Kit Halvorsen ’08 poled speedily through the finish line, leading the Andover Varsity Nordic Skiing Team to a successful finish at the Lakes Region Championship last Wednesday at Grafton Ponds, Vermont. The race was the last big one before the Interscholastic competition next week, and all schools in the league competed head to head. The competition was fierce and the results saw the Andover Girls team finishing third overall, and the Boys team finishing sixth. Sunday’s snowstorm came as great news for the Nordic team, as the skiers were finally able to get in some good practice time. Coming back from the long weekend, Tuesday’s practice saw the team working on hills in the Sanctuary for the first time this season. The hill practice was incredibly rewarding for the team, which usually practices on the flat fields of Siberia. Though the snow was a little sticky, it was still better than the off-snow conditioning the team has been limited to these past few weeks. Said Halvorsen of the Sanctuary practice, “Our practice in the sanctuary was very beneficial. It allowed us to practice our step turns, and to get hills back into our system. At the start [of the race] we were able to jump right in and tackle the uphills.” It was the second time the team had raced at Grafton Ponds, the other race being a skate and classic dual classic-skate race two weeks ago. The team had come to know the track then, and this experience proved useful in the classic-style race. Andover, Holderness, NMH, St. Paul’s School, Kimball Union Academy, Proctor Academy, Vermont Academy and Putney competed in the boy’s and girl’s races, both two extreme nail-biters. All the teams got a good look at each other before Interschols next week at Holderness. The hilly Grafton Ponds course was challenging for the team, who still felt the lack of practice due to warm weather. However, the conditions were excellent, with good snow and sunny weather. The course was long, the longest yet, consisting of five loops totaling 6km. The Girls team was led by Arielle Filiberti ’07, who showed great endurance and physical strength on the course, finishing in 6th overall. During the race, however, Filiberti was unfairly knocked over by a Holderness athlete, affecting her overall results. A strong pack of Andover girls closely followed her. Morgan Broccoli ’07 finished second for Andover in 10th place overall, followed closely in 11th by Berol Dewdney ’09, the shining new star for the team. Abby King ’07 trailed Dewdney, finishing 12th, and Sarah Dewey ’07 finished in 13th overall. Co-Captain Anna Ho ’06 rounded out the Andover athletes. Dewdney said of the Girls race, “It was a really fun race, and the snow conditions were really good. We had a strong group of girls finishing tenth through thirteenth, and that showed in our third place finish.” Halvorsen led the boy’s team, improving astronomically in his best race of the season. Co-Captain Jim Elder ’07 followed, feeling a bit under the weather. Dave Holliday ’08 finished third for Andover, showing a strong recovery from last week. Walker Washburn ’08, one of the newest members of the team, again showed great improvement, and rounded out the Boys team. Next week, both the Girls and Boys squads will travel to the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Championships for both individual races and team relays. If the last race was any indication, Andover will do well.