LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid's Schulz brothers continued their winning ways on Wednesday at the Olympic Jumping Complex, with Scott Schulz taking second place in the 1.5-kilometer classic sprint race of the XC Junior National Championships.
Scott's podium finish came on the heels of the elder Schulz brother, Karl's national championship in the men's under-20 10K race Monday.
Scott came into this week's Junior nationals riding high after winning his second-straight individual combined title at last week's NYSPHSAA nordic championship in North Creek. Karl, now a sophomore at University of Vermont, won an individual state title his senior year at Lake Placid High School in 2015.
Scott Schulz skis to second place in Wednesday's 1.5-kilometer sprint race of the XC Junior National Championships at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid.
(News photo — Justin A. Levine)
Several local skiers were competing against more than 400 skiers from around North America during the second day of competition Wednesday at the Olympic Jumping Complex. Wednesday's races were sprints of 1.5K raced in an elimination-round format. The top two skiers from each heat advanced to the next round, and earned points for their placement. The top point winner from all the heats was crowned as the champion.
Scott Schulz took first in his semifinal heat to earn a spot in the finals, but was bested by Gus Schumacher, of Alaska, who completed the course in 3 minutes, 53.18 seconds and had 30 points. Schulz was second with a time of 4:02.16 and 25 points. Adam Glueck, of the Ford Sayre team out of New England, was third with 20 points and a final-round time of 3:58.64.
"Coming into this, I guess I wasn't as psyched as I could have been," Scott said. "I don't know how I did it - this is crazy."
Schulz gained an early lead in the final heat, but fell back over the four minutes or so it took to finish the course.
"When we started, there was a false start. I was ready to go then and it kind of messed up," he said. "It must have been the adrenaline pulling me up that first hill. And then I was going up the (Flag Pole) hill going 'crap, crap, crap, I shouldn't have done that.'
"I had zero idea I was going to do this, it's very exciting. It's just a great feeling."
Karl Schulz also won his semifinal heat, but he too ran into trouble on Flag Pole Hill, a grueling climb shortly after the start of the race. Skiers who compete in the area regularly are used to pacing themselves on that hill, which sometimes provides an advantage. However, with Wednesday's early sun and warm temperatures, the hill became a bit a of a trap.
At least one skier broke a pole and fell going up the hill, while still others fell at the bottom of the steep decent of the hill.
And despite years of experience skiing at the OJC, Karl was not immune to the dangers of the hill.
"Just going up and cresting that hill, the left side snow was so deep that my tips ended up getting caught in there," Karl said. "At that point some skiers had kind of gone over my skis so I went down, got up, and then some skiers went over my skis again and I went down again.
"At that point it was kind of game over. I still tried to give it the best I had, but falling twice in a row really takes a ton of energy to get your momentum going again."
The top six racers from the semifinals advanced to the "A" final, while the bottom six competed in the "B" final. Karl had a neck-and-neck finish with Hunter Woods, who ultimately claimed the top spot in the B final.
"I got beat by a hundredth of a second," he said. "I guess it's only fitting because I got Hunter's number by a tenth of a second on Monday, and he got me by a tenth of a second today."
Both Schulz brothers noted they egg each other on, crediting that sibling support for their strong results.
"Honestly, I couldn't be happier with Scott," Karl said. "Watching him come in second, that made my whole day. I mean, I'm happy for my result, but I'm happier for his result. It was so awesome watching him come in second.
"It's pretty rare that you see two brothers doing so well together. I think one of successes just pumps up the other one and success breeds success. And so we keep pushing each other harder and harder, and I think that's what is really helping us both."
In addition to the Schulz brothers, Lake Placid residents Henry McGrew, James Flanigan and Kai Frantz raced Wednesday. McGrew placed 21st in the U18 race, while Flanigan (30th) and Frantz (29th) didn't advance past the quarterfinals.
Saranac Lake High School graduate Bryce Hartman, now at University of New Hampshire, has also been racing this week, but was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the U20 men's race. He finished 29th out of 60 overall.
The XC Junior Nationals racing continues Friday and Saturday, with the classic mass start on Friday at 10 a.m. and the 3x3 team relay on Saturday.
For a full schedule of events, go to www.xcjuniornationals2017.com.