Andover Nordic Races New England Prep Interschols Held at Kimball Union Academy

Early Wednesday morning marked the beginning of the end for the Nordic Team, as we loaded up before sunrise for a two-plus hour trek to Interschols at Kimball Union Academy. The first race began at 9:45, yet the early start did not faze the Blue squad, as most of us got plenty of sleep on the van ride to KUA. As for the weather, it was nearly perfect by Nordic standards: blue skies and freshly packed powder. The night before the race, Coach Debby Carlisle made sure to give the racers an overview of what they could expect. For the freestyle course, Coach Carlisle warned the skiers to pace themselves on the long uphill, and to be aware that “The final descent is very fast, but not tricky. I have not been able to measure the course directly,” she said, “but it is about 6.5 km.” For racers participating in the relay, she gave a similar synopsis. “You start on a field, ski a slightly longer flat section, then head into the woods. I am guessing this is between 2.5 and 3 kilometers.” The coach’s words were helpful, as knowing what to expect out on the snow always gets racers better prepared. Miles Canaday ’05 said before his race, “This should prove to be a tough course, but the team trained hard this season, and I think we’ll be up to the challenge.” The girls were first up at the starting blocks, followed by the boys at 11:00. Seeing that the course was 6.5K, it would be the second longest race of the year, and the longest classic one. However, this only seemed fitting for this paramount competition. For Meg Sullivan ’04 and Kendra Allenby ’05, all that hard work paid off in the race. For the entire season, both have been locked in a rivalry with two skiers from NMH. In past races, NMH has been able to inch ahead of the Lady Blue, beating them out by a few points every time – but not at KUA. Both Allenby and Sullivan destroyed their respective Northfield opponents, and their efforts pushed the Andover girls ahead on the scoreboard. When the news came in that Sullivan had beaten her longtime rival Jenny Richards, both Coach Carlisle and Assistant Coach Keith Robinson ’96 were ecstatic. She had destroyed her competition, beating Richards by 44 seconds to finish with the exceptional time of 23 minutes flat. The boys performed well, each racer came in with a respectable time. The course and competition were tough, and the long uphill at the beginning slowed down the times. Nonetheless, everyone finished strong, and the Blue had a good showing. Captain Scott Silverstein ’04 said “ I think everyone did very well, some having their best races of season. Having time to ski the course beforehand was valuable. For those who went skiing in Waterville valley over the weekend, I feel that they really benefited from the terrain work we did.”