Gap between front-runners and Crook County skiers is slowly coming down

The fledgling Crook County High School cross-country ski team isn’t going to win a championship this year.

However, the gap between the front-runners and Crook County skiers is slowly coming down.

“The kids continue to improve and I think their technique is getting better,” said Crook County Head Coach Russell Johnson, following Saturday’s race meet.

Although all the Crook County skiers bettered their times on Saturday, it was Dustin Seyl who really shone, finishing in 28th place with a time of 18:35 over the 4.7 Kilometer skate-ski course at Willamette Pass. Seyl, who started the season more than eight minutes behind the front-runners, finished just more than five minutes behind eventual winner Alex Martin of Summit, who finished with a time of 13:12.

“I was pleased,” Johnson said. “He’s wanting to try some more technique and is asking more questions. He’s really wanting to keep working on it.”

The only other Cowboy to compete on Saturday was Darnell Gorrosquieta, who finished 48th with a time of 48:30.

It was Gorrosquieta’s first skate ski race, and Johnson noted that he picked up the technique just 10 minutes prior to the start of the race.

Mountain View led the boys team scoring with 17 points. They were followed by South Eugene (31), Sheldon (61), Summit (69), North Eugene (84), Ashland (87), and Crook County (109).

On the girls side, Molly Miller, Maggie Kasberger, and Justise Bishop skied in a pack finishing 42nd, 43rd, and 45th, respectively, in times of 33:56, 33:59, and 34:54.

Johnson was especially pleased with the effort that he saw from Bishop who had been sick all week.

“She decided to race anyway so I told her to just make it a workout,” he said. “She still did quite well. I was impressed with her time and what she put out. She worked hard and the other girls worked hard too.”

Phacelia Cramer of South Eugene won the girls race with a time of 15:27. South Eugene also won the girls team title with 15 points. They were followed by Mountain View (29), Ashland (44), and Sheldon (84). Crook County failed to field a relay team for the event so did not figure in the team scoring.

Saturday’s race was something of an adventure for all the skiers. Due to a lack of snow at Willamette Pass, the racers had to hike to the start of the race. Because of the higher elevation the course was steeper than usual with lots of uphill and downhill portions.

Snow conditions should be better this Saturday when racers compete in a classic ski race at Mount Bachelor. The race is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. from near the Mount Bachelor Nordic Center.

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