Parkites set pace at Wasatch Citizens Series |

Parkites set pace at Wasatch Citizens Series

Submitted by Dave Hanscom
The Utah Nordic Alliance
Tyler Quinn Smith outsprints the pack for a first-place finish in Saturday’s race.
Courtesy of Gary Fladmoe

Tyler Quinn Smith came home for the holidays and showed the local cross-country skiers that he hasn’t forgotten how to go fast – despite having moved to D.C. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire last spring, he took a job with a nonprofit in the nation’s capital, but it didn’t take long to get his ski legs under him once he got back to Park City.

Skating three times around White Pine’s 5.3K loop in a speedy 42:56, the NCAA Academic All American won the second race in the Black Diamond Wasatch Citizens Series on Saturday in a sprint to the finish. Biding his time in a large pack for the first two laps, Tyler took the lead in the closing kilometers and beat his competitors up the hill to the line.

The women’s race was also won by a Parkite. With the team skiers at the Senior Nationals last weekend, Roxanne Toly easily outdistanced all her rivals, covering the 16K in 49:09. This was Roxanne’s 150th Wasatch Citizens Series race. She hasn’t missed many of our events since the late 80’s, and has been on the podium in most of them.

Almost 300 people, ranging from 4 years old to 80 years young, turned out on a beautiful sunny day to enjoy the fast, perfectly groomed track. With more than a month of training under their belts, Utah skiers are a lot more ready for a race now than at almost any time last winter.

The latest Wasatch Centurion is Nancy Fichter, who finished her 100th Wasatch Citizens Series event on Saturday. Since moving to Utah from the Midwest about 30 years ago, she and her husband Gary have been regular participants in these races.

Competition is fierce among the juniors in these races. The Park City Junior Ski Teamers were out in force, beating out rivals from Soldier Hollow (Heber) and TUNA (Salt Lake) to take top places in many classes. It’s great to see so many kids skiing so fast. Times for even the youngest were less than four minutes per kilometer (about six minutes per mile).

In two age groups, Park City youngsters swept the podiums. Milo Page edged rival Lucas Fassio to take the win in the under-12 boys group, with Ryan Thompson rounding out the top three. Tegan and Meia Hoffman took gold and bronze among the under-10 girls, with Natalia Szwaikun getting the silver medal. Wes Campbell, Sevi Miller, Victoria Olson, Sabine Wilson, Bailey Carmack, and Pearl Page also won their classes.

The next event in the Black Diamond Wasatch Citizens Series is a 10K free technique (skate) event at Soldier Hollow on January 26. After Sunday’s significant back-side storm, it looks like they’ll finally have enough snow to open their whole trail system.

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