Michalak, Wilson qualify for Meet of Champs

After two years of coming so close, ConVal junior Sydney Michalak made sure it didn’t happen for a third straight time.

Michalak just missed out on making Meet of Champions as a freshman and sophomore. But with her season worth of performances leading into Wednesday’s Division II Nordic Skiing Championships at Great Glen in Gorham, it was clear she would be one of the favorites to advance in both disciplines.

With the top 10 in each of the freestyle and classic races moving on to ski at Plainfield Elementary School on Saturday, Michalak will have a busy weekend ahead. She will ski in both races at Meet of Champions after placing third in each at the Division II meet.

Michalak finished the afternoon 4-kilometer freestyle race in 13 minutes and 18 seconds, only 13 seconds off the pace of runner-up Helen Tosteson of Hanover. Kennett’s Hannah Benson won in 11:49. Michalak tied Lebanon’s Kelsie Atwater for third in the morning classic race with a time of 15:10. Benson and Tosteson also placed first and second in the classic race.

“I would have been surprised if she wasn’t in the top three,” said ConVal coach Scott McGovern.

During the regular season, Michalak posted four wins overall, including a win in ConVal’s only home meet, to go along with three other top three finishes.

“She has been competing at such a high level all season,” said McGovern.

Michalak will also be joined by teammate Rowan Wilson, also a junior, in the state freestyle race.

Wilson finished in the 10th and final qualifying spot in the race in 14:00. She was just one second ahead of Kingswood’s Annie Peternel and two in front of Hanover’s Kay Torrey. Wilson was also 16th in the classic, finishing the course in 17:24.

“Rowan came to us with race experience, but also admitted she had some skiing techniques she needed to work on,” said McGovern. “But she works really hard and I knew she had the capability and it was just a matter of it all coming together at the right time.”

Overall, the ConVal girls placed sixth out of seven teams with 668.5 points. Hanover won the team championship with 745 points.

Junior Ben Wescott led the ConVal boys team in each race, helping him to a bronze medal in the D-II skimeister challenge.

Wescott finished 18th on the freestyle race in 12:31. He was over two minutes behind Kennett’s Tolin Laliberte winning time of 10:21. Wescott, who led ConVal in each race he participated in, was also 20th in the 4-km classic, finishing in 14:59.

Senior Jimmy Gombas placed second in each race for ConVal. He was 32nd in the classic, 16:28, and 24th in the freestyle in 14:00.

The boys were seventh as a team with 615 points.

In the girls freestyle, senior Annie Williams finished 31st and Kelsa Danforth rounded out the team scoring in 38th. Seniors Anna Topping and Lucy Beyer finished in 36th and 37th overall.

Junior Tyler Aborn finished third in each race for the Cougars. He was 37th in the freestyle, 14:37, and 39th in the classic, 18:02.

August Bomer-Lawson was 40th in the freestyle and Zac Silverman finished 42nd in the classic.

“I think all the skiers did very well,” said McGovern. “To compete at the state meet level can be intimidating, but they have all shown that they’ve come a long way.”

Michalak and Wilson will make the trip to Meet of Champions on Saturday to compete against the top skiers from the other three divisions. The state meet is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

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