NORDIC SKIERS HAVE SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND AT EASTERN CUP
PRESQUE ISLE, MaineMarlijne Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Natasha Kullas (Timmins, Ontario) and Steven Bedard (Cheshire, Mass.) highlighted a weekend of competition for the University of New Hampshire Nordic skiers at the TAMC/TD Banknorth Eastern Cup Opener that was held at the Nordic Heritage Sport Center on Dec. 15-16.

In Saturday’s Freestyle Sprint Opener, Kullas – the sixth seed – opened the day in the women’s quarterfinals by capturing first place in the third flight to advance to the second group in the semifinals. She advanced to the Group B final and won that heat to finish fifth overall. Cook, meanwhile, earned a top-two finish in the fourth flight of the quarterfinals to advance to the first group of the semis; Cook – the 11th seed – also competed in the Group B final and placed directly behind Kullas for sixth place overall. Bedard was the ninth seed on the men’s side and captured first place in the fourth flight of the quarterfinals to advance to the second semifinal group, where he then moved to the Group B final and placed third there to finish seventh overall.

In Sunday’s women’s 5K Classic race, Cook placed second overall with a time of 17 minutes, 32.26 seconds and Kullas finished third in 17:43.76. The Wildcats placed four skiers in the top 15 with Heather Zimmerman (Bethel, Maine) in 10th place (18:33.57) and Katie Miller (Lenox, Mass.) in 15th (18:58.82).

In the men’s 10K Classic competition, UNH’s Dylan McGuffin (Northfield, N.H.) recorded the third-fastest overall time of 30:00.25 and was one of four ‘Cats in the top 14. Bedard was next in 10th place (30:35.93) and was followed by Harrison Harb (Contoocock, N.H.) in 13th (31:02.56) and Erick Anderson (Maplewood, Minn.) in 14th (31:12.46).

New Hampshire opens the 2008 season Jan. 11-12 at the Bates Winter Carnival with the Nordic races taking place at Black Mountain and the Alpine events at Sunday River.

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