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Nordic teams go head to head in sectional meet

Saranac Lake’s Jacob Alberga takes off from the tag zone during a February 2018 Section VII team relay race at Dewey Mountain. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

SARANAC LAKE – The Saranac Lake and Lake Placid Nordic ski teams are part of the most competitive section in the state. And as the only two teams in Section VII, the frequent competitors kicked off the sectional championships Tuesday with a relay race at Dewey Mountain.

The Red Storm led the way, with the top three-man team of Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour, Nick Kelting and Jacob Alberga coming across the line one second ahead of Lake Placid’s Scott Schulz, Mike Skutt and Kai Frantz. The home team finished with a time of 21 minutes, 11 seconds.

The classic relay consisted of teams of three each completing a roughly 3-kilometer course. The racers then tagged off to send the next teammate out, and the three individual times combined for the team.

Saranac Lake’s second team of Colter Cheney-Seymour, Adrian Hayden and Taylor Samberg rounded out the boys race with a time of 23:57.

On the girls side, the Blue Bombers’ squad of Sara Rose-McCandlish, Lily Flanigan and Annie Rose-McCandlish finished first with a time of 30:59, and were followed across the line by the Red Storm’s Sylvie Linck, Helena Dramm and Evelyn Eller 23 seconds later. Saranac Lake’s second team of Ruby Smith, Raechal Villani and Willa Evans-Kumar rounded out the field with a time of 40:51.

Kai Frantz, of Lake Placid, begins his 3-kilometer loop during the team relay sectional race in Saranac Lake on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

Lake Placid coach Bill Frazer said he thinks Schulz, a senior, has a good shot at earning his third-straight individual NYSPHSAA title. The Lake Placid boys team also won the team title last year, but has considerably fewer skiers competing this season.

“I think it’s looking really good (for Schulz),” Frazer said. “He just came off a weekend in Vermont where he was in the top 15 with college skiers, so his skating is awesome and his classic is still there.

“So I think it would be tough for anyone to come around him, but you never know.”

Frazer said the Saranac Lake team should be the favorite for the state title based on what he’s seen at the bigger meets with more teams.

“It’s close. We’re coming from the most competitive section with two schools, and as of right now they’ve got us,” he said.

The two teams will face off again Thursday in the second round of sectionals at Mount Van Hoevenberg, with a start time of 3:45 p.m.

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