Emma Garrard wins gold again
National XTERRA champion Emma Garrard picked up where she left off last winter with a convincing victory in the third Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series race on Saturday, Jan. 16. Her time for the 10.5-kilometer classic technique contest was 37 minutes, 35 seconds, which put her just a few seconds out of the top five overall. Anita Merbach was runner-up in the event.
The race was held at Mountain Dell on the course that’s maintained by The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA). The volunteer grooming crew did a superb job of setting a great classic track, despite nasty weather the previous day. Mother Nature also helped out by delaying the next storm until Saturday night, after the race was over.
Winner of the men’s race was long-time WCS participant and former national triathlon standout Barry Makarewicz. His time of 33:15 was fastest of the day, with Parkite Jason Travis just 42 seconds back.
University of Utah engineering student Dylan Noaker almost pulled off the most significant victory of his brief cross-country ski racing career. His time of 39:03 was fast enough to beat the competition in his 18-to-24-year-old class, but was three seconds shy of the winning time turned in by his father Tom in his age group. They started in different waves and skied independently, so it wasn’t a head-to-head battle, but this family rivalry is getting more interesting every time they compete. In the first WCS race in December, dad was 15 seconds ahead.
The men’s 45-49 class continues to be one of the most watched in the series. Parkites Isaac Wilson and Todd Hageman look like they’ll be taking the WCS season title down to the wire. Wilson has won both classic technique races, but Hageman got the gold in the skate event two weeks ago. Skiers accumulate points in each race, and the best four out of five determine the winter’s champion. The last two in the series are skates.
Another age group rivalry among Park City skiers is between Paul Smith and Torbjorn Karlsen in the 55-59 group. They were first and second in the last two races. Smith has come out on top so far, but by very small margins.
The next older age group was also dominated by locals. Craig Williams eked out a victory over David Stice by just 11 seconds. And for the third race in a row, the medals in the women’s 65-69 class went to Debbie Wagner, Nancy Fichter and Cindy Schwandt. Marit Glenne took the over-70 title.
The Ping family continues to dominate its age groups, with three out of four family members taking home gold medals and one winning a bronze. Both Koch siblings were also on the podium. Janne came out on top of the boys’ 10-11 division, just ahead of Wes Campbell for the third series race in a row. Stine Koch lost a close one to Grace Ping, with McKinley Hibl less than four seconds behind. Another local junior who won his class was Lucas Fassio. Jer Hopkins was runner up to Jamison Ping.
The next event in the Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series is a 10K free technique (skate) race at Soldier Hollow Saturday, Jan. 23.
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