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Lander skies to third-place tie in Pinedale

Jan 13, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The Tiger team hosts a ski clinic on Feb. 1.

The Lander Valley High School girls Nordic ski team tied Laramie for third place in the team standings Saturday, Jan. 4, at the Pinedale Invitational.

Lander and Laramie both generated 147 points apiece in the two-day event contested in very cold conditions.

The Casper Natrona girls won the team title at 221 points. Jackson was second with 189 points.

"The races were a little on the cold side," Lander coach Emily Tilden said. "The earlier start on Saturday made for some chilly conditions, but it made waxing a bit easier."

On the boys side, the Tigers were fourth, scoring 98 points. Jackson was the runaway winner after pilling up 239 points. Casper Natrona finished second (170).

"Everyone learned something," Tilden said. "Some kids really figured out some strategy for a mass start, others really found a pace that they could sustain."

The skiers at the Pinedale race participated in a freestyle race and a pursuit event.

Lander's Nick Merritt challenged for a top spot in both races.

"Coming off being sick in Jackson, Nick came back really well," Tilden said. "Nick learned to share the work of leading and not take it all on himself. Saturday, he closed that gap and proved that he is overall a very strong skier."

The Lander girls came on strong in the final day of the two-day meet.

"The girls redeemed themselves on Saturday," Tilden said. "I think that they were flat on Friday and just didn't have the heart to push through. On Saturday they really turned around with some incentive to prove themselves, and they did."

The biggest concern Tilden has is team depth.

"We have some great frontrunners on the team, but we need to develop our younger skiers to fill into the top 20 with that consistency," Tilden said. "That is how you win team championships.

"I think that it's easy for the kids to get down on themselves if they aren't winning, but the reality is that every skiers score contributes to the whole. If everyone is pushing the quality of the field, we end with more high quality athletes and ultimately athletic experiences."

Lander is at the Laramie Invitational on Jan. 17-18.

The Casper meet is Jan. 24-25. Lander will host a ski clinic on Feb. 1.

"The high school athletes instruct," Tilden said. "We will teach anyone who wants to learn."

The clinic starts at 10 a.m. at the Lander Golf Course.

Pinedale Nordic ski race results

Saturday's results

from Pursuit event

Boys

Top 10

1. Nick Merritt, Lander, 18:14; 2. Max Polito, Jackson, 18:17; 3. Trevor Willoughby, Natrona, 18:27; 4. Bim Schou, Jackson, 19:14; 5. Tristan Herr, Lander, 19:16; 6 Noah Kolie, Pinedale, 19:26; 7. Kagan beamer, Kelly Walsh, 19:31; 8. Will McDonald, Laramie, 19:32; 9. Chris Walters, Jackson, 19:36; 10. Dominic Fields, Cody, 19:42.

Girls

1. Louisa Austin, Lander, 21: 08; 2. Riley Realing, Natrona, 22:20; 3. Anna Gibson, Jackson, 22:28; 4. Anna Shlim, Jackson, 22:30; 5. Emily Shimelpfenig, Lander, 22:42; 6. Kirstring Bright, Kelly Walsh, 22:59; 7. Sam Harmon, Kelly Walsh, 23:22; 8. Rylie Gamer, Natrona, 24:02; 9. Kathrine Grumer, Natrona, 24:08; 10. Alex Schaffner, Jackson, 24:18.

Total team standings

Boys

1. Jackson, 239; 2. Casper Natrona, 170; 3. Laramie, 160; 4. Lander, 98; 5. Kelly Walsh, 82; 6. Cody, 70; 7. Pinedale, 41.

Girls

1. Casper Natrona, 221; 2. Jackson, 189; 3. (tie) Lander and Laramie, 147; 5. Laramie, 77; 6. Pinedale, 43; 7. Cody, 2.

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