CV’s Michalak earns two top 10 finishes

The list was small and exclusive.

Only 40 female skiers qualified for Meet of Champions and ConVal juniors Sydney Michalak and Rowan Wilson were two of them.

The top 10 skiers in each classic and skate race advanced from the four divisions and traveled to Gunstock Mountain Resort on Monday looking for a strong finish to the season.

Michalak finished sixth overall in the 5.3-kilometer classic race, earning the final medal for the event, with a time of 22 minutes and 58 seconds. Michalak also earned another top 10 finish in the freestyle, placing eighth in 21:25. Michalak was second of all Division II skiers in both races.

“When you have two races in a day and they are both 5K and require 100 percent of your effort it’s definitely hard,” said Michalak. “But I still went out and gave it my all. It was really amazing to have the opportunity.”

Wilson finished in the top half of the freestyle, taking 18th overall and sixth from D-II in 21:25. She was also 23rd, fifth out of all Division II skiers, in the classic race, completing the course in 26:54.

Hannah Benson of Kennett, the Division II champion in both disciplines, also took home the state title in each race.

After two years of narrow misses, Michalak easily qualified in both races at the Division II Championships on Feb. 13.

Michalak finished 12th in D-II each of the last two years in the freestyle and was 11th in the classic as a freshman. But Michalak left no doubt that she belonged this year. She finished third overall in the freestyle, navigating the 4-kilometer course in 13:18 and tied for third in the classic with a time of 15:10.

“I was fairly confident I could make it,” said Michalak. “I feel like I’m a completely different racer this year.”

For Wilson, it was her first year with the ConVal team. After moving into the school district from Maine, Wilson made an immediate impact and consistently finished No. 2. Her best day of the year came at the D-II meet, where she placed 10th in the freestyle to qualify for states. She was one second ahead of Annie Peternel of Kingswood for the final qualifying spot. Wilson was also 16th in the classic.

“That was the most amazing thing I could have wished for,” said Michalak of Wilson qualifying. “Having a teammate there makes it so much more enjoyable.”

During the regular season, it was clear that Michalak had improved over last year. She won the first race of the season and again in the only home meet of the season on Jan. 12, setting a course record. She went on to win the Souhegan Sprints and the regular season finale. In all, Michalak had four wins, three other top three finishes and also took eighth in the first NH Coaches Series Race.

“This year was amazing and I’m using it as a stepping stone to get into more competitive racing and hopefully do it in college,” said Michalak.

She is also one of 24 skiers to make the NH team for the Eastern High School Championships, March 15-17 in Maine.

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