Although Carmen Bango ’16 was the third Bib, she led the Nordic Skiing team across the finish line with a time of 26:08. Bango, a new Upper, came in first place for the second time this season among 47 other racers last Wednesday at Vermont Academy (VA) in Saxton Rivers, VT., beating runner up Tessa Schrupp of St. Paul’s school by 16 seconds. It was the highlight of an already successful day for Andover Nordic Skiing.
Girls Nordic placed third overall among the seven competing schools with 51 points, the highest rank the team has achieved thus far. Northfield Mount Hermon and St. Paul’s were the only schools that Andover fell to. For the first time this season, Andover notably defeated Proctor Academy by just one point.
Holderness School, who has been strong competition for Andover, did not race at VA.
The course consisted of two well-groomed and very hilly laps of three kilometers each. The excellent weather conditions combined with a great wax job on the skis of the racers powered Girls to victory.
“Part of [the girls’ success] was their confident attitude going into the race. They just went in and raced hard and fast and didn’t shy from the challenge,” said Head Coach Keith Robinson.
Finishing after Bango, Olivia LaMarche ’16 nabbed seventh place with a final time of 29:34. It was one of her best races of the season.
Besides Bango, there was another newcomer star at VA for Andover – Lila Brady ’18, who raced for the first time. She placed 22nd at 34:47, making up for her fellow teammates who were sick and could not race that day.
“As I was coming around the end, Olivia [Brokaw ’18], the boys team and my coach were cheering so loud that it made me ski the fastest I ever have to finish. They gave me such great support, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Brady.
Boys Nordic, however, struggled, placing sixth among the seven schools that raced with a total of 102 points. Andover suffered with only two racers, Captain Paxton Hyde ’15 and Rex Noble ’18, as Isaac Newell ’18 and Tevis Vitale ’16 were too sick to compete.
Hyde led the team, placing 14th among the other 56 racers, a personal best for the season with a final time of 26:07.
“My plan was to keep a steady and dignified pace on the first lap and try to kill myself on the second. That worked pretty well,” said Hyde.
Noble also did very well, placing 23rd at 27:49.
As the rest of the school dreaded blizzard after blizzard these last few weeks, the Nordic team embraced the snow for which it had been waiting since early December. Its practice clearly paid off in competition.
Robinson said, “Just having snow and being out skiing the last two weeks has