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NYSEF christens LP’s new Nordic center

Sophia Kelting speeds up a hill in Saturday's U18 Girls race, in which she placed second. (Rachel Sharples photo)

LAKE PLACID — In one of the first races of the season for many skiers, Lake Placid locals and Rochester area Nordic athletes dominated many of the top spots on the first day of the annual Harry Eldridge NYSEF Junior National Qualifier.

The New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF), in collaboration with the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), hosted its first races of 2021 at Mt. Van Hoevenberg’s new facilities, including a new lodge and updated trails, this past Saturday.

Saturday’s event featured classic style racing, which was followed by many of the same skiers competing in skate-style events on Sunday.

Sunny, crisp conditions prevailed on both days as the brand-new, world-class Nordic facilty at Mount Van Hoevenberg was christened.

Falling just within the state’s limit on the number of athletes, 99 skiers participated in Saturday’s event, all hailing from New York as required by the competition’s COVID guidelines.

Scott Schulz, a Lake Placid native who currently skis for UNH, races up a hill. He won the U20 Boys class in the Harry Eldridge NYSEF Junior National Qualifier. (Rachel Sharples photo)

Lake Placid’s Andrew Scanio took the top spot in the U16 Boys Classic with a time of 15:47.

The U16, U18 and U20 girls races all went to skiers from Rochester, Emelia Jordan (19:52), Grace Mattern (18:06) and Zofia Stefankovic (18:24), respectively.

However, Lake Placid’s Elizabeth Izzo (18:05) took the top spot for the Senior Women, and Saranac Lake’s Bella Wissler (21:45) and Sophia Kelting (18:19) each took second in their races.

The winners of the older boys and mens races came from a greater variety of places, with Lucas Jenkin of Queensbury (34:32) winning the U18 Boys and Scott Schulz (29:44) and Van Ledger (31:09) of Lake Placid taking first and second the U20 Older Boys.

Each of the Master Men classes only had one racer from different areas, including Matt Cook from Lake Placid (36:39).

Normally this race, named for local Harry Eldridge on whose lands many key features of the 1980s Olympics were built, serves as a qualifier for national competitions. However, with cancellations in light of the pandemic, the race was more to give skiers a platform to compete at all in an uncertain season.

A story on Sunday’s skate races will appear in the sports section of Tuesday’s Enterprise.

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