TRAVERSE CITY — Sarah Goble skated to a state Nordic ski championship Saturday at the Vasa Pathway.
The Petoskey junior opened a 45-second lead in the morning's 5.5K freestyle, then held on in the afternoon's 5.5K classic to win the girls pursuit race. She finished eight seconds ahead of Marquette's Abby Potts, who won Friday's 1K classic sprint title. The Vasa Ski Club's Heidi Schwab was a close third, 12 seconds back.
Copper Country's Isaac Stone, down 30 seconds after the freestyle, rallied in the classic to beat teammate David Jaszczak by just over three seconds in the boys pursuit. The Cooper Country swept the top four places.
Goble, whose strength is in freestyle, used that discipline to build her lead in the two-event pursuit. She won the freestyle in 17:39, 45 seconds ahead of Potts.
"I knew as long as I could hold my own in the classic that I'd be set and I did," Goble said. "I really pushed it on the hills, and that's where you need to push it. My skis were fast today. It was a good day."
Potts, a senior at Marquette, is stronger in classic than freestyle. Goble was aware of that.
"Yes, very," Goble said. "She (Potts) got close to me a few times, but I was able to pull away. I was very nervous the whole time, though. I could hear her some times. I knew she was right there."
Potts said the deficit was too big to overcome.
"I had to make up 45 seconds and I made up (37)," she said. "It was hard and I couldn't do it. Sarah is a really good skier."
Potts, trying hard to catch Goble, crashed near the end of the classic race and then had to hold off a hard-charging Schwab for second.
"I tripped on my skis," Potts said. "That was frustrating."
Schwab had the fastest classic time, finishing in 19:39.9. Potts was second in 19:46.5, Traverse City Central's Erin Lipp third in 19:54.3 and Goble fourth in 20:22.9.
Goble, though, had a near flawless race in the freestyle.
"I felt really good," she said. "Best race this season. Everything clicked.
"It all worked out. I needed that gap, too, to be able to do what I did."
Potts was satisfied with her freestyle time.
"It went well considering I'm not as strong in skating," she said. "I did better than I've normally been doing."
Jaszczak, who won the boys 1K classic sprint title Friday, built a 10-second lead over teammate Dan Wood after the freestyle, 15:19.1 to 15:29.1. Stone was fourth at 15:49.
But Stone, a junior at Houghton High School, owned the classic, posting a time of 16:45.6. Jaszczak was sixth in 17:19.
Stone took the lead with about 1K to go and that didn't come as a surprise to Jaszczak, also a junior at Houghton.
"Not really," Jaszczak said. "Isaac's a much better classic skier than I am. He deserved the first-place spot in the race.
"I like skate skiing. That's my better technique. My classic's not bad, but Isaac has the upper hand in that technique."
Still, Stone had to make up 30 seconds.
"David is a very strong skate skier and he killed it today," Stone said. "To be 30 seconds behind, that was a little more than I was hoping. But that's the time I was looking at. David definitely put the squeeze on today."
Copper Country coach Tom Wood was out on the course watching the race. He saw Stone pull into second, but he wasn't sure if he could catch Jaszczak.
"He's (Stone) a real strong classic skier so I'm not surprised," Wood said. "Still, I didn't know if he would be able to make up 30 seconds. That's a pretty big gap."
Copper Country had the top four skiers in the classic.
"We have an awesome team," Stone said. "We trained a ton this year. We've helped each other get better.
"This morning when I work up I prayed for the team. I said, 'God, help us do the absolute best we can.' After the skate races we looked at each other and it was like, 'That was really good.' Now coming across the (classic) finish line with my teammates, man God has blessed our team. He's given us a very strong team."
Complete pursuit results are in today's Scoreboard.