DALTON -- The second Nordic ski meet of the season displayed a little bit of everything. The boys' race featured sound teamwork and killer instinct, while the girls' featured pure competitiveness and race tactic.
Mount Greylock's Alex White and Will Kirby established themselves as front-runners early in the boys' race, allowing them to stay ahead of the mayhem that ensued on the hills during the first lap. The duo used each other throughout, taking turns leading in the open fields at Wahconah High School. When it came down to the final stretch, it was White who was in front and finished the 5.5-kilometer course first, stopping the clock at 17 minutes, 13 seconds. Kirby crossed the line 1 second behind.
"We're definitely competitive all the time," White said of his battle with Kirby. "Once I got to the soccer field, pretty close to the end, that's when I felt like I could finally take it. So I started hammering there and from then on, that's when I really felt like I had the win."
The Mounties claimed five of the top six spots, with Will Nolan (3rd, 17:42), Sean Houston (5th, 17:52) and Matt Wiseman (6th, 18:10) taking those positions. Wahconah's Curran Doyle finished 11th.
In the girls' race, Lenox's Josie Marshall and Greylock's Kat Chenail were in an equally tight battle. But instead of swapping first and second, Chenail was content to draft off the stronger Marshall for much of the race. She passed Marshall about mid way through
"I let her lead for the first lap and a half," Chenail said. "Then I took the lead halfway through the second lap. I had the lead until we came out of the woods again. She's just really a strong sprinter."
Said Marshall: "It's really nice [to have someone to ski with] because in waves, if I were to go out first, then I wouldn't have her with me. I wouldn't push myself as hard, but having that competition, we both are working with each other, we're drafting off each other. It makes for a better race all around."
The Mounties took five of the top seven in this race, with Alexandra DeVeaux (4th, 20:45), Sophia Dastoli (5th, 21:01), Alexa Adams (6th, 21:25) and Chloe Anderson (7th, 21:26) earning the other top Greylock spots.
The top finishers were able to avoid severe bottlenecks on the short, but steep hills. The boys' race had nearly 30 skiers on the second hill so close a blanket would've covered them all. In the girls' race, the pack had trouble finding enough space to make it up the first hill, which was strategically placed about 50 yards after the pole zone.
Overall, the course was a technical one because the majority lies in flat, open fields.
"What's challenging about this course is that it's flat, and because it's flat, there's no rest," Greylock girls' coach Hillary Greene said. "Usually you go up a hill and you get to come down and you can catch your breath. This, they just have almost 2 kilometers of just really hard polling. That's what's exhausting."