Captains Ski to Top 15 Finish

Neck and neck with one of his 87 opponents, Co-Captain Sean Burkitt ’14 sloshed through wet, slushy snow to claim a close tie for 14th place overall and first place for the boys of Andover Nordic.

For the girls, Co-Captain Elana King-Nakaoka ’14 led the pack once again in 15th place out of 67 skiers, with Olivia LaMarche ’16 trailing less than twenty seconds behind her for 17th place and second for Andover.

Overall, the boys finished seventh of ten teams and the girls fifth of eight at Holderness last Wednesday.

“Results-wise, the team did not do as well as last week. It was a great course with lots of hills and transitions,” said King-Nakaoka. “But overall, I feel good about our performance.”

The demanding one-kilometer course kicked off with an uphill stretch, followed by two rolling loops that sloped into a flat finish. To tackle the course, the team used a method called called “classic style skiing,” which Andover had not practiced since December.

“Having the hills at the beginning of the race lent itself to a simple tactic: push the hills at the beginning and hold on for the long downhill,” said Paxton Hyde ’15, who finished just behind Burkitt in second for Andover and 29th overall.
?In addition to a challenging course, the team struggled with the less than ideal conditions after a particularly warm week.

“It was warm and sunny, but corny and slushy snow comes with that. We had to use klister (wax), which is always an adventure,” Hyde said. “The conditions made it tough to get solid kick on the hills, and slipping really drains your energy.”

Head Coach Keith Robinson added, “[We had a] challenging race and tough conditions for waxing. The skis would grip well in the shade, but the snow was slushy and slippery in the sun.”

Daniel Lee ’14 and Liam Fortin ’14 wrapped up the scoring for the boys, finishing 35th and 39th with times of 22:55 and 23:33, respectively. For the girls, Hallie Bletzer ’15 raced a time of 24:40, earning 26th place overall and Harshita Gaba ’14 followed in fourth for Andover in 27:36 and 32nd place. The end of the girls’ race for Andover was very close, with Charlotte Berry ’15 and Claire Glover ’16 finishing just seventeen seconds apart.

Despite the loss, the team views the race as valuable experience and remains optimistic for the future.

“Everyone was in really good spirits for sure,” Hyde said. “There was snow—what more can you ask?”

Andover Nordic looked to capitalize on the fresh blanket of snow on Wednesday, January 22 at St. Paul’s. Results were not available as of press-time, but will be included in printing.