Friday, November 6, 2009

Synopsis of snowshoe results

2003 1st annual Northfield Mountain snowshoe race & USSSA Qualifier 02-01-03
78 finishers – 7.25 km

1 Paul Low 33:06 2 Richard Bolt 34:20 3 Ben Nephew 35:28
1 Nikki Kimball 40:01 2 Jennifer Rappaport 40:07 3 Susanah Landreth 43:01

40+ Dan Verrington 36:48 40+ Women Eva Van Stratum 50:23
50+ Craig Wilson 47:49
60+ Ed Alibozek Jr 50:29
70+ Richard Busa 82:48

Northfield was the site of the second Eastern regional qualifier for the National snowshoe championship.  The top ten finishers in five age groups earned the right to race in Salt Lake City on March 29.  The 8am start was needed to get the snowshoe group off the trails before weekend skiers arrived.  Temperatures were around mid-30’s and it was cloudy but there was no wind.  A fast “New England style” groomed course for the first 2 kilometers would spread out the field.  The lead pack hit the mile in under 6 minutes.  At the 4 kilometer mark Richard Bolt pulled ahead on one of the tougher climbs.  The chase pack failed to take the sharp left at the summit and continued on in the uphill direction.  Bolt failed to negotiate the final sharp left onto the single track section.  Apparently this trail was missed by quite a few runners (by my count 22 of the 78 finishers missed one turn or another).  Low moved into the lead and coasted to the finish.  Low’s take “The Northfield Mountain snowshoe race was the most competitive field that I had encountered in my short ‘career’ on the skins”.  Nikki Kimball took the women’s race with a six second victory over Jennifer Rappaport.  Rappaport noted “My plan was to try to keep up with her through the uphill and then if I was in range, catch her on the final descending 2k.  I was able to keep her in view for most of the steeps, but then lost her towards the end… probably because I tripped and fell twice!  Once we started our descent, my legs came back to me and I began a full stride run down the mountain.  I yelled at her back “Hey Kimball, I’m coming to get you!.  In retrospect it was probably a dumb move to alert a competitor, but hey it was a fun time trying to catch her after tipping her off”.

Pictures:  HYPERLINK ""
Pictures:  HYPERLINK ""

2004 2nd annual Northfield Mountain snowshoe race & USSSA Qualifier 02-06-04
79 finishers – 7.25 km

1 Richard Bolt 33:35 2 Paul Low 36:06 3 Ethan Hemphill 36:09
2 Kelli Lusk 41:32 2 Janice Morra 45:23 3 Jennifer Shultis 46:48

40+ Dan Verrington 37:02 40+ Women Janice Morra 45:23
50+ Edward Myers 42:34 50 Women Carol Kane 49:48
60+ Ed Alibozek Jr 48:22
70+ Richard Busa 63:16

For the second year in a row, Northfield Mountain served as the site of one of the Eastern Regional qualifiers for the national snowshoe championships.  Runners arrived in the early morning hours looking to finish in the top 10 in their age-group to qualify for the Nationals, or to score points in the WMAC series, or just to have a chance to compete in the scenic woods on the slopes of Northfield Mountain.  The race was scheduled to start at 8 AM to avoid the ski crowd.  Over 300 flags lined the 4.5 mile course.  Runners were waiting to register when the building was opened at 6:30 AM.  I was met by Bill Gabriel, my Northfield contact,, with bad news.  “We can’t groom the course due to the ice”.  My first reaction was “What can we do”, then I realized this is a snowshoe race and 100% un-groomed trail would be fine.  Bill determined that he could drive a snowmobile over the course to pack down a small path.  After that there were parts about 3’ wide and other 6’ wide that would be relatively fast.  Just after 8 AM under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 20’s, the crowd of 79 sprinted off on the initial 1400m loop.  Two distinct packs formed.  Paul Low (2003 mountain runner of the year) and Ethan Hemphill (4:01 mile PR) fronted the first group.  The second batch of runners caught up to the first group on the single-track section and had no choice but to stay in line as passing was nearly impossible.  Steve Peterson (who finished 17th) noted “I was all alone out there but on some of the long straights I could see a huge group running together”.  He was seeing places 2-16 which were running one behind the other.  As the main pack turned onto the downhill stretch which was wide enough to pass on, “People just went flying by” according to CMS runner James Pawlicki.  Bolt “pushed the pace early, but then ran just hard enough to stay out in front’ in taking the victory.  On the ladies side US mountain team member and former National snowshoe champion Kelli Lusk took an impressive victory placing 21st overall.

