The competition was solid, but the sportsmanship was even better.
That’s the way New Paltz High School Nordic skiing coach Ann Gregory described the Section 9 boys and girls races, which were held at Mohonk Mountain House on Tuesday.
The New Paltz girls won the team championship, led by junior Jordan Nagel, who won the 7.5-kilometer race in 34:15. New Paltz senior Owen Sheekey won the boys 10-kilometer race in 35:04. The Wallkill boys won the team title.
Altogether, 10 Huguenot skiers qualified for the New York State championships, which will be held at Bristol Mountain and Harriet Hollister Park in Canandaigua Feb. 27-28.
“It was great,” Gregory said of the Section 9 competition. “The kids race against each other all the time. They’re happy to have their friends win and they’re happy to win themselves.”
Sheekey was one of three boys skiers from New Paltz to qualify for the state championship. Teammates Wells Willett and Luke Gerber also qualified, although Gerber will be unable to attend the state meet.
Gregory said Sheekey was fatigued after he crossed the finish line but turned around to shake the hand of second-place finisher, Wallkill’s Max Marvin.
“I think Owen was relieved (he won),” Gregory said. “He shook Max’s hand and he was happy.”
Nagel qualified for the state championship for the third straight year and will return to states a year after placing fourth. She will be joined by teammates Abbey Gravatt, Stephanie Stewart-Hill, Amelia St. John, Kaya Jordan and Willa Butler.
The top 10 finishers at the state championship receive a medal.
“We’d certainly like to see Jordan in that top 10,” Gregory said. “We’d like to see Owen in the top 15. For the other group, if they can get into that top 20, 30. That’s a good race for them.”
A.J. Martelli: email@example.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports