Colonels edge Mount Anthony at MVL race

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WOODFORD — The first round of the Marble Valley League Nordic ski championship was scheduled to take place at the Brattleboro Country Club, but with the warm weather from the past couple of days, the skate race was moved from Brattleboro to Prospect Mountain.

The change in venue also included a change in course, with the skiers coming down the hill towards the lodge before heading to the finish.

No matter the place, Brattleboro and Mount Anthony have been even all season and that was the case again on Wednesday.

When the dust settled, the Colonels and Patriots tied for first place with 25 points, forcing them to go to the fifth skier to break the tie. Brattleboro's Lily Tessitore was 11th overall, while Kylee Hall was 17th, giving Brattleboro the victory.

"I was hoping we could separate ourselves, but [Brattleboro's] come on strong," said Mount Anthony coach Rob Short. "They have stayed close all season. It's good to see, because it looks like them it could be between them versus us at states. It's keeps both teams honest, one stumble can be the difference."

Brattleboro's Sarah Gallagher was first overall in 12 minutes, 9.7 seconds, followed by Mount Anthony's Natalie Jelley in 12:27.9.

Liz Morse was fifth in 13:51.6, while Bella Takacs was ninth in 14:51.6 and Angelika Toomey was 10th in 15:01.6.

Sarah Umphlett scored a third-place finish in 13:13.6, with Maggie Payne sixth in 14:18.2. Amelia Schroeder was fourth for MAU and 14th overall in 15:18.4.

"Sarah has become really consistent," Short said. "For the past three races, she's been right behind Natalie. It helps us for her to take that spot and it's nice to see that grouping n the fourth and fifth spots, any one can be the scorer."

Burr and Burton finished third as a team with 35 points. They were led by Quinn Evarts in fourth in a time of 13:42.2. Leah Mowry was seventh in 14:23.6 and Brennan Harris eighth in 14:34.2. Harriet Dahlstrom was the final scorer for BBA in 16th in a time of 15:21.

Rutland had two competitors, finishing incomplete as a team.

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On the boys side, Brattleboro had four skiers in the top seven to roll to a victory. Brattleboro's 18 points topped Mount Anthony in second with 31. Burr and Burton was third with 77, followed by Rutland with 81.

Mount Anthony's Jack Drew won the race in a blistering time of 10:46.1, followed by Brattleboro's Henry Thurber and Evan Koch second and third, respectively. Thurber finished in 10:53.2, while Koch crossed the line in 11:09.2.

MAU's Garrett Joly was next in fourth, finishing in 11:27.1, but after Burr and Burton's Logan Sands' fifth-place finish, two more Brattleboro skiers finished, Galen Fletcher in sixth and Nolan Holmes in seventh, two seconds behind.

Rounding out the scoring for MAU were Charlie Dobson in 12th in 12:24.8 and Gabe Niles in 14th in 12:53.4.

Noah Payne, who has been one of the top skiers for Short this season, was out sick and did not race on Wednesday.

"Jack and Noah and have been within seconds of each other all year, and it's a coach's dream to have the top two that close," Short said. "Others had to step up today and I thought they did a great job."

Short said he was pleased by the effort from Joly and Niles.

"Garrett had a wicked good race today," Short said. "He's getting to his potential. And Gabe has been hungry for this, champing at the bit since our sprint race."

Following Sands for the Bulldogs were Ned Thompson in ninth, Ned Swartzentruber in 29th and Ethan Lareau in 34th.

The Classic third of the MVL championships is scheduled for February 13, but with the change on Wednesday, the place is still to be determined. Then the relay, the final part of the championships, is at Wild Wings on February 20.

"I think we're stronger in Classic, so we're still right in it," Short said.


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