After completing an exhausting 6.2K classic race, Max Block ’12 used his remaining energy to power through the first leg of the skate relay. Block skated strong, capturing second place in his leg. His impressive finish propelled the team to the front of the pack. The Nordic team left early Wednesday morning for Holderness Academy to race in the NEPSAC championship. The competition included teams from across New England. Andover sent 10 racers, Block, Cal Brooks ’11, Yuto Watanabe ’11, Sean Burkitt ’14, Aaron Finder ’13, Mimi Tanski ’11, Marga Kempner ’12, Piper Curtis ’13, Eve Simister ’12 and Goody Gibbons ’11. The championship consisted of two races: a 6.2K classic individual race in the morning and skate relay in the afternoon. Finder said, “The morning race was really long and really tiring because it used a lot of energy, and it hurt us a little bit for the second race of the day. There was only three hours in between to rest. We were all tired for the second one because skating is harder on the legs.” The second race was a 4x3K skate relay. It was uphill at the beginning and downhill towards the end, so the team had to push themselves through the first portion. Consistent with the earlier races of the season, the team performed strongest in the skate relay. Andover has struggled with classic style racing throughout the season but showed exciting improvement in the classic portion of the championship. The boys raced extremely well, placing fourth out of 10 teams. They were close to capturing third in the skate relay but the Belmont Hill team proved to be formidable opponents and just slipped by the Andover skiers. Captain Tanski said, “Sean Burkitt did really great, especially since he is a freshman.” Burkitt has shown a lot of growth during this season and will be a strong member of the team in the coming years. The girls also had a strong race and placed in the top five. Tanski said, “Simister had an especially strong race today. Curtis also raced really well, and with more experience, she’ll definitely get more advanced and become a stronger skier.” For Seniors Tanski, Brooks and Watanabe, this race was especially important. Brooks said, “I was nostalgic. I joined the team lower year and was placing in the 20s three years ago, and now I’m placing in the top three. A lot has changed in a couple of years.” Block and Tanski continued their strong performances during the season and both earned All New England Honors by placing in the top ten of the race. Coach Robinson said, “Overall, it was a successful day, we had a strong showing by both the boys and the girls.” The team looks forward to racing at Vermont Academy in the league championships next week along with the rest of the team. This will be the final race of a hard season and all team members are looking forward to skiing their best race yet.