Amherst girls capture runner-up finish at MIAA Nordic Ski Championships (PHOTOS)

Amherst’s Elizabeth Sawicki moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Elizabeth Sawicki moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

The Amherst girls team shows off its runner-up trophy after finishing in second place at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

The Amherst girls team shows off its runner-up trophy after finishing in second place at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Amherst’s Julian Camera moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Julian Camera moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

The Mohawk Trail girls and boys teams pose at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

The Mohawk Trail girls and boys teams pose at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Amherst’s Otis Fairey moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Otis Fairey moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Mohawk Trail’s Anya Read moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Mohawk Trail’s Anya Read moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Amherst’s Zoey Candito moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Zoey Candito moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Mohawk Trail skiers celebrate  at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Mohawk Trail skiers celebrate at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Amherst’s Addie Mager moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Addie Mager moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Mohawk Trail’s Curtis Casey moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Mohawk Trail’s Curtis Casey moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Amherst’s Ian Burns moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Ian Burns moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Amherst’s Emil Schein moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday.

Amherst’s Emil Schein moves through the course at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt. on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 02-23-2024 9:42 PM

WOODFORD, Vt. — The Amherst girls Nordic ski team didn’t just feel like underdogs all season long — they were underdogs.

Often overlooked given the geographical location, the Hurricanes were ready to display their talents on the biggest stage, at the MIAA Nordic Ski Championships at Prospect Mountain.

While most teams have a couple of standout skiers and that’s it, Amherst has a sizable group of very strong ones who always place well — and that was the case again last Wednesday.

The Hurricanes (75 points) placed seven skiers inside the top 60, the most by any of the 19 teams, to finish second in the state to complete their fantastic winter season. Only state champion Mount Greylock (70) edged out Amherst. Concord Carlisle (third), Newton South (fourth) and Lincoln Sudbury (fifth) rounded out the top five.

“We felt like underdogs this season,” Amherst captain Addie Mager said. “We have never really won anything or done well, so this was definitely a nice way to end the year for us.”

Mager (35th, 27 minutes, 33 seconds) was one of those seven in the top 60. Leading the way for the Hurricanes was River Wolaver (25:30) and Ella Workman (25:34), who finished back-to-back at 11th and 12th place, respectively. Elizabeth Sawicki was close behind in 18th place (26:02), then Isla Cusick (34th, 27:23), Mager and Zoey Candito (36th, 27:40) crossed the line next to one another.

“They did fantastic, and the crew is such a tight pack that on any given day, if one of them drops back then another one fills their spot,” head coach Nat Woodruff said. “We’ve been consistently strong the entire season and I think the same thing was true today. The top skiers of some of the other teams were ahead of us, but we have a great group in the middle that always helps us score well.”

Heading into the Feb. 14 meet, the skiers on Amherst knew they had a legitimate shot at a state title. The Hurricanes had won a handful of Berkshire League meets throughout the year, and their rugged training had prepared them for any conditions Prospect Mountain had to offer.

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On the boys side, Mohawk Trail grabbed eighth place with 154 points and Amherst finished 11th with 168 points. Newton South’s 22 points earned them first place, as Mount Greylock’s (second, 28 points) run of three consecutive state titles ended. Wellesley, Wahconah and Concord Carlisle rounded out the top five.