All-Star and Honorable Mention status from the state meets, only one boy and one girl are seniors. And we have a number of strong skiers coming up from the JV and middle school teams.”

Harwood freshman Ava Thurston is another up-and-comer who headlines the girls All-Star squad. The cross-country running champ added two skiing crowns to her trophy case, and her turbo bursts in relay events kept the Highlanders in contention. Her combined time of 31 minutes, 7.3 seconds from the 5-kilometer classical and freestyle races was 3:35 faster than anyone else in D-II.

Two weeks ago, Thurston reached the podium three times during U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Junior National Championships in Alaska. She finished 15 seconds behind Olympian Hannah Dreissigacker at the Stowe Derby and won Sunday’s Climb to the Cabin at Trapp Family Lodge.

Many high school skiers are planning to compete during Sunday’s Nordic X event at Cochran’s, capping one of the longest seasons in decades.

“This was the snowiest season I can remember ever coaching,” Chaplin said. “We had enough snow to ski on for virtually the entire season. I think we only spent less than one week on roller skis and never did any dryland drills. So given how much more fun it is to ski on snow than those alternatives, this translated into enthusiastic, hard-working young skiers all season.”

NORDIC SKIING ALL-STARS

DIVISION II GIRLS

Ava Thurston Harwood May Lamb U-32 Maggie McGee Lamoille Malia Hodges Middlebury Jesse Colnes U-32 Addy Harris Mt. Abe Leah Mowry Burr and Burton Sofie Carlson Peoples Shams Ferver U-32 Ayla Bodach-Turner U-32

HONORABLE MENTION

Ginger Knight U-32 Brennan Harris; Burr and Burton Maddy Stowe Middlebury Mia Smith U-32 Anna Knauss U-32

DIVISION II BOYS

Elvis McIntosh Middlebury Jack Christner Middlebury Jed Kurts U-32 Greyson Davis U-32 Hans Krokenberger U-32 Samuel Clark U-32 Waylon Kurts U-32 Trevor Patterson U-32 Tzevi Schwartz U-32 Lucas Palcsik Middlebury

HONORABLE MENTION

Owen Palcsik Middlebury Logan Sands Burr and Burton John Lackey Stowe Will Carpenter Middlebury Cameron Thompson U-32

(NOTE: Ranked by combined state championship results)

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