Captains Break Top Ten

In its first race of the season, Andover Girls Nordic skated its way to a third place finish. The boys team followed up with a strong effort of its own, taking fourth in the race. The girls team placed third out of seven, while Andover Boys Nordic tied for fourth place out of ten competitors. Co-Captains Sean Burkitt ’14 and Elana King-Nakaoka ’14 led the way for boys and girls, with times of 14:08, and 17:14, respectively. Both individually finished seventh place in the races. Burkitt and King-Nakaoka both believe that the first race of the season was a start to a promising year. “The race was a great success for the entire team,” said Burkitt. King-Nakaoka added, “We had a great first race. The season is off to an exciting start.” Head Coach Keith Robinson agreed with the captains, “Overall, I think the teams did very well. A big improvement on last year in some case. Sean Burkitt showed that he has the ability to race with the top skiers this year and should have a great season. ” The team’s younger skiers also made big strides and contributed to the impressive finishes. Olivia LaMarche ’16 finished second for Andover Girls and ninth overall with a time of 17:31. “Olivia had an especially great finish,” said King-Nakaoka. “She ended up ninth in the girls race, which is remarkable considering this is only her second year skiing. We are looking forward to seeing her progress.” The duo of Hallie Bletzer ’15 and Charlotte Berry ’15 rounded out the scoring for the girls team, as they took 19th and 20th place with times of 20:24 and 21:14, respectively. Robinson emphasized the importance of the finishes when he said, “We have improving skiers who can replace the seniors that graduated last year as well as some promising newcomers that should improve over the next month and start to make an impact in races.” On the boys side, newcomer Paxton Hyde ’15 impressed as he finished second for Andover and 18th overall with a time of 15:39. Following him were Liam Fortin ’14 in 20th at 15:42 and Greer Sallick ’14 in 32nd finishing in 17:22. “Our returning racers also did well… the snow conditions were extremely fast, very cold and the course was well groomed even though some of the turns were skied off,” said Burkitt. Following the season opener, overall skill improvements and gaining experience seem to be the general focus of the team. “For the boys, a lot of the improvement at this point is going to come from just working on getting cleaner races as well as continued work on conditioning and skiing efficiently,” said Robinson. Andover Boys will look to break through to the top three as the Girls will hope to add on to their promising start on Wednesday when the team travels to Holderness to compete in a classic 5K. “The race was a great time, and I can’t wait to spend more time with my team throughout the season,” said King-Nakaoka, “With hard work, I expect some very fast skiing these coming weeks.”