XC skiers undaunted by weather
For the second year in a row, the weather and track conditions were perfect for the final Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series race at the White Pine Farm. At least they were perfect 30 minutes before Saturday’s start time, but for the second year in a row a major front rolled through just as the race began, bringing fierce north winds and blinding snow.
Despite the adverse situation, more than 200 intrepid skiers headed out on the course. They were rewarded with much better conditions in about 15 minutes, after the front had passed. At that point, waxing became the big issue, and those who predicted the new snow were rewarded with much faster skis.
Saturday’s women’s overall winner was Stacy McCooey, who turned in her second series victory of the winter, with Park City’s Roxanne Toly placing third. On the men’s side, Thomas Seidel also had his second win this year, by a narrow margin over Parkite Jason Travis. Seidel’s time for the 19-kilometer course, three laps around the Farm loop, was a commendable one hour flat.
This was the final race of the Smartwool series, so season leaders were also determined last weekend. Points are accumulated over the winter, and winners are selected based on their top four scores out of the five races. Toly and Seidel came out on top this year.
Several age-group titles came down to the last race. White Pine waxing guru Kurt Reynolds, for example, was down six points and needed a victory in the men’s 50-54 class to wrap up a season win. He maintained a blistering pace to beat all rivals by more than a minute.
Julia Lazzaroni and Lindsey Adams placed in the top four on Saturday to pull them up to first and second overall among the 14-15s. Sara Morgan turned in the fastest time of the day among all of the 10-11s of both genders to maintain her season lead over Heber rival Lina Farra.
The most exciting finish of the day involved KPCW news reporter Lynn Ware-Peek, who needed a good finish to take the season title from leader Tanya Swenson in the women’s 45-49 class. On Saturday, Lynn led Salt Lake rival Bente Rokenes for most of the race, but lost in a sprint to the line by mere inches.
Another narrow loss for a Parkite was Leah Lange’s close finish with Junior National team mate Katy Bonacci in the girls’ 14-15 class. Both of these girls will be headed for Fairbanks, Alaska, next week to represent the Intermountain Division of the U.S. Ski Association in the National Championships. Other Parkites on that team are Kyle Beling, Brenna Egan, Alex Jackson, Julia Lazzaroni and Sophie McDonald.
Park City skiers filled the podium in three age groups on Saturday. Alex Jackson, Noah Putt, and Jesse Reid topped the boys’ 14-15s. Savanna Fassio, Liza Greene, and Grace Richards were the fastest 12-13-year-old girls. The men’s 50-55 division was dominated by Paul Smith, Bruce Allen, and Jordan Swenson.
Several season titles had already been decided. Deborah Wagner won all four of the previous WCS events in the women’s 60-64 class, but added a fifth to wrap up the winter in style. Marit Glenne took her fourth to end the season with a perfect score in the women’s 65-60 class. Other Parkites finishing with three victories were John Fassio, Sydney Palmer-Leger, Aiden Rasmussen, Lora Smith, Tanya Swenson, Kirsten Whetstone, and Sabine Wilson.
The Smartwool Wasatch Citizens Series is done for another winter, but the skiing at White Pine is as good as it’s been all winter, both on the golf course and at the farm.
Local nordic racers are training for the Round Valley Roundup a week from Saturday. This hasn’t been the greatest winter for snow conditions out there, but if the weather cooperates, it should be another memorable race. To sign up, go to the Mountain Trails website.
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Kathleen O’Connell, who makes her return to Nordic combined this weekend at the Continental Cup, is moving to Park City to pursue a career in Nordic combined.