Lake Placid’s Max Fey wins individual Nordic title

Lake Placid’s Max Fey skis in the Section VII Nordic skiing championship race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Feb. 15. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

LAKE PLACID — The Saranac Lake boys and girls Nordic ski teams captured the Section VII title on Thursday, Feb. 15 at Mount Van Hoevenberg — the site will also be used for the NYSPHSAA Skiing Championships on Feb. 26 and 27.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Section VII teams — Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Keene — faced off in the team relay at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake, followed by the individual 7.5-kilometer skate race on Feb. 15. The top finishers from both days were the deciding factor for the state team and sectional champion.

The Feb. 15 race was the culmination of a competitive season during which the teams raced locally and at invitationals a total of 12 times, despite the challenging weather.

The Red Storm’s Tyler Burth, a sophomore, claimed her third straight individual sectional title, winning the girls race in 23 minutes, 24 seconds. Burth quickly led the pack of skiers on Feb. 15 and never looked back, earning her 10th individual win of the season.

“My strategy was to go really hard at the beginning and get my standing and study it out and carry through, keep my pace,” she said. “It was a pretty similar route throughout the entire and then I just hammered it at the end.”

Lake Placid’s Harley Cohen. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

Holly Erenstone led Lake Placid with a second-place finish. She finished roughly 1 minute back of Burth. Erenstone was followed by her Blue Bomber teammate Maya Garrison in 24:54 for third place.

Three eighth-grade standouts secured the win for Saranac Lake, as Cadence Kennedy, Kaylee Holmes and Pepper Laxson claimed the next three spots. Those three skiers, along with Burth will represent Saranac Lake at the NYSPHSAA Nordic championships in Lake Placid.

“It’s so incredible and I’m so proud of my team. Everybody is so young,” Burth said. “It’s special that I got to help them win and get to bring them to states this year.

“Hopefully it’ll be a good advantage for us (being in Lake Placid),” she added. “The course was pretty good today, so if it holds up like this it’ll be really fun to ski here.”

Lake Placid’s Erenstone, Garrison and Harley Cohen will compete as individuals, while Keene’s Pia Morrelli and Zarella Gulli will also race as individuals. Saranac Lake’s Lila Zobel will be an alternate.

Lake Placid's Trey Mariano. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

On the boys side, Lake Placid’s Max Fey, a seventh grader, claimed the individual boys title with a time of 19:45, finishing 17 seconds ahead of Saranac Lake’s Owen Keal after a back-and-forth battle throughout the race.

Fey jumped the gun on the first lap before Keal overtook him on the second lap. However, on the final stretch, Fey was able to steal the win from Keal.

“I just wanted it pretty bad, so I just hammered on this last hill here and it was pretty sweet,” Fey said.

His efforts marked the seventh year in a row that a Lake Placid boys Nordic skier has won the individual sectional title. The last Red Storm boy to win the individual title was Bryce Hartman in 2016.

“I wasn’t expecting to win sectionals this year,” Fey said. “I thought I did pretty good. Coming off of being sick. I had an awesome race. I’m pretty psyched.

Lake Placid’s Jesse Carlson. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

Lake Placid’s Colin Francis was third, but Saranac Lake claimed the next seven spots to take the team win. For Saranac Lake’s Nordic head coach Keith Kogut, it was the first time in his 11 years as the head coach that the Red Storm boys and girls team won the sectional title in the same year.

While Fey won the individual sectional title, he won’t compete at the NYSPHSAA state meet in two weeks. He will be competing in Junior Nationals for Nordic combined in Anchorage, Alaska.

Keal, alongside Mason Stoddard, Jake Kollmer, Ebin Meissner, Max Hall, Liam Stoddard and Alex Evans will represent Saranac Lake at the state meet. The Red Storm’s Keaton Daley will be an alternate.

Lake Placid will be represented by Francis and Aidan Fay. Fay did not compete on Feb. 15 but qualified for the state meet due to his result in the team relay on Feb. 13.

The NYSPHSAA Nordic High School Championship will kick off on Monday, Feb. 26 with the girls 7.5K individual skate at 10 a.m. followed by the boys race at 11:15 a.m. The second day of the state tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 27 will feature the boys and girls 3x3K Classic Relay at the same time.

Lake Placid’s Holly Erenstone. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

Keene’s Zarella Gulli. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

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