Andover Combats Slush at NEPSAC Championships

Elana King-Nakaoka ’14 powered through slushy snow to place eighth in 21:12.9, just two minutes behind the first place finisher, in the individual race at the NEPSAC Nordic Championships on Wedesday.

Despite warm conditions, the team was happy with the race overall.

“The race was really great, it was kind of hard just because we had to do so many laps of the same course, which was challenging mentally. But it was nice because there was a lot of music playing, and I think everyone had a lot of fun towards the end of the season. I always feel like there’s room for improvement, but I’m really happy with the way we’ve skied today,” said King-Nakaoka.

Following King-Nakaoka was Charlotte Aaron ’14 in 26th place with 24:13, and only 30 seconds after came Piper Curtis ’13 with a time of 24:42 in 29th place. Kendall Goodyear ’12 and Rachel Margolese ’12 were close behind in 30th and 31st place of 41 respectively, with times of 26:09 and 27.12.

Leading the boys was Captain Max Block ’12, who came in 20th place.

Block said, “The very slushy conditions made it really hard, because they favor a really light, quick turnover. But we used a high-quality wax, so it was really fun.”

Overall, Andover Girls Nordic placed fifth out of the 10 schools that participated, including Proctor, Holderness, St. Paul’s School, North Mount and Gould. The entire Andover Nordic team placed seventh in individual races.

The championships were split into two parts. The first part was the 6.4K individual skate race and the second part was a four-length classic race with four people per team.

The official team for Andover Boys Nordic was Block, Sean Burkitt ’14, Aaron Finder ’13 and Liam Fortin ’14 for the boys. Aaron, Curtis, Goodyear and King-Nakaoka represented the girls.

Aaron said. “[The girl’s race] was kind of hard just because there were so many laps, and it was hard to pace myself because I didn’t know which laps to go harder on. It was fun though, and definitely challenging. I think there’s a lot of room for technique to improve, and it’d be easier if we could practice daily, but I think it’s fine because we work out a lot and the most important part is endurance.”

The team has faced a series of challenges this season, including little practice time, but the skiers did not let that hinder their performance. With the extra time, they worked on conditioning and built up their team spirit.

“The team dynamics have been fun, lots of fun, and I’m really looking forward to next year to see where we are,” said Burkitt.

As the season comes to a close, so does Block’s four-year Nordic career here at Andover.

“Nordic’s been really important to me, I’ve been on this team every year,” said Block. “This is probably the last time I’ll do competitive Nordic in my life, and I wish we could have a longer season. But it’s the way it is and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to next week’s race.”

Next week, the team will have it’s final race, the Lakes Region Championship race.