Nordic Ski races in first 5k of the season

Park place second for girls’, third for boys’


Carissa Prestholdt

Sophomore Olivia Etz skate skis during the girls’ varsity Nordic race on Dec. 13 at Hyland Park. Park girls’ varsity placed second overall at its second meet of the season.

Kaia Myers

The Nordic team had their first 5k Metro West skate race on Dec. 13 at Hyland Park. Sophomore Olivia Etz said the longer distance gave the skiers an opportunity to work on pacing themselves as opposed to faster skiing.  

“It was definitely harder than our last race, which was shorter. It was shorter, so you could go really fast and sprint the whole thing. For this you had to work on pacing yourself, which is a new thing that you’ve got to work on,” Etz said.  

According to Etz, she had never skied the Hyland Park 5k course before, but was happy with the meet’s results regardless.

“I think I did pretty good. I tried my best and I’m really proud of myself because I finished it and I haven’t done this course before, so it was a new experience,” Etz said.

Co-head coach John Dyste said one of the girls’ team’s top skiers, Cece Schmelzle, wasn’t at the meet in order to prepare for the Nationals qualifying races this weekend.

“Cece is racing this weekend. She (will)end up doing a race called (the) Junior National qualifier race. The first ones on both Saturday and Sunday are distance races, meaning they’re 10k races,” Dyste said. “For her to ski three races in four days is a lot to ask, so we made a deal with her that this is the one time we’ll allow (her to not race). The rest of the times, we expect her to be here to support the team.”

According to Etz, the skiers are looking forward to improving their 5k times through increased training.

“I’m excited to do more and get better because this is the first (5k) of the season. It’s just a start and there’s room for improvement,” Etz said.

Senior captain Cyrus Abrahamson said the team is doing harder workouts in practice, such as intervals.

“(The team’s goal is to) work harder in practice and do more intervals. Intervals are 30 seconds on (skiing) and a minute off, so go hard for thirty seconds and then not very hard,” Abrahamson said.

Dyste said the team has also implemented various forms of workouts into their training, including a threshold interval workout two days prior to the race.

“We’ve done a number of different types of workouts. We’ve done distance skiing, we’ve done sprint skiing, and we’ve done some threshold intervals,” Dyste said. “On Monday, we did a workout that was basically five minutes at sub-race pace, followed by five minutes of very easy skiing, and repeated that four times to prepare for today.”

According to Dyste, the whole team was not ready to ski the full 5k yet. The newer skiers competed in a shorter 3k developmental race.

“I’ve been pretty busy trying to figure out our new skiers and what race they should actually be in. There’s a developmental race that we have that’s (started) after the junior varsity race,” Dyste said. “We put a number of them in (the developmental race) just based on the fact that this is a pretty tough course and they haven’t seen it yet, so we wanted to err on the side of caution.”

The next Nordic Ski meet will be a classic 5k race at 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 20 at Carver Park.