Lady Skiers Place Sixth at Putney; Boys Finish Tenth

A season of hard work, camaraderie, and a whole lot of snow came to an end rather abruptly last Wednesday as the Andover Nordic team gave a final burst of intensity in the last meet of the season. Arriving in Putney, Vermont bright and early in the morning, skiers started the day enthusiastic and determined to finally show other schools what the Big Blue was made of. The day held many successes for Andover, but on a whole, team members felt that Interschols was an anticlimactic end to the season. “We all tried our hardest, and our individual results were some of the best we have had all season, but as a team we just couldn’t manage the finish we hoped for,” lamented Captain Jackie Brown ’03. The girls team had anticipated a victory over closely seeded Proctor, whom they had beaten for the first time a week earlier, and their 5th place finish in the morning race gave them hope that they could do it. Though the 6.3K individual classic race was the longest the girls had ever entered, they were undaunted as they started. Meg Sullivan ’04 ripped through the first couple kilometers of the course, which were primarily downhill, and showed little sign of exhaustion as she dashed up the relentless inclines in the second half of the race. Sullivan finished in 21st place, an incredible feat that reflects her hard work throughout the season. Kendra Allenby ’05, maintaining roughly the same pace as Sulliv. She waltzed through the finish a couple minutes later and placed 23rd. “I was surprised at the length of the course,” commented Allenby, “but it turned out to be one of my best races.” Sullivan and Allenby are both new to cross-country skiing as of this year, making their accomplishments especially noteworthy. The rest of the girls revealed the team’s depth, which has helped them immensely throughout the season. April Warren ’04 finished 24th, and Captain Brown glided in just after to finish 28th. Gen Desaulniers ’04, the only skier upset with her race, showed signs of fatigue throughout the second half of the race and later attributed her difficulties to the starting order, which placed Andover skiers far behind the rest of the pack. “I had nobody to pace myself with!” wailed Desaulniers. “Not having skiers from other schools right beside me definitely detracted from the racing spirit.” The boys raced an hour later along the same wooded course, emerging with generally disappointing results. Most Andover skiers encountered the biggest problem with improper wax, preventing their skis from maintaining a solid grip on the snow. “It really warmed up during the morning, so it was tough to call what kind of wax would best suit these conditions,” noted Coach Keith Robinson ’96. Scott Silverstein ’04 especially struggled on the hills, hoping to stride up most of them but forced to resort to the much slower herringbone. He finished a disappointing 35th place. Travis Green ’04 kept Silverstein in his sights throughout the race and overtook him on the final uphill, finishing in 31st place with one of the best Andover races of the morning. Behind Green and Silverstein were Miles Canaday ‘05, placing 44th, and Darren DeFreeuw ’04, stepping up to replace injured Julian Jacobsen ’06 and completing his first race in a very respectable time. Overall, the boys finished 10th. The freestyle relay race in the afternoon consisted of four laps on a 2.5K course that meandered through gently sloping cow fields. Sullivan, racing the first leg of the girls’ race, darted out of the gate and soon found her niche, holding a position in the middle of the pack throughout her lap. She tagged off to Allenby, who made up a lot of time and clocked 11:36 for the lap, placing third leg Desaulniers in an advantageous position. Captain Brown, the racing anchor, skated her lap in an incredible 10:57, but was unable to catch Proctor. Girls Nordic placed 6th overall at NEPSACs; though slightly frustrated, the team was pleased with the race. “The relay is always exciting regardless of how the team places,” raved Brown. The boys relay team of Silverstein, Green, Cage Brewer ’06, and Canaday started very strong but gradually slid back, falling behind NMH in the end. Green’s 9:48 lap was the fastest, edging out Silverstein’s time of 10:04. “I felt unaccustomed to the relay format,” remarked Brewer, “but the experience will help the team immensely in future seasons.” Most of the team felt the same way, disappointed that the season has come to an end so suddenly but excited about the future. “Our team is very young,” commented Coach Robinson, “and with this year’s experience many key racers should be unstoppable next season.” In this light, the 2003 season has been a success for the Nordic team. A plethora of new racers, an enormous amount of on-snow practice, and unparalleled spirit have combined to make the team very satisfied with the season.