Neil Thorley ’19 blazed across the finish line to secure thirteenth place overall at Nordic Skiing’s race at Proctor Academy last Wednesday. In its fifth race of the season, Andover placed sixth out of 11 teams. The team also had to deal with an impromptu location change because of a lack of snow, as the race was moved from St. Paul’s to Proctor Academy.
Captain Aditya Krishnamachar ’17 said, “Neil coming in has been a huge boost, especially after losing one of our strongest racers in Carmen Bango ’16 last year. We look forward to his development over the next few weeks and for years to come.”
Andover also received strong performances from Eli Newell ’20, Rex Noble ’18, and Krishnamachar, placing twenty-third, twenty-eighth, and thirty-second respectively.
Lila Brady ’18 and Claudia Leopold ’18 also ranked high in the female brackets, placing thirteenth and thirtieth overall.
Discussing her performance, Brady wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “It was my first race back from an injury and it felt so good to be skiing outside with the team again. It was a short sprint course, each round taking about 5 minutes so I got some rest time in between the races to get ready to go as fast possible in the next one, and that helped me do well.”
At the meet, Andover faced difficulties adjusting to the new layout of Wednesday’s race.
Thorley said, “I think this format was challenging for our team, as we have had little to no experience with it in the past. Because your time doesn’t matter and everything is determined by your place, sprint tournaments are unique in that they’re just as much a mental game as they are a race.”
“You have to remember that you will be racing multiple times and that it’s sometimes in your best interests to take it easy in one race so you can lay down the hammer in the next,” continued Thorley.
Krishnamachar added, “The team struggled a bit to adapt to the sprint format, not all of our racers placed in the higher brackets coming off the gate. However, after the initial heats, the team did well to recognize how to “play the format” and finish as high as possible.”
Despite the changes, Andover was still able to perform at a consistent level. The team credits its mental and physical perseverance to Krishnamachar’s leadership on and off the slopes.
Head Coach Keith Robinson said, “Aditya is such a great leader by example. He works hard to improve, doesn’t get too upset about the lack of snow or a bad race and just keeps setting the example for the younger members.”
Thorley said, “Aditya has really been everything we could have hoped for in a captain. He’s kept us motivated through what has been a very difficult season, and he’s been great in helping the new skiers learn the sport and become part of the team”
Entering the final stretch of the season, Andover hopes that the abundance of snow will help the team prepare for upcoming races and Nepsac.
Robinson said, “Now that we actually have snow, we have been training in the sanctuary and really just working on getting the feel for techniques on different up and downhills. At this point, getting more mileage on snow is crucial to put all of the fitness to good work in the coming races.”
After racing at Proctor for the second time this season, the team will race at the LR Championship on Wednesday, February 15. Game coverage of this race will run in the February 24th issue of The Phillipian.