Series ends under sunny skies
The Nordic gods were shining over the fifth and final Timberland Wasatch Citizens Series on Saturday at the White Pine Touring Center. Not only were the cross-country racers treated to a warm and sunny day, but they also had near-record 260 participants, many of them children.
"It was amazing. This year has been amazing. We’ve had more participants than ever before," said Dave Hanscom, spokesman for The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA).
Two weeks ago, at another Timberland race at Soldier Hollow, the complex’s general manger, Howard Peterson, decided to celebrate the venue’s Olympic legacy. Part of the celebration included inviting the cross-country ski students from the Soldier Hollow Charter School to compete in the race. Many of the students liked racing so much that they made the trip to White Pine to compete again.
"It’s so much fun to see little kids enjoy this sport," Hanscom said.
Hanscom said that the Timberland Wasatch Citizen’s series success has been even more encouraging because many cross-country areas in the East closed soon after the holidays due to a lack of snow.
"This year has been as good a year as any year," Hanscom said.
Despite the unusually warm weather on Saturday, Hanscom said that the course quality was excellent. The White Pine race crew groomed the trail the night before, allowing the course to freeze and set up overnight.
"The quality at this time of year is the snow is hard and fast. It makes for fun racing," Hanscom said.
The final race also crowned a number of competitors in various age divisions. Salt Lake’s Barry Makarewicz finished with the most overall points in the men’s open division. Among Park City racers, Bruce Allen was emerged to win the last two races in the men’s 45-49 division, the largest and most competitive in the series. White Pine owner Charlie Sturgis finished the year with some strong finishes, which Hanscom says seldom happens due to Sturgis’ busy schedule.
On the women’s side, Roxanne Toly and Kelly Milligan finished at the top of the women’s open division for the year. Deb Wagner also had a successful year throughout the first four races of the series, but missed the last to watch her daughter, Wendy, compete in the Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Among the youth, Junior Olympic-bound Rosie Brennan and Elizabeth Guiney continued to dominate in their age groups. Among the boys, Gunnar Stray-Gunderson and Danny Guiney also led their respective age groups.
"It was just a wonderful season and just a rewarding year," Hanscom said.
Although, the Timberland Wasatch Citizen’s Series is over for the year, TUNA faithful still have a few races left in the season. The next will be the inaugural Ullr Chase 40K race next Saturday in Logan Canyon. For information about this race and other upcoming events, log onto http://www.utahnordic.com .
For complete results from Timberland Wasatch Citizen’s Series No.5, see the scoreboard section starting on B-4.
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Charlie Sturgis, executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, announces he will step down in June
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