Block ’12 and Tanski ’11 Lead Andover To Solid Start

Max Block ’12 rocketed across the finish line in just over 15 minutes, leading Andover Nordic to an impressive first race Wednesday. The team surpassed expectations in its first race, a five-kilometer classic-style race at Holderness. Two skiers, Co-Captain Mimi Tanski ’11 and Block finished in the top ten for their races. Block, Cal Brooks ’11, Scotty Flemming ’10, and newcomer to the team PJ Blouin ’12 scored for the boys, while Tanski, Co-Captain Brenna Liponis ’10, and Mia Pecora ’10 scored for the girls. “Mimi had a great race, even better than last year,” said Coach Keith Robinson. Tanski had been in the top 20 of the league last year, good enough to make the state team, but her phenomenal performance shows that her potential for improvement is unlimited. Tanski said, “I think I skied well and held a steady pace throughout the race. But the race went by really fast, and it was much shorter than I thought. The snow was really hard and slick.” This slippery snow became a problem for some skiers as soon as the girls’ race began. The race had a mass start, where all skiers begin at the same time, instead of a staggered start, which is the norm for most Nordic races. One girl fell down and took out many others with her, causing half of the racers to collapse in a huge pile up. Luckily, all of Andover’s racer made it through the block up unscathed, placing them in great position for the rest of the race. Coach Robinson did not know exactly what to expect from the girls’ team, since two racers, Alex Morrow ’12 and Kendall Goodyear ’12, were new not only to the team but to the sport as well. Although neither of them scored for the team, both had excellent first races. “It was a lot of fun!” said Morrow. “I was expecting it to be worse and to fall more, but somehow I managed to stay on my feet.” The boys’ team also excelled, as all of the racers had extensive racing experience. Block came through first for the Boys’ squad, followed closely by Brooks. Flemming and Blouin came in a couple of minutes after, while Ben Ho ’11, Alex Salton ’11, Yuto Watanabe ’11, and B.J. Garry ’10 tied up the end of the race for Andover. “Max Block finishing in the top ten was excellent,” said Coach Robinson. “It was in some ways unexpected, but in some ways not. He definitely had a really good race.” Robinson continued, “PJ’s performance was a pleasant surprise, because although he skied well at practice, we had not seen him race before. The whole team did better than they had last year.” Despite the freezing temperatures, racers stayed outside to cheer on their teammates. Tanski said, “The team is really important because we’re small and the group that travels is even smaller, so we’re really supportive. After you finish your race, you go back on the course and cheer for your teammates.”