David Holliday ’08 burst out of the starting line, poling past the other five skiers in the first heat of Andover’s Varsity Nordic sprint race last Wednesday at St. Paul’s School. Holliday led the Boys Nordic squad to success, finishing 17th overall in a tough field of competitors. In this skate-style sprint race, several heats of athletes competed in three total rounds of short races. Results from the first round of racing determined which heats racers competed in the second and final rounds. The course began with a flat, straight starting section where racers gained momentum through double poling. The track then widened and racers began to skate. The course, while less than one kilometer in length, boasted a couple of challenging hills as well as a winding downhill section. After the big snow storm last weekend, the trails were still soft, making the course a bit slower than usual. The girls squad put on another fantastic performance, led by Hilary Rich ’09. Rich won her first and second round heats easily, securing a place in the top final heat. Berol Dewdney ’09 also secured second place in her first heat, out-skiing the third-place skier in the final meters of the race. Captain Sara Ho ’08 also claimed second in her first heat, finishing behind the number one St. Paul’s racer, Stephanie Crocker. Senior Kie Watanabe, Mimi Tanski ’11 and Louisa Chafee ’09 also had great races, gaining crucial race experience in the tough conditions. The race came down to the Final A heat, when Rich lined up on the start line next to long-time rival and league number-one Stephanie Crocker. Andover racers anxiously waited as the two girls disappeared into the trees ahead of the rest of the pack. When Rich and Crocker emerged it was Crocker who edged out Andover’s number one. For the second time this season, Rich secured second place overall. Rich said, “Even though the course was a bit choppy and balancing was tough, I felt ready to go and tried to be the first from the double pole section.” On the boys side, Holliday led Andover for another week, setting an example for the inexperienced racers. “It’s really hard since all the other competitors have spent a lot more time training and preparing for the races. However, as the season progresses and Ho whips us into shape, we’ll work our way up in the standings” he said. Next week, the Nordic team will travel to Kimball Union Academy for a classic race.