Top Pairs Earn Top Ten Finishes

Andover Girls Nordic’s two top skiers, Co-Captain Elana King- Nakaoka ’14 and Olivia LaMarche ’16, teamed up for a sixth place finish as the team raced relay style at Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) last Wednesday.

A relay race consists of a pair of skiers, each one completing two laps of the 1.5 kilometer loop course. The racers alternate the legs, tagging his or her partner in between the sprints.

This week’s finishes were not as favorable as those of last week, as the boys placed seventh of ten teams overall, and the girls placed fifth of eight.

The leading pair on the boys’ side consisted of Co-Captain Sean Burkitt ’14 and Paxton Hyde ’15. They finished with an overall time of 20:44, which earned them a tenth place finish.

“The top boys team of Sean [Burkitt] and Paxton [Hyde was] great. Sean led out really fast, and they ended up with a great result against some very good teams,” said Coach Keith Robinson.

They were followed by the pair of Greer Sallick ’14 and Liam Fortin ’14 in 25th place with a time of 24:43.

Robinson continued, “The other boys teams did a good job but struggled to break free from the other teams at the beginning and had a little trouble getting back into classic mode, as we had been training mostly skate.”

The strategy in a relay race is much different than classic skiing because there are two short intervals instead of a larger stretch of racing.

“I personally prefer 5 [kilometer races] because I am more adapted to longer efforts than sprints,” said Hyde. “Sprints are painful. Trying to go as fast as I can also put more stress on my classic form.”

The girls, meanwhile, fared slightly better, as Andover’s second team of Sharon Platt ’15 and Charlotte Berry ’15 came in 23rd overall with a time of 33:12.

“The top girls team of Elana [King-Nakaoka] and Olivia [LaMarche] [was] very fast, and [LaMarche] managed to catch and pass the Proctor team that they had been neck-and-neck with the whole race,” Robinson said. “The rest of the girls teams [was] all very close together and a lot of the newcomers were showing good progress.”

Despite less than ideal finishes by both teams, the team displayed optimism.

“[Burkitt] deserves credit for his awesome effort,” said Hyde.

Andover’s race this week was canceled, but the team continues to practice for the NEPSAC championships scheduled for February 12.