As Carmen Bango ’16 flew across the finish line at Holderness last Wednesday with a time of 13:03, it was evident to all racers and spectators that, despite the freezing weather, she was on fire. The new Upper led the pack of 95 skiers, beating runner-up Tessa Schrupp from St. Paul’s by a mere four seconds.
Bango’s performance helped Andover Girls Nordic place fourth out of the nine teams that competed, with a total of 85 points.
“For the first half of the race, I concentrated on attacking the hills and catching up to the two girls who had started 30 seconds before me because I knew that the second half of the race was mostly downhill, and it would be more difficult to make up time,” said Bango.
Boys Nordic placed eighth out of the 11 teams that competed overall, with a total of 153 points.
Andover slightly improved from its last meet at Proctor Academy. The Holderness race was an interval start 5k skate race, as opposed to the 5k classic race that took place at Proctor.
“These are very different styles, and I think most of us are better at skate skiing, which boosted our standing,” said Olivia LaMarche ’16.
Weather conditions were also notably better at Holderness than at Proctor, with less wind and a milder temperature.
Snow covered the entire 5k course, so the skiers raced around the whole course as opposed to four loops of a smaller course. The course had many rolling hills, in particular an upwards hill towards the beginning and a large downhill slope at the end that accelerated the pace of the race.
LaMarche, Claire Glover ’16 and Claudia Leopold ’18 finished second, third and fourth for Andover, respectively.
LaMarche finished the race three minutes after Bango, placing 16th overall with a final time of 16:05. Glover placed 49th at 20:30.7.
Leopold experienced her first ever Nordic race, beating out 29 other skiers for 56th place with a time of 21:33.3.
Boys Captain Paxton Hyde ’15 expressed his praise and high hopes for her after the race.
He said, “[Leopold] might be skiing in the four-person relay team at the end of the season. She obviously has a lot of natural talent, so she’ll be one to watch in the next couple of years.”
Hyde finished 26th out of a group of 90 skiers, with a final time of 14:06. Newcomer Rex Noble ’18 completed the course shortly afterwards with a time of 14:35, placing 30th.
Isaac Newell ’18, also new to the team, placed 48th with a time of 15:37.8.
He said, “At the end I definitely felt like I had more energy left, whereas I normally collapse or nearly collapse after races. In retrospect, I feel like I should have gone harder, but I felt like I kept very good technique the whole time.”
Last Saturday, the team traveled to Waterville ski area. The new team members finally got to ski and the racers had a chance to get some distance and form practice with classic skiing.
The New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) individual championship race is classic technique this year, while the relay will be skate.
Head Coach Keith Robinson said, “We’re just trying to make the best of the situation. Obviously we would love to have snow here, but we don’t so there’s not much we can do about that right now. Right now, we keep doing the best we can to stay fit.”
The team traveled yesterday to the Dublin School in Dublin, NH., for a two-person classic technique relay race. See next week’s article for the results.