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Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) cross-country skiers have been traveling a lot this winter to compete against the best skiers in the nation. Current students and recent alumni have had fantastic results already and are looking to continue to impress in the new year, according to their coach Justin Beckwith.
“All of the training that many of you get to witness on the local roads throughout the summer and fall is paying off,” he said.
Three GMVS athletes traveled to Soldier Hollow, Utah (site of the 2002 Olympic Games) just after Christmas to participate in Senior Nationals. These open national championship races also serve as trials for placement on several U.S. Ski Team sponsored trips.
Senior Heidi Halvorsen led the quad with a 15th-place finish in the first event of the series, the classic sprint. This event features a prologue and then several rounds of head-to-head skiing over a 1.4-kilometer loop. Halvorsen qualified to race with the open women and ended the day as the fifth fastest junior skier.
“This result qualified Halvorsen for her second USST U-18 Championship trip where she will join six of our best under-18 athletes to compete in Trondheim, Norway, next week,” Beckwith said.
Several recent alums also had outstanding races including Waitsfield's David Sinclair (now Dartmouth College), placing 15th in the 15-kilometer skate and an inspired sixth-place finish in the 30-kilometer classic. In this mass start style race, Sinclair outpaced two current U.S. Ski Team members. Mary Kate Cirelli, originally from Rutland (now Northern Michigan University), placed 18th in the 20-kilometer classic race and proved she is a contender on the national stage. Tim Reynolds of Bristol (now racing for the Craftsbury Green Team) qualified for both of the classic and skate sprint races and went on to place ninth in the skate event. Peter Kling, from Starksboro (now Alaska Pacific University), took 12th place in the classic sprint.
Closer to home the team has had strong results also and after two weekends of Eastern Cup competition, GMVS has claimed as many victories. Heidi Halvorsen and Maddy Pfeifer have both stood on top of the podium, besting fields consisting of New England's top high school and collegiate skiers at events held at Craftsbury and Mt. Top, respectively. Devlin Shea had a breakthrough result this past weekend at Mt. Top where he posted the fastest time in the sprint qualifier and went on to place sixth on the day.
The Eastern Cup race series provides the highest level of racing in the East and the races serve as qualification for Junior Nationals held this spring in Fairbanks, Alaska. Last season the entire GMVS squad qualified for this event. Pfeifer and Halvorsen are currently among the top ranked women in New England and they hope to be joined by Shea (recently accepted to Harvard University) and junior Ian Moore who have both had outstanding local results.