2005 3rd annual Northfield Mountain snowshoe race & USSSA Qualifier 02-05-05
92 finishers – 7.25 km

1 Paul Low 30:20 2 Richard Bolt 30:54 3 Peter Maksimow 32:25
1 Kelli Lusk 36:35 2 Meghan Young 42:30 3 Kristel Dunphy 43:26

40+ Dan Verrington 32:31 40+ Women Sandra Superchi 55:17
50+ Edward Myers 40:47 50+ Women Carol Kane 49:55
60+ Ed Alibozek Jr 48:54

For the third year in a row the Northfield race served as a qualifier for the USSSA National championship and was also part of the WMAC snowshoe series.  This year great conditions and a strong field led to some very fast times.

Overnight temperatures in the 20’s firmed up the surface that could have been run sans snowshoes.  Runners arrived from nine states, including California, and ranged form 14 to 75 years old.  Thirty-two runners were USSSA members attempting to qualify for the championship race to be held in Alaska in March.  Paul Low took the race out and hit the mile in just under six-minutes with a ten second lead on teammate Richard Bolt.  Low expanded his lead to 34 seconds by the finish.  Kelli Lusk dominated, never looking back, taking a 6 minute victory.  The team championship was taken by CMS-West by one point over the Keene based Endurance team.  CMS took the top five places overall, however they had designated various teams based on geographic location.  CMS-North and CMS-East took third and fourth respectively.

2006 4th Annual Northfield Mountain snowshoe race & USSSA qualifier 02-04-06
69 finishers – 5.2 miles

1 Richard Bolt 36:43 2 Paul Low 37:21 3 Mark Churchill 38:27
1 Kelli Lusk 52:09 2 Stephanie Nephew 55:00 3 Chelynn Tetrault 56:04

40+ Dan Verrington 40:47 40+ Women Candra Superchi 1:01:51
50+ Wayne Stocker 50:41 50+ Women Laura Clark 1:12:49
60+ John Pelton 53:56 60+ Women Carol Kane 1:00:53
70+ Rich Busa 1:12:37

Things were not looking good for this year’s race with most of Southern New England experiencing little to no snow.  Ed Alibozek came through in the clutch (as only he can) saving the race.  Bob Worsham states “Ed, who knows everybody having to do with anything in any forest in Western Massachusetts makes his contacts to Americorps, then works his magic to get some sort of permits to hold the Northfield race in the only place in New England with snow….the Hawley State Forest.  As there were a small number of qualifiers for the National championship it was important to have the race if possible.  We had an excellent morning for racing in the woods with temperatures in the 40’s.  It wasn’t the greatest snow, but the course was challenging and fairly fast.  A small lead pack formed early on with Mark Churchill in the lead and Paul Low and Richard Bolt tucked behind.  Bolt made his move just after the three mile mark on the 5.2 mile course and forged ahead on the 300’ climb up Hallockville road.  He took the victory, 38 seconds ahead of Low and 1:44 up on Churchill.  Kelli Lusk beat CMS teammate Stephanie Nephew by 2:51 to take the women’s title.

2007 5th Annual Northfield Mountain Snowshoe race 02-03-07

This was a year of extremes.  The ground was bare throughout New England until the Valentines Day Blizzard.  Unfortunately Northfield was on the calendar two weeks prior.  With no snow, and little interest in holding the race as a trail run, the race was postponed and ultimately cancelled.

2007 1st Annual Massachusetts snowshoe championship @ Northfield Mountain 03-11-07
24 finishers - 3.9 miles
1 Paul Low 32:40 2 Dave Dunham 35:14 3 Ethan Nedeau 36:45
1 Kelli Lusk 40:20 2 Sheila Osgood 45:33 3 Sherisa Sterling 1:09:22

40+ Dave Dunham 35:14
50+ Richard Clark 48:58 50+ Women Sherisa Sterling 1:09:22
60+ Ed Alibozek Jr. 50:50

Although there was little interest from the Baystate games, we decided it would be a good idea to hold a state championship (everyone was welcome, but only MA residents were eligible for title of “State champ”).  The race went pretty smoothly, we had a decent turn-out.  Conditions were good on the out/back to the summit, all on single-track trails that are dedicated for use for snowshoe only.  The course climbed 850’ to the viewing platform in a mere 1.95 miles, and then descended the same trail.  WMAC points were added to all-time totals but the race was not included for the 2007 racing season.

