Nimble Ashwaubenon skiers win at State Sprint Championships
By Cathy Putman
Special to The Press Times
MADISON – After two days of spring racing on a ribbon of slushy snow in Elver Park in Madison, the Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team (ANST) took home a few trophies.
The State Sprint Championships featured team sprint relays Saturday and individual sprints Sunday, March 13-14.
On Saturday, Kevin Johnson (Ashwaubenon) and Grant Rocheleau (Bay Port) took a clear win in the relay state championships in the high school division, ANST’s third consecutive victory in this event.
They out-glided teams from Peak Nordic, Wausau Nordic United and Madnorski in the A Final.
Mason Vinoski (Ashwaubenon) and Jon Hanson (Pulaski) took first in the B Final.
Sam Calaway and Viggo Sorbo from Ashwaubenon were fourth in the B Final.
Middle school racers included Ben Buchmann and Erik Johnson teaming for fourth in the A Final and Alex Bogenschutz and Sean Johnson finished third in the B Final.
“The variable and slushy snow was athletically demanding and staying over your skis was tough,” said ANST coach Scott Putman. “It was like playing ultimate Frisbee on skis, something the athletes love and we do at nearly every snow practice.”
On Sunday, skiers put their agility on display as they maneuvered sharp turns, climbs and skier traffic on the 1.1-kilometer course for the qualifier.
Three heats of head-to-head racing followed in a unique, no-elimination format.
Johnson and Rocheleau emerged first and second from the qualifier, with Vinoski fourth.
In the A Final, Johnson took home the trophy, followed by Vinoski in second.
Rocheleau’s charge was hampered by a fall, and he finished sixth in the final heat.
This is ANST’s third year claiming the title and runner-up at the sprint championships.
Hanson (16th), Calaway (17th) and Sorbo (23rd) also participated.
In the middle school competition, Ben Buchmann (Aldo Leopold) fell in his final, dashing his hopes for a podium spot, finishing fifth.
Parkview skiers Erik Johnson (eighth), Sean Johnson (14th) and Alex Bogenschutz (15th) also competed.