Aidan Whitelaw and Jack Conde have battled as club skiers, both participating in Junior Nationals.
While Saturday’s race at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park was much more relaxed than the national event, the OISRA Northern League Classic was just as competitive, as Whitelaw edged his Summit teammate by a little more than five seconds for first place overall.
“I felt good today. Hopefully that continues throughout the season,” said Whitelaw, who skis with Conde for the Bend Endurance Academy. “I didn’t have much kick but I double-poled most of it. My arms got kind of tired near the end.”
Whitelaw finished the 4.5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 7 seconds. Conde’s time was 15:12.6.
While Conde, a sophomore, has skied competitively since he was a seventh-grader, this was his first high school event.
“It was really good, a lot more laid-back,” Conde said. “There’s a lot more people from Bend that I didn’t know skied so it was good to meet them. I liked it a lot.”
With the top four skiers and seven of the top 10 finishers, Summit scored six points to easily win the boys race.
Mario Cacciola placed third in 15:34, and Evan Grover finished fourth in 16:56.4.
“It was a great day for a ski race out here,” Storm coach Gene Hyde said. “I love to see the big crowds and all the parents. It’s great to get the season started with the first race of the year.”
Bend, led by Soren Nyquist (ninth, 18:18.7), placed second with 26 points. Ridgeview’s Micah Capson finished 10th in 18:31.6 as the Ravens recorded 33 points to take third.
Alice McKnight was just happy to be back on skis after running cross-country in the fall.
But the Bend sophomore did way more than just compete, winning the girls race in 18:01.7.
“I’m really surprised because I didn’t think I would do that well,” McKnight said. “It makes me really excited to see how I can do. I’m really excited about my results today and for the rest of the season.”
“I was really happy with Alice today,” Bend coach Libby Hayden said. “She looked smooth and strong the whole race.”
Summit skiers Estelle Hyde (18:36.3) and Jorun Downing (18:43.9) placed second and third as the Storm collected 11 points to finish atop the team standings.
Bend’s Kira Gilbert took fifth in 19:46.7 as the Lava Bears finished second with 19 points.
With 36 points, Redmond Proficiency Academy placed fourth as Katelyn Costello took fourth in 19:02.7.
OISRA Northern League’s next event is Saturday, Jan. 12, at Teacup Nordic near Mount Hood.
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com