2008 6th Annual Northfield Mountain snowshoe race 02-02-08
41 finishers – 3.8 miles
1 Dave Dunham 34:52 2 Ethan Nedeau 35:43 3 Tim Mahoney 36:02
1 Chelynn Tetrault 44:58 2 Laurel Shortell 53:17 3 Denise Dion 53:17

40+ Dave Dunham 34:52 40+ Women Laurel Shortell 53:17
50+ Bob Dion 38:45
60+ Ed Alibozek Jr 49:28
70+ Richard Busa 1:04:57

At the last minute the course was shortened and revised to use what little snow remained.  There was not much snow on the ground in New England, however there was definitely enough on the single-track trails of Northfield to allow for a romp to the summit and back.

2008 2nd Annual Massachusetts snowshoe championship @ Northfield Mountain 03-15-08
27 Finishers – 4 miles

1 Ethan Nedeau 38:04 2 Steve Peterson 39:44 3 Rob Smith 40:11
1 Chelynn Tetrault 48:16 2 Ashley Krause 52:14 3 Laurel Shortell 58:55 3 Denise Dion 1:01:27

40+ Steve Peterson 39:44 40+ Women Laurel Shortell 58:55
50+ Bob Dion 42:32
60+ Ed Alibozek Jr 59:37
70+ Richard Busa 1:10:08

Once again snowshoe conditions in mid-March were not looking good.  With Bill Gabriel's vast knowledge of the Mountain and my willingness to check out any possible course, the race was a "go".  On race morning the field was greeted by snowshowers and some slick driving to get to Northfield.  26 Runners headed out a 9:00 and Ben Nephew hit the trail 12 minutes later.  Ethan Nedeau started conservatively taking the lead for good just after the mile mark.  He ultimately expanded his lead to 1:44.  Steve Peterson and Rob Smith, CMS teammates, battled for second place (and top 40+), with Peterson taking the measure of Smith by 27 seconds.  Cheylnn Tetrault was the women's winner by nearly four minutes.

2009 7th Annual Northfield Mountain snowshoe race 01-31-09
77 finishers – 3.8 miles
1 Josh Ferenc 31:31 2 Justin Fyffe 32:42 3 Leigh Schmitt 32:54
1 Abby Woods 39:26 2 amy Lane 44:24 3 Beth Herder 46:49

40+ Dave Dunham 33:36 40+ Women Cynthia Tingle 54:02
50+ Paul Bazanchuk 37:03 50+ Women Beth Herder 46:49
60+ Martin Glendon 58:34 60+ Women Kathy Furlani 58:39
70+ Uncontested 70+ Women Betty Lacharite 1:28:31

Over 70 runners took advantage of beautiful weather (20’s and sunny) and excellent snow conditions in the 7th tour of the scenic trail around and over Northfield Mountain.  Most of the race took place on the “snowshoe only” trails which also happen to be some of the more scenic trails on the mountain.  Josh Ferenc didn’t wait long before accelerating and stringing out a chase pack behind him.  The trail was much firmer than Friday night and the going seemed quite fast (under 10 minutes for Ferenc for the first mile which climbed about 400’).  The out and back section to the viewing platform gave everyone an opportunity to scope out the competition.  Josh extended his lead to about 30 seconds at the top and with a strong descent won by over a minute, despite taking a couple of spills.  Abby Woods continued her dominance of the WMAC Dion snowshoe series with her 10th win in her last 10 races from this and last season.

2009 3rd Annual Massachusetts snowshoe championship @ Northfield Mountain 03-14-09
46 Finishers – 4.0 miles
1 Leigh Schmitt 27:03 2 Ethan Nedeau 27:21 3 Brian Rusiecki 27:58
1 Chelynn Tetrault 37:01 2 Amy Lane 37:35 3 Pam Dooley 40:29

40+ Tim Van Orden 27:59 40+ Women Laurel Shortell 47:40
50+ Peter Malinowski 34:25 50+ Women Denise Dion 48:43
60+ Allan Bates 34:08 60+ Women Kathy Furlani 44:30
70+ Art Gulliver 1:01:58

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