Parkites shined during the opening races of the annual Wasatch Citizen Series
The White Pine groomers did it again.
For the second year in a row, early season weather didn’t cooperate, and the first Wasatch Citizens Series race had to be moved. While warmer than usual weather in early December prevented the Soldier Hollow snowmakers from covering enough of their trails for our event, there wasn’t enough natural cover in the Heber Valley to be able to set a classic track.
Fortunately, skiing and weather conditions in Park City were ideal, and 190 skiers toed the starting line last Saturday for the first series race.
Current and former college skiers, some of whom grew up and learned to race in Utah, dominated the Women’s Open race. Parkite Julia Lazzaroni took home top honors, skiing two laps around the 5-kilometer course in just 35 minutes and 5 seconds. Currently a senior at Colby College in Maine, Lazzaroni has participated in several Eastern collegiate carnivals.
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Veteran Julie Davenport, a native of Maine and graduate of Dartmouth College, took home the silver, while Midway resident and University of New Hampshire sophomore Ingrid Norton was a few seconds behind her to finish in third.
The Men’s Open division was dominated by Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) standout Vincent Bonacci. Primarily a biathlon competitor, Bonacci joined Team USA at the Junior World Championships last winter in Slovakia. Currently a student at the University of Utah, he trains with the TUNA Junior Team and the Soldier Hollow Biathlon Team.
Just a few seconds behind Bonacci’s time of 29:25, and the only other skier to break a half hour, was the winner of the U18 division, Wes Campbell. A member of the Park City Junior Nordic Team, Campbell was on the Intermountain Junior National Team last winter, and appears to be on track for a stellar cross-country skiing career.
Many Park City skiers were at the top of their age groups this week, as the Page family took home top honors for family results.
Milo got the blue ribbon in the U14 class, beating rival Lucas Fassio to the finish by less than a half minute. Pearl had an easy win in the U10 division, as did father Jonathan in the 40-44 class. Not to be outdone, 3-year-old Ansel decided he was old enough to ski the 1-kilometer loop with the 5-7 year olds.
The closest race of the day was in the U14 class, where Parkite Estoban Hoffman lost a squeaker to Soldier Hollow skier Easton Boyer. In another sprint to the finish, local skier Ian Carmack finished a couple of seconds ahead of TUNA junior Jaydon Crouch to win the U12 group. Park City Junior Team skiers Elena Grissom and Emily Campbell topped the U16.
It was great to see so many junior skiers on the track. It’s particularly encouraging to see so many of them mastering classic technique, which is the basis for our sport. The three successful junior programs — TUNA, Park City Nordic, and Soldier Hollow — are the key to the future of cross-country skiing in Utah.
The next event in the Wasatch Citizens Series will be a 15-kilometer free technique (skate) race, also at White Pine. Let’s hope this early season weather holds up and brings us another great winter of cross-country skiing at all the local areas.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.