Sullivan County Democrat
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Rare Fifth Trip Is Taken

By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO — March 31, 2000 -- Laura Katzenberger of Monticello accomplished what few athletes in Sullivan County have ever done — competed in a state championship for a fifth straight year.
The senior took part in the New York State nordic ski championship earlier this month at Lake Placid. The race was held on the Olympic cross country ski course.
Monticello qualified four athletes for states. In addition to Katzenberger, senior Mara Miller, junior Ross Feller, and senior Brian Kurta also made the trip. For Miller, it was her fourth appearance in the state meet.
“We had snow in January and were able to get six races in,” said Monticello coach John Maranzana, noting that last year, lack of snow forced Section IX to hold some of its regular season meets way up in Glens Falls.
The Monticello girls placed third behind New Paltz and Wallkill in the section. The boys had four members, one shy of the number needed for team scoring.
“This year was a good step for our boys’ program,” Maranzana noted.
The top 12 finishers in Section IX made the trip to Lake Placid. Standings were determined by a combination of regular season and Section IX championship meet placements.
Gwynne Matter of New Paltz was the top girls’ skier in the section this season. Katzenberger placed seventh while Miller was eighth.
A.J. Feldt of Wallkill led the boys’ contingent. Kurta was ninth and Feller gained the12th and last slot.
Matter became the first Section IX nordic skier in recent memory to finish in the top 10 at the state meet.
“It’s difficult to compete against kids from the schools up north,” Katzenberger explained. “They can practice year-round.”
She described the Olympic course as difficult, “with big hills and big downhills.”
Katzenberger added, “It rained and the course was slushy and nasty. It was so hot (65 degrees) that people wanted to ski in shorts and tank tops.”
The boys skied 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) while the girls raced seven.
Though disappointed with her placement at the meet, Katzenberger said she always enjoys the experience. The skiers left on a Friday after school and came back Monday night, staying in a bed and breakfast.
Katzenberger said she plans to continue skiing recreationally but noted that few colleges offer intercollegiate nordic skiing, and not the ones she is interested in attending.
Notes: None of the Liberty nordic skiers qualified for the state meet. Junior Kevin Abbott, the top boy for the Indians, placed 18th in Section IX. Eighth-grader Bertha Lee led the Liberty girls’ contingent with 20th place, followed by freshman Michelle Olsen (21st) and soph Christy Immel (23rd).

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