Originally a competitive downhill skier, Co-Captain Claudia Leopold ’18 has always loved being outdoors during the wintertime. Because Andover did not have competitive downhill skiing, Leopold has found success with the Nordic team at Andover since her Junior Year.
Leopold credits her older sister, a skier in college, for introducing her to Nordic and encouraging her to pursue the sport.
“Since Andover doesn’t have an alpine team, I figured that switching to Nordic would be a good transition. My sister was skiing in college at the time so she helped me with that decision. My oldest sister, Maddie, encouraged me to pursue the sport in the first place and has helped me a lot along the way,” said Leopold.
Since coming to Andover, Head Coach Keith Robinson and Assistant Coach Lisa Svec have had played a big role in supporting Leopold throughout her Nordic experience.
“Coach Svec is very kind and generous and she brings a lot of positivity and enthusiasm to the team. Coach Robinson, or KRob, as we call him, is the only coach who’s been here for all of my four years. He’s always joking around and making fun of us to get us to loosen up during practice. Sitting in the passenger’s seat of his rally wagon on the way to races is definitely one of my favorite things about being on the team. He’s very knowledgeable about the sport and knows how get his athletes to enjoy the sport and be committed while competing at their peak level of performance,” said Leopold.
Leopold is known by her teammates for her welcoming and supportive spirit in all situations, according to Posie Millett ’20.
“Claudia is an amazing person and I’ve loved getting to know her over the last two seasons. It was hard joining the team as a freshman and not knowing anyone, but Claudia was immediately welcoming and made sure that I was included on the team. She is always supportive of how we do in races, whether it’s our best or worst, and she puts emphasis on having fun rather than being the best,” said Millett.
Leopold is a natural leader has transitioned seamlessly into her role as Co-Captain, according to Eli Newell ’20 and Millett.
“[Claudia] always seemed excited to come to practice and to be part of the team. Her devotion to the success of the team and to a high quality experience for all was and still is apparent from her enthusiastic cheering during races, her concern for new team members, and her understanding of team and what it means to be a team leader working with a Co-Captain and alongside a phenomenal coaching team,” said Newell.
“Throughout the season she has developed into a leader by motivating us before and after races and during practice every day. She is always quick to get a jump on practice and make sure everyone has a good time,” said Millett. “I’ve learned from her is that it doesn’t matter how well you ski or how good your results are, but rather the importance of skiing comes from loving the sport and the team and being supportive no matter what happens.”
Leopold hopes to have changed the negative connotation surrounding winter and Winter Term for her teammates, and to have shown them how enjoyable Winter Term can be.
“I hope that by the end of the season, everyone on the team appreciates how much fun Winter Term and winter in general can be. On campus there is a sense that Winter Term is dreary and long. However, the team has shown me that some of the best memories can form while playing speedball on the turf, running in sub-freezing weather, and cheering each other on at races. I hope that the rest of the team looks forward to winter as much as I do,” said Leopold.