Raiders, Bears enjoy slushy end to Nordic ski season

  • Elizabeth Kourbatski, back left, and Sophia Mladek, back right, cheer on their Lebanon teammate Seth Carl as he climbs a hill during the NHIAA Nordic skiing Meet of Champions at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Carl finished with a combined time of 22.07.7, Kourbatski finished at 25:45, and Mladek at 25:01.2. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Daniel Mladek accepts his fifth place medal for the skate portion of the NHIAA Nordic skiing Meet of Champions from Kearsarge Coach Kevin Lee, right, before joining his Lebanon teammate, sixth place finisher Sam Shipman, left, in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Mladek, who finished the skate loop with a time of 9:08.2, also took fifth in the classic with a time of 9:07.3. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — James M. Patterson

  • Heidi Davis, of Hanover, crosses the finish at the NHIAA Nordic skiing Meet of Champions at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Davis posted a combined time of of 24:33.8 in the classic and skate portions of the event. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Daniel Mladek, of Lebanon, climbs a hill during the NHIAA Nordic skiing Meet of Champions at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Mladek took fifth place in both the classic and combined portions of the event. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Will Parker, of Hanover, climbs the last rise to the finish line in the NHIAA Nordic skiing Meet of Champions at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Parker finished with a combined time of 22:07.7 in the classic and skate portions of the race. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • John Bieszczad, of Lebanon, catches his breath after dropping to the snow at the finish of the NHIAA Nordic Meet of Champions at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Bieszczad finished with a combined time of 20:11.2. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Elizabeth Kourbatski, back left, and Sophia Mladek, back right, cheer on their Lebanon teammate Seth Carl as he climbs a hill during the NHIAA Nordic skiing Meet of Champions at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Carl finished with a combined time of 22.07.7, Kourbatski finished at 25:45, and Mladek at 25:01.2. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/16/2022 9:26:55 PM
Modified: 3/16/2022 9:26:43 PM

ANDOVER, N.H. — Both Lebanon and Hanover were well-represented at the NHIAA’s Meet of Champions for Nordic skiing, held Tuesday afternoon at Proctor Academy.

In the roughly 7-kilometer skiathlon — meaning a combination of the two Nordic disciplines, classic and skate — Raiders senior Daniel Mladek finished fifth in both races, which were timed separately. Senior Sam Shipman was sixth in skate for Lebanon, which finished second at last week’s Division II state championship meet at Great Glen Trails.

“I went a lot harder at the beginning, in the classic portion, and then once we switched over to skate, I tried maintaining my tempo,” Mladek said. “But it was hard because it was really slushy, and we’d already skied 3.5 kilometers.”

With temperatures reaching the low 50s, a light rain falling and the snow beginning to melt, the course was wet and slippery, so competitors had to be extra careful when they waxed their skis prior to the race.

Senior Anna Illsley, Lebanon’s top skier on the girls side, said she felt herself tiring during the skate portion — she finished 16th in classic but dropped to 19th in skate out of 39 racers. Illsley helped the Raiders finish third at the Division II state meet.

“We have skied on this stuff before,” Illsley said. “Sometimes you’ll have the perfect amount of snow and perfect grooming. Today, they couldn’t really do much. One thing you can do to prepare for this specific race is transition. How you set your skis up, where you put your poles, how you come in — that does help with timing.”

Lebanon senior John Bieszczad finished 16th in the boys’ skate race, with senior Seth Carl in 21st, fellow senior Micah Achmoody in 23rd and junior Carson Jones in 29th. Achmoody was 18th in freestyle, closely followed by Bieszczad in 20th and Carl, Shipman and Jones finishing in positions 22 through 24, respectively.

Senior Maya Barnett led the Raider girls in their skate race, taking ninth place, with sophomore Sophie Longacre in 14th. Junior Elizabeth Kourbatski and freshman Sophia Mladek — Daniel’s younger sister — rounded out the Lebanon field. Barnett was next-to-last in the classic portion but turned it on after the transition to finish in the top 10 in freestyle.

“They skied where they should have,” said Lebanon assistant coach Bill Knight, filling in for head coach Les Lawrence, who was on vacation in Florida. “These (seniors), they set a tone that made it so easy for us as coaches. They’re a pretty big part of our team, and they’ll definitely be missed.”

The Hanover boys, who won the Division I state meet last week, were led by junior Adam Gilbert-Diamond, who finished 10th in the classic race and 17th in skate. Sophomore William Parker and freshman Nicholas Van Citters also competed for the Bears.

Freshman Heidi Davis was the only girl to represent Hanover, finishing 27th in skate and 28th in classic.

“I could tell people who were seeded behind me were passing me, but you just have to try to not let that hinder your performance,” Davis said. “I’m very proud, because last year, I didn’t really get any coaching because of COVID. I’m really glad to be here.”

Davis also competed for Hanover at last weekend’s New England Nordic Ski Association U16 championships, along with Longacre and Sophia Mladek for Lebanon. The Raiders will send Illsley, Shipman, Bieszczad and Achmoody to the Eastern High School Championships in Farmington, Maine, this weekend.

“It’s definitely emotional,” Illsley said. “I was emotional at the state meet knowing that it’s coming to a close. The team is a second family to me. When we go out there, we’re racing individually, but our hearts are in it for the team.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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