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Skiers assemble for skiathlon

January 16, 2018
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Breaths froze instantly, filling the air with a light haze that was quickly burned off by the rising sun Monday morning as local boys claimed five of the top 10 spots in the Section VII Invitational skiathlon at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Lake Placid's Scott Schulz and Saranac Lake's Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour went one-two in the boys race, which consisted of two laps on the same course. Skiers went out on classic skis and then switched to skate skis for another lap and a total distance just shy of 6 kilometers.

Schulz and Cheney-Seymour, both of whom have been competing in additional ski events in places like Wisconsin and Alaska, jumped out to an early lead in the boys field of 40. Schulz, who is traveling to Finland for races later this month, put some distance between himself and Cheney-Seymour on the first lap, and finished with a time of 15 minutes, 29.6 seconds, 10 seconds ahead of Cheney-Seymour.

Article Photos

Lake Placid’s Scott Schulz, left, and Saranac Lake’s Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour take an early lead during Monday’s Section VII Invitational cross-country ski meet at Mount Van
Hoevenberg outside Lake Placid. The pair went on to finish one-two out of a field of 40 racers from at least 10 schools around the state.
(News photo — Justin A. Levine)

Queensbury's Daniel Manzella (16:00.3) rounded out the top three, while Saranac Lake's Jacob Alberga (16:24.3) placed sixth. Lake Placid's Mike Skutt (17:01.7) took eighth and Saranac Lake's Nick Kelting (17:28.7) came in 10th.

Schulz is not expected to miss the NYSPHSAA Nordic skiing championships in late February because of his international travel. He will compete at the U18 Scandinavian Championships in Vuokatti, Finland the last weekend in January.

"I'm super excited to go," the Lake Placid senior said. "We've got a great group of guys going. We're all buddies so I can't wait."

This will be Schulz's first trip to compete in Europe, and he is looking forward to the camaraderie as well as the travel.

"I'm kind of used to it now, but then again I'm kind of not. As long as you're with the team, it's still a lot of fun but it's definitely something you have to get used to. Like in Alaska, in the winter there's only about 5 or 6 hours of daylight and that was weird to get used to.

"There's definitely a learning curve to everywhere you go, but if you're a good skier you can adapt to that really fast."

After strong finishes in a trio of races in Anchorage, Schulz earned the slot for the international competition, which he said is good motivation for the ski season. Schulz is also looking to claim his third straight individual title at the state meet in February, after the Blue Bombers captured individual and team titles last year.

"I'll definitely be back [from Europe] for states, and I'm super excited," he said. "I'm glad that all my championship races aren't messing up with each other.

"My NYSEF [New York Ski Educational Foundation] coaches already peaked me for Alaska and I'll have to try and peak again next week and then again for states and then again for Junior Nationals, so it's pretty much just a winter of championship races."

On the girls side Monday, locals claimed five of the top 20 spots, with Lake Placid's Sarah Rose-McCandlish leading the way with a seventh-place finish in 20:31.2. Saranac Lake's Sylvie Linck also placed in the top 10 with her time of 21:00.3, which was good enough for a ninth-place spot.

Lake Placid's Bea Hollander (22:15.7) was 13th across the line in the field of 33 skiers, and the third Blue Bomber in the race, Annie Rose-McCandlish (22:47.7) placed 17th. Saranac Lake eighth grader Evelyn Eller (23:26.8) finished 19th.

In the team scoring, the Saranac Lake boys topped the field with 18 points, followed by Queensbury (25) and Lake Placid (31). The Queensbury girls led the way with 11, while Shenendehowa (30) was second, Lake Placid (37) was third and Saranac Lake (52) was fourth.

Saranac Lake coach Keith Kogut thinks his boys team has a shot at the state title this year, but will likely be battling Queensbury for the trophy. Kogut said hosting a big meet like Monday's is a good way for coaches and skiers to size each other up.

"It gives them a more accurate representation of where they're actually at," he said. "It can be discouraging or less fun if you know you're always going to be in fifth place. But here, they could be 10th out of 100 or something like that, so it can be a confidence boost and show them where they're actually at.

"It's going to be tough, but we're in the running," he continued. "One of their top guys wasn't here, so it wasn't quite the battle I'd hoped it would be. We had a really good race from Lauchy [Cheney-Seymour] and Jacob [Alberga] and our freshman boys Colter [Cheney-Seymour], Adrian [Hayden] and Taylor [Samburg] really stepped up too, so the future looks bright."

Kogut is also optimistic about his girls team, which is young. Linck is a sophomore and Eller is still in middle school.

"They're getting better every race," he said. "And we're really thinking a year or two, they're going to have their time. So they're coming."



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