TRAVERSE CITY — An eight-year layoff didn’t seem to slow Sara Nestor.
The Traverse City skier won the women’s 12K freestyle Saturday in 49:25.
“This is my first race since I was on the Traverse City Nordic ski team eight years ago,” she said. “I used to race with coach K (John Kostrzewa) and it was awesome back then. Now I’m finally back at it eight years later.”
Since those high school days, Nestor went to college, then headed east to work in the Teach for America program. Now she’s back.
“My boyfriend (Jake Ellis) got me back into Nordic ski racing,” she said.
It apparently didn’t take much prodding.
“She had it in her,” Ellis said.
And Nestor seemed to enjoy every minute of it Saturday.
“It was a great race,” she said. “Great conditions.
“What I love about these races is that all ages, levels, anyone can get out here and have a good time. This is a great community for Nordic skiing.”
Ellis nearly won the men’s 12K, but St. Francis’ Nate Tafelsky made a late push and pulled out the win, 41:13 to 41:17.
“I was sitting behind him most of the time, right on his heels,” the 15-year-old Tafelsky said. “I’m a sprinter so I kind of counted on that last turn (to the finish) to go for it.”
“I wasn’t sure who was behind me,” Ellis said. “I’m glad it wasn’t some grandpa.
“He came on coming up that gradual uphill (near the finish). I couldn’t hold him off. Pretty impressive.”
In the 6K, Interlochen’s Ian Durand took the men’s race in 19:00 while Petoskey junior Sarah Goble claimed the women’s race in 21:23.
Durand led all the way.
“I had about a 100-yard lead,” he said. “But then (Clay Darling) started gaining on me so I went a little faster. I didn’t really want to push it and burn myself out for (today).”
Durand will compete in the 6K classic today.
Goble, a junior at Petoskey, overtook Traverse City Central’s Erin Lipp late in that race.
“It was really fast conditons,” Lipp said. “Sarah was right behind me and then passed me with a K and a half to go.”
“My skis were good,” Goble said. “Erin’s a good competitor and a good friend.”