A dozen boys’ teams and nearly as many girls’ teams competed in the Tour de Chittenden held over three days at three different Chittenden County venues. This race format is similar to the Tour de France including yellow jerseys for the leaders. The first leg was a skate sprint at Colchester High School on January 25 under the lights. The second was a 5K in the classic style at the Range in Jericho with the skiers seeded in reverse order. The final race was a true pursuit with the leader going first in the yellow jersey with each skier starting after that based on the combined time they achieved in the first two legs. The third leg was a 1K climb up Cochran’s ski area in Richmond.
Sam Hodges from Middlebury went into the last leg over 55 seconds ahead of the closest competition and no one could touch him. The prolog on Day One was a short skate sprint under the lights at Colchester High School. Tyler Skroski was the top Harwood sprinter finishing in 22nd place (7:29), followed by Walker Caffry Randall in 26th (7:34), Seth Davidson in 45th (8:06) and Brendan Magill in 49th (8:11).
On Day Two, the skiers went out in groups of three in reverse order in 30-second intervals. The Harwood team has not had any opportunities for long-distance training this season, but as seasoned cross-country runners, they all hung in there and skied well. Brendan Magill, the eighth fastest runner in D2 cross-country this year, had a particularly fine race and moved up six places. Using the combined time from the two days of racing, the HU boys would head into the final leg with Skroski in 21st, Caffry Randall in 31st, Magill in 43rd, Davidson in 52nd, Carlton Cummiskey in 73rd, Mason Berry in 74th and Acme Wasi in 77th.
Caffry Randall finished as the 17th fastest uphill skier at Cochran’s, placing him 22nd overall. Skroski was HU’s second fastest hill climber, which, combined with is earlier results, made him the boys’ team top overall finisher at 19th. Magill moved up to 37th. Davidson’s overall result was 55th. Cummiskey and Berry, the varsity’s two freshmen, moved up to 68th and 70th.
For the varsity girls, Quincy Massey-Bierman of Burlington High School was the girls’ overall winner. After the first day, Harwood’s top girl was Jordi Kulis in 12th (8:00). Kyle Marie Hekeler finished in 16th (8:08), with freshman Mackenzie Greenberg in 22nd (8:28) and Erin Magill in 30th (8:43).
On the long second leg at the Range, two-time D2 state champion Erin Magill moved up four places and Jordi Kulis moved up seven, so the standing after Day Two was Kulis in fifth, Hekeler 15th, Magill 26th and Camille Sweet 63rd.
As the girls headed up the mountain at Cochran’s, there were four DI skiers who started ahead of Kulis but Kulis stayed steady while passing two of the DI skiers resulting in the third fastest girls’ climb of the day. HU was unable to field a full team for the final leg and Erin Magill, an award-winning alpine skier, ironically had a problem on an ice patch, but Camille Sweet moved up four places after a successful climb and many of the JV girls had great races on the shorter JV climb.