Andover Nordic earned two fifth-place finishes at the Nepsac Championships out of ten teams of boys and 11 teams of girls on February 25. The team was led by crucial performances from Posie Millett ’20 and Lila Brady ’18, who finished within seconds of each other in 25th and 26th place, respectively, out of 44 competitors, as well as Neil Thorley ’19, who finished in tenth place out of 49 competitors.
Unlike most races, the championship consisted of both an individual skate race as well as a classic-style team relay, which is unusual, according to Millett.
“We had a skate race in the morning, which is like skiing on a catwalk, and then we had a classic relay in the afternoon. We normally do both, but not in the same day,” she said.
In these team relays, Andover’s girls team finished in sixth place out of the nine teams competing, while Andover’s boys team finished in seventh place out of the nine teams competing.
The team took also advantage of previous experience skiing in difficult snow conditions and in relays, according to Eli Newell ’20 and Millett.
Newell said, “The course was not a particularly challenging one, especially because it was familiar to most racers. The specific conditions of the day, however, were quite difficult. The air temperature was well above freezing, and it didn’t take long for the snow to warm up and turn soft. Soft, slushy snow in warm weather makes for slower races and more exhaustion. Given that our team is used to training in tough conditions, we managed to place pretty well despite the challenges presented by the weather.”
“One of the races in the Nepsac was a relay, and we had had another relay earlier, I think the Wednesday before, which prepared us really well,” added Millett.
Millett added, “[They] made it hard when we were skiing the [classic-style races] to stay in the tracks because they disappeared so quickly, because the snow was not really set.”
According to Newell, close packs were important for the success of the girls team.
“The scoring racers on the girls’ side skied well […] with Posie Millett and Lila Brady finishing within seconds of each other, and all of the scoring girls finishing within two-and-a-half minutes of each other,” Newell said.
Newell was Andover’s second finisher in the boys individual race, finishing 79 seconds behind Thorley to claim a seventeenth place finish.
Cole DeMeulemeester ’18 also reflected on the team’s performance.
“Our team’s cardio, strength, and technique training prepared us to give it our all in adverse conditions over a long day, and the boys and girls teams both placed fifth on the day. The team has a lot of returning talent going into next season and will hope to improve upon the success we enjoyed this winter,” said DeMeulemeester. “Every team member skied hard, even those who had just learned to ski this season.”