The Copper Country Ski Tigers were well represented at this year's Jr Birkie which took place in Hayward, WI - the home of the American Birkibiener. Temps were in the single digits but the kids were ready to ski.
The U12/U14 boys started off the event skiing the 3Km course that finished on main street in downtown Hayward. Joe Wood and Caleb Sanders finished 19th and 26th respectively in the U14 age group in a field of 49 skiers. Noah Sanders and Mike Fraley finished 13th and 15th followed by Daniel Lyle and Matthew Fraley in 32nd and 41st in the U12 category.
The U12/U14 girls were the next to head out on the coarse. Anabel Needham finished 2nd in the U14 age group only 2 seconds out of first followed by Grethen Haggenmiller in 8th. Kora Johnson led the girls in the U12 age group with a 6th place finish. She was followed by Autumn Eles in 17th place and Abbi Stone (not listed in the results yet due to technical difficulties, but she skied awesome).
Daniel Groeneveld and Thomas Lyle were the next Tigers off the line with U16 boys finishing 8th and 17th respectively.
Sarah Lyle (U19) and Alana Eles (U8) dominated their age groups both finishing well ahead of the 2nd skier.
Levi Stone finished 10th in the U10 boys 1.5km race.
Several Ski Tigers also competed in the 3x800m relay which took place on Main Street. The boys team made up of Tim Stone, Dan Groeneveld and Ben Wood sported "retro" ski suits from the 90s as their costume and finished 2nd. Other teams included the Men in Black, Men in Back and the Tu-Tu's. The girls team made up of Sara Lyle, Abbi Stone and Anabel Needham finished 4th.
Ben Wood and Tim Stone stayed an additional night to ski the Korterloppet on Saturday.
Pics & Results
17 Tigers complete in Jr Birkie
With temperatures hovering around zero and wind chills as low as -30, the Ski Tigers Race Team braved the elements to compete against several other teams from Michigan. The races started out on Friday morning with the 5km classic race. Mitchell DeLong won the race in 17 minutes, followed closely by Keefer Edwards from Traverse City Central and teammate David Jaszczak. Isaac Stone (6th) and Ben Wood (10th) also finished in the top 10 for the Ski Tigers.
2013 champion Sarah Goble (Lake Michigan Ski Team) continued her reign with a winning time of 19:40. Ski Tigers senior Sarah Lyle wasn't far behind with a time of 20:06, with Annabel Needham rounding out the top 10 for the Ski Tigers. With only four skiers, the Ski Tigers girls managed an impressive tie for first place with Traverse City after the classic race.
The skiers returned to the trails Friday afternoon to compete in the skate race for the distance champion title. The start times for the skate race were based on the finish times from the classic race, so that a composite of both races is used to determine the distance champion.
Mitchell DeLong held on to win the boys distance title, although teammate David Jaszczak was closing in quickly. Isaac Stone (6th) and Matt Chard (9th) also finished in the top 10, giving the Ski Tigers a final team score of 148, good for first place by a wide margin.
The Ski Tigers girls finished in a close second place to Traverse City. Sarah Goble expanded her lead from the classic race to finish first place overall for the second consecutive year. Ski Tiger Sarah Lyle (3rd) and Annabel Needham (7th) finished in the top 10 for Ski Tigers.
In the past there has been a second day with 1-kilometer sprint races, but it was cancelled this year due to extremely cold temperatures and wind-chills on Saturday.
Fueled by their strong boys team score, the Ski Tigers won the Michigan State Team Title for the third consecutive year.
"I'm very proud of all of these kids. They trained very hard all year, several of them have qualified for Junior Nationals [March 8-14 Truckee, CA] and I'm excited to see how they do there." Said coach Tom Wood.
Pics & Results