Snowfall was an early Christmas present to skiers
There probably wasn't a happier person in Hastings than John Dewall on Sunday, Dec. 9, when the area was blanketed by a fresh coat of snow. The Nordic ski coach here has had to resort to dry land training for much longer than he'd like due to the recent lack of snowfall in the area.
That all changed, of course, when more than 10 inches of snow flew that weekend.
"It was really, really great," Dewall said. "We had some great snowfall there. The rain has taken a huge hit on it. We're looking for a few more inches to get away from the ice. Some of the parks were able to chip it and grind it, but we definitely need a few more inches to soften it up a little bit.
"It was just really nice for the kids who haven't been on snow before. It's a huge benefit. They'll only get better."
With the snow, Hastings was able to compete at Como Park on Dec. 12 in a skate race against all the teams from the Suburban East Conference.
The Hastings boys were led by first-year skier Zack Benning, who was in the top 30. He finished with a time of 18 minutes and 51 seconds.
"His learning curve has been incredible," Dewall said. "To have picked it up that quickly on snow - it's just a combination of his conditioning and his skating background."
Joe Rabaey was second on the team in 19:43.
"Joe had a great race, too," Dewall said. "He is our captain, and is a huge contender for us. We definitely think he's doing really well."
Forrest Close, Jack Caulkins, Nick Johnson and Sawyer Karas rounded out the varsity lineup for Hastings.
The Hastings girls team was led by Rachel Peterson, who finished 16th in 19:37.
"She looked real, real good on snow," Dewall said. "She has a lot of potential out there. We want to get her back to the state meet and improve on her standing from last year."
Makaila England and Viz Zeyen also raced on varsity for Hastings.