By LAUREN READ
Heading into the second day of the Vermont high school Nordic state championships, the Champlain Valley Union High School girls needed a big effort to catch the leader, Mount Mansfield.
The Redhawks nearly pulled it off.
CVU placed four skiers in the top 10 in the 5K Classic race on Monday to narrow the Mount Mansfield lead, forcing a decisive race in the relay at Middlebury’s Rikert Outdoor Center.
The Cougars came from behind on the final two legs of the relay to pass the Redhawks and take the relay race and the state championship.
Mount Mansfield finished with 94 points to win their second straight Division I title, while CVU was just behind with 108. Mount Anthony was third with 163 points.
Emma Strack and Finnegan Mittelstadt keyed Monday’s comeback for CVU, coming in fourth and fifth, respectively. Sadie Holmes came in 11th and Isabelle Mittelstadt followed in 13th to round out the top finishers.
Strack (sixth), Finnegan Mittelstadt (seventh) and Geneve Cote (eighth) went back-to-back-to-back on Thursday in the 5K Freestyle race. Emma Crum was 16th for CVU, while Holmes (18th), Kate Zoller (19th) and Isabelle Mittlestadt (20th) finished out the top 20.
CVU came in second in both the classic and freestyle relays.
The CVU boys team also had a strong day, finishing in fourth place in the team competition.
Mount Anthony took the title with 100 points, followed closely by Brattleboro (114) in second and BFA-St. Albans (173) in third.
Jared Leonard was the top finisher in the 5K Classic on Monday and the 5K Freestyle on Thursday for CVU. Leonard came in fifth place in the classic race and eighth place in the freestyle race.
Jonathan McAuliffe was 10th in the classic race for the Redhawks, while Syler Heininger came in 25th.
In the freestyle race, Heininger was 15th for CVU and McAuliffe came in 27th.