VASA: Davis starts strong weekend at Vasa with 27K win

Record-Eagle/Jan-Michael Stump43rd annual North American Vasa Festival of Races 27k women's winner Rebecca Davis heads to the finish line on Saturday at Timber Ridge Resort in Traverse City. The freestyle skiing events, fat bike races and junior vasa races were held on Saturday, while the classical skiing races were held on Sunday.

TRAVERSE CITY — Rebecca Davis started her weekend at the North American Vasa on the right foot.

Davis, a Homer resident, took home another top finish after winning the 27K George Kuhn Half Marathon freestyle race on Saturday.

"I really felt good today," the 29-year-old said. "I hung with a good pack most of the way and finished toward the middle of it once it broke out. I was really happy with my race, and I skied nicely the whole way and kept a good pace."

The 10-time Vasa participant took home first place in 1 hour, 36 minutes and 51 seconds, beating second place finisher Kelley Peterson (1:39:45) by three minutes.

Davis said the course was in great condition and noted that you couldn't ask for a more beautiful day for a long race. Davis is no stranger to the winner's circle as she won the 12K in 2017, the 16K in 2018 and also won the 16K classic race on Sunday.

"I think it is having a lot of good competition to be around," Davis said of her win. "There are a lot of good skiers out there to pace with, which definitely helped. You just gotta take it one hill at a time."

Peterson, who is a Nordic Fliers coach, a middle school program through the Vasa Ski Club, placed second several times in her 18 races at the Vasa Festival of Races. Her goal is to make it to 20 years at the Vasa, which will fall around her 50th birthday.

"I want the King Vasa," Peterson, a Traverse City resident, said. "That is what I am going for."

Peterson only competes in the Vasa and said training has been tough, but the course was in much better shape than she expected.

Kelly Peregrine (Traverse City) took third in 1:47:01, Tracy Gravlin (Cheboygan) took fourth in 1:47:11 and Kathleen Kerr (Traverse City) finished fifth in 1:49:18.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Kelley Peterson’s name. — Feb. 11, 2019

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