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Skate races close out Nordic states at Van Ho

LP’s Andrew Scanio, SL’s Sophia Kelting complete weekend sweeps at NYSSRA championships

Saranac Lake’s Sophia Kelting carries speed on a downhill run during Sunday’s skate races in Lake Placid. (Rachel Sharples photo)

LAKE PLACID — Although many championships have been cancelled in the past year because of the pandemic, the 2021 New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA) State Championships continued for a second day of racing on Sunday. Athletes of all ages and from across New York came for the skate races, with Lake Placid’s Andrew Scanio and Sophia Kelting of Saranac Lake topping their respective classes for the second day in a row.

The race was hosted by The New York Ski Educational Foundation at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Many recreational skiers also filtered in and out of the new trails and facilities, and 127 racers turned out to compete with start times staggered to keep the number of participants spread out. 

The junior boys kicked off the day at 9 a.m. with 5k and 7.5k skates for the under-14 and U16-U20 boys, respectively. Andrew Scanio continued to dominate, taking the first place for the U16 boys again with a time of 20:34. Scanio, a Blue Bombers sophomore, also took top honors Saturday with the best finish time among all skiers 20 and under in a 10k classic race.

In the U18 class, Adrian Hayden from Saranac Lake moved up from Saturday to take the top spot (20:56), and Queensbury’s Lucas Jenkin produced another strong showing for third place (21:44). Paul Smith’s College’s Aidan Ripp (20:03), Gustav Whitcomb (21:37), and Timothy Ziegler (22:04) swept the top three spots in the U20 race.

The junior girls race continued the ski festivities with a 5k skate.

Lake Placid’s Beckett Ledger rounds a downhill curve during Sunday’s skate race at Mount Van Hoevenberg’s Nordic center. Also pictured is Round Lake’s Bernadette O’Brien. (Rachel Sharples photo)

While Maeve Bernhard from Pittsford took the top spot for the U14 girls (20:00), locals filled the rest of the slots, with Lake Placid’s Maya Garrison securing second place (20:52). In the U16 race, Rochester’s Catherin Anzellotti (15:33) and Emelia Jordan (15:51) found their way to the top two, locals Bella Wissler and Abigail Van Dorn were neck-and-neck for third and fourth, finishing less than 15 seconds apart. Kelting, who took the number one spot in Saturday’s U18 classic race, again cinched first place (15:05), but she was trailed very closely by Grace Mattern (15:06).

To cap off the competition, seniors and masters of all ages participated in a 15k skate. While racers came from all over, many were relatively close to home. Multiple high school Nordic ski coaches turned out to compete, including Lake Placid’s Bill Frazer, Saratoga Springs’ Steve Besler, and Queensbury’s Paul Allison. Allison was one of the top performers on the 15k course, representing the “Gore Mountain” team with a time of 41:19. Beckett Ledger, a Lake Placid local on the USA Nordic Junior National Team, also recorded a strong showing for the older group (41:42).

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