The 2009 Michigan Cup Sprints were held under fabulous weather conditions with a trail a little on the soft side but still very fast. Juniors and senior women raced in the morning; the senior men lined up in the afternoon. Spectators got sunburned.
The race began with an interval start time trial. Times from the time trial were used to seed skiers in heats and to rank skiers who tied with the same position in their last heat (e.g., all the 6th place finishers from the original eight heats were ranked by their time trial time to determine Michigan Cup points).
In each heat, the top 3 skiers moved forward to the next heat.
Wolfgang Uhrig (644) and Frank Rynalski (627) at the start of the individual time trial
(All photos by Kelly Mikolajczyk)
There were only 3 juniors racing, all from the Cross Country Ski Headquarters. They each raced the time trial, a semi-final heat and a final heat. Spencer Derenzy was the champion, followed by brothers Travis and Kyle Roberts.
In the senior women's sprints, Traverse City Nordic's Susan Vigland took top honors, with the fastest qualifying time from the time trial, and was the fastest in her semi-final and final heats. Kellie Kirk of Hanson Hills/Cross Country Ski Shop was second, with Brenda Carlson of the Cross Country Ski Headquarters third.
Twelve women raced.
On the course during one of the heats
The senior men's race was all about seeing if anyone could beat young gun Team NordicSkiRacer's Brendan Baic. Baic and Ryan Halstead tied for first in the qualifying time trial in 1:50, a second ahead of Team NordicSkiRacer's Michael Schaefer. Baic, Halstead, and Schaefer were each first or second in every preliminary heat they raced. When they were finally put together in the A-Final, Baic skied into first place.
There was quite a battle for second place. On the last corner before the finish, Halstead led Schaefer and cut to the inside of the corner. Schaefer took a risky move and cut even closer to the inside, edging ahead of a surprised Halstead. But Halstead was not to be denied, recovering quickly and beating Schaefer to the line for second place. Schaefer finished a very close third.
Brendan Baic (677), Ryan Halstead (628), Michael Schaefer (634) and Ross Williams (in green) around the next to last corner on the way to the finish of the A-Final heat.
Hammer Nutrition provided lots of handouts for people - everyone staying for the awards received one or more prizes. It was champagne for the winners (although it's a sure thing the minor Brendan Baic will have his confiscated by dad, Nick) and more prizes from CXC Skiing. The awards were held outside at the finish line in the warm sun.
Because of a scheduling conflict in the archery building, Hanson Hills Director erected a heated tent INSIDE a pole barn for registration and the awards, although the great weather had everything moving outside.
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition, CXC Skiing, Hanson Hills and the volunteers who helped with timing, registration and other tasks including Doug and Carol Cornell (thanks for the PA system Doug!), Bill Kaltz, Jamie Green, Susan Vigland, Amy Todd - did I leave anyone out? (Tell me!). You all get free entry into next year's race.