Captain Elder ’07 Excels In Nordic’s First Skate Race

Co-Captain Jim Elder ’07 skated furiously across the finish line, leading the Andover Boys Nordic Team in their a skate-style sprint race at Waterville last Wednesday. Many schools competed in the sprint race, including Holderness, NMH, St. Paul’s School, Kimball Union Academy, Proctor Academy, and Vermont Academy. The absence of Putney was felt in the boy’s race, as its number one skier is usually the overall winner. It was the first skate race of the season, and the skiers went in with high hopes and great anticipation. Without any of snow this past week, the team was apprehensive prior to the race because of minimal practice time. The Saturday before the race, Andover had traveled to Waterville for ski time. This practice proved essential, for although the team had spent the week running, conditioning, and roller skiing, none of these activities proved as beneficial as actual snow time. Waterville’s one kilometer loop was fast and flat, with a tough sharp turn and a small uphill incline. The track was covered in sheer ice, making it difficult to balance and advance on the harsh terrain. The race was organized into many different heats, each containing four to ten people.Every racer participated in a minimum of two heats, and the winners advanced to the finals. In order to advance, each racer had to get a quick start at the beginning and pass competitors as they skied along the course. The tight, narrow course made it difficult and dangerous to pass racers, challenging Andover to use its technique and aggression. When the team arrived at Waterville, it was greeted by 16 degree weather, a large factor in the outcome of the race. Between heats, the team huddled in the rally wagon for warmth, trying to keep their muscles from cooling down and avoiding frostbite. The team responded well to the tough circumstances, having great success during the speedy race. The girl’s team was led by Arielle Filiberti ’07, who skied another fantastic race for Andover. Morgan Broccoli ’07 followed, finishing in tenth place overall. Roxy Pierson ’07 and Sarah Dewey ’07 finished 11th place and 13th place, respectively. Berol Dewdney ’09 and Abby King ’07 both competed well in the quick sprint, as did Betina Evancha ’07. It was the first race for newcomer Anne Elder ’09, who said, “I was nervous going in [to the race], but it was really exciting and fun in the end. I expected the race to be a lot longer and more stressful than it was.” The boy’s results were also a success. Co-Captain Elder led the team in his heat. Kit Halvorsen ’08 struggled to break through the pack during the first heat, but adjusted during the second to pass through to the finals. Walker Washburn ’08 also moved through his first two races, competing in the finals. Dave Holliday ’08, suffering from sickness and fatigue, skied a great race under the circumstances but failed to make it to the finals. Said Washburn of the race, “ Despite cold weather and tough course conditions, the team still did pretty well. The course was a lot shorter and flatter than the other races, so I found it difficult to work my way up the field.”