Cameron Wolfe and Everett Olson went down to the wire during Thursday’s 5-kilomter classic boys Nordic race during the Colorado High School Activities Association state ski championships at the Durango Nordic Center. It was only fitting it would come down to the same two boys Friday.
Vail Mountain’s Wolfe edged Olson by a ski-length in the mass-start race Thursday. In Friday’s pursuit-start skate race on the same course, it was Aspen’s Olson who had the better day, as he finished in 15 minutes, 53.4 seconds. Wolfe was 6.8 seconds back. At the finish line, Wolfe looked to Olson and said, “I think you got me.”
“I was a little tired after yesterday’s race, but I came out here, previewed the course, looked at the conditions and knew where to push and where to back off, and I think that worked out well,” Olson said. “(Wolfe) and I were pretty close last year, too, in terms of time. Yesterday, we were neck and neck. Today, it felt pretty good to beat him.”
Wolfe also was happy to see his friendly rival earn a victory, though it ended his streak of consecutive CHSAA Nordic state championship race wins at three after he swept last year’s events.
“Defintiely tough conditions out there that rewarded people who can go really tough,” Wolfe said. “I gave it my all out there. It’s fun to have (Olson) win. We’ve been good friends for a while, so it’s always fun to be on the podium with him no matter what the places line up as.”
Aspen’s Colt Whitley finished third in 16:18, and that helped the Skiers win a second consecutive boys state championship.
“It was hard to ski these conditions,” Whitley said. “I fell twice, which was kind of a bummer, but it still felt like a good day. ... It’s pretty awesome to (win state) my senior year. To see the team come together and have a really strong performance feels awesome.”
Durango’s boys Nordic team capped off a stellar state championships, as Logan Moore placed fifth in 16:21.8, followed by teammate Noah Bodewes in sixth in 16:30.1. Moore was three-tenths of a second back of fourth place. Cobe Freeburn of Durango finished 17th in 17:55.1, as he wore a big gold chain around his neck as he skied the course.
“I felt great in the tough conditions today,” Bodewes said. “We did our best. To think we have a first-year program and to have me and Cobe (Freeburn), where this is really our secondary sport, along with Logan, who has done so well in Nordic skiing but is still young, to put this team together on short notice and take third in Nordic is crazy for us.”
The girls race was won by Vail Mountain’s Emma Blakslee in 19:30.7. She was 12.7 seconds ahead of Aspen’s Emma Barsness. Battle Mountain’s Grace Johnson, Naomi Harding and Liz Harding finished third through fifth, respectively to help the Huskies win the girls state championship in front of Aspen. Official team scores and results were not available at press time Friday.
In the unofficial results, Durango’s top girls skier Friday was Tea Forrest, who finished 52nd in 24:31.
Fun was had all around the Nordic course with goofy costumes, fans holding signs and everyone cheering for each other regardless of team.
“We always say with Nordic skiing that there’s no bad people,” Wolfe said. “Everyone is nice, friendly. At races each weekend, we get to connect, have fun and give it all our. After, we share in the suffering and create a bond together. It’s a good sport to find friends.”