Schulz takes national stage
SARANAC LAKE — The Lake Placid and Saranac Lake nordic ski teams gathered under lightly falling snow Tuesday night for a 4.75-kilometer dual meet.
Lake Placid’s Scott Schulz took the night off, having just returned from Anchorage, Alaska where he competed in the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships. Schulz had a stellar performance against the best skiers in the country and earned a trip to the U18 Scandinavian Championships in Vuokatti, Finland later in the month.
Blue Bombers coach Bill Frazer said Schulz’s performance in Alaska bodes well for the team.
“[It’s] a whole other notch of experience for him,” Frazer said. “I think all the kids around here, they see that he does it and a lot of the other kids are like ‘Maybe I can do that too.’ There’s such a strong pool of skiers that have come through here in the past few years. I think by kids having success, it motivates the other kids to push themselves.”
Schulz is expected to compete in the high school state championships this year, and could be in position to capture his third straight overall title. In Alaska, Schulz placed 10th in his age division in the 15K freestyle race, finishing 67th overall with a time of 41 minutes, 4 seconds. He also did well in Thursday’s sprint race, placing third in his age bracket with a time of 3:18.22.
In the third and final race of the week — the 10K classic — Schulz finished in 29:18.4, good enough for 35th out of 119 overall finish and 16th in the under-18 age bracket. Schulz’s older brother Karl, who now skis for the University of Vermont, qualified for the World Junior Championships in Goms, Switzerland with his performances in Alaska.
“Long story short, the boys are super-fast and will be representing the USA and NYSEF on the international stage,” NYSEF cross-country skiing coach Shane MacDowell said in a press release. “Not many young people can say they are the top athletes in the country in their sport. I am so happy for them — they stepped up.”
At Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake on Tuesday, Lake Placid’s Kai Frantz and Saranac Lake’s Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour paced each other through the two laps, finishing together with a time of 16 minutes, 28 seconds. Lake Placid only had three skiers in the boys race, with Mike Skutt (21:09) finishing 11th, followed across the line by Max Flanigan (21:30) in 12th.
Saranac Lake’s Nick Kelting (17:12) placed third, while Jacob Alberga was just one second behind in fourth. The Red Storm’s Colter Cheney-Seymour rounded out the top five with a time of 18:21.
The girls race was more evenly matched. Lake Placid garnered three of the top five slots, including Sarah Rose-McCandlish’s first-place finish with a time of 21:44. Saranac Lake’s Sylvie Linck was second across the line in 22:10, and was followed 34 seconds later by Blue Bomber Lilly Flanigan. Eighth-graders rounded out the top of the field, with Lake Placid’s Annie Rose-McCandlish (23:19) placing fourth and Saranac Lake’s Evelyn Eller coming in fifth in 24:01.
The elder Cheney-Seymour, Lauchlan, was recently in Minnesota for biathlon competition, and said the high school team is gearing up for a run at the state championship.
“It’s going really well actually,” he said. “We’re kicking off what seems to be a really good year for our team. I think we’re ranked second in the state right now, so that’s a pretty good place to be. Everyone’s pretty excited about it.”
Saranac Lake coach Keith Kogut said the team championship could come down to the Red Storm and Queensbury, but Cheney-Seymour is confident that he and his teammates are in the running.
Cheney-Seymour had a solid showing at the biathlon trials in Colerain, Minnesota, where he placed 17th in the field of 30 with a time of 24:28.9 but struggled with the shooting.
“I didn’t have my best races,” he said. “It was really cold — negative 35 for all four days — but I’m pretty happy with the way it went.
“I was skiing well, which is pretty usual for biathletes when they’re starting up, but my shooting wasn’t as great. But it’s a learning curve for sure, and I’m just going to stick with it and hopefully improve.
“It was an awesome experience. It was super cool meeting everyone who does biathlon around the country because you don’t really see that a lot and there’s actually a big number of them, so it’s pretty cool.”
Cheney-Seymour is also planning to attend more biathlon events during the ski season, but said it shouldn’t affect his home team responsibilities.
The two teams will next hit the snow on Monday, when a large meet is held at Mount Van Hoevenberg.