RUMFORD, Maine -- Bates graduate Sylvan Ellefson '09 has taken well to his return to the familiar Nordic skiing course at Black Mountain, the home of the Bobcat Nordic teams now and when Ellefson was an NCAA All-America selection. Now competing in the U.S. Cross Country Skiing Championships, Ellefson is getting the same kind of outstanding results he did as an All-America collegian, though on an even more elite level of competition.
The 2014 Olympic hopeful finished third on Thursday in the 15K Freestyle race to win the bronze medal, with a time (30:25.90) that was only 7.1 seconds behind overall leader, and Ellefson's training partner, Tad Elliott.
According to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Ellefson into the overall SuperTour lead with his bronze-medal performance.
Ellefson finished up his fine homecoming weekend by finishing eighth out of 121 skiers in the 1.6K Classical Sprint race on Sunday, with a time of 3:41.51, just 3.7 seconds behind overall leader Karl Nygren. In Friday's racing, Ellefson (Vail, Colo.) took 17th place in the 30K Classical Technique Mass Start race, with a time of 1:29:07.5 that was 2:18.2 behind leader Noah Hoffman, another of Ellefson's buddies, as described in Kalle Oakes' story about Thursday's race in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
Ellefson wasn't the only Bobcat who has turned heads during these championships, which conclude on Sunday. Bates sophomore Jordan Buetow (Fairbanks, Alaska) looks primed for an excellent season on the EISA carnival circuit this season (which starts Jan. 20 at -- yes -- Black Mountain, for the season-opening Bates Carnival). Buetow finished 37th among the 197 competitors in Thursday's race, after an even more impressive race in Tuesday's freestyle sprints. Fellow Bobcats racing included sophomore Alex Hamilton (Truckee, Calif.), who came in 110th in 34:12.90, and first-year Nick Michaud (Fort Kent Mills, Maine), who was 114th.
Ellefson was also third in Tuesday's 1.6K freestyle sprint race, in 3:08.21, just .07 seconds behind runner-up Michael Sinnott. Buetow made a remarkable showing, coming in 11th in 3:11.08. Michaud came in 58th (3:21.64), and Hamilton was 114th.
In Sunday's 1.6K classical sprint finale, Buetow came in 20th in 3:44.74, while Michaud posted his best result of the week, coming in 25th in 3:46.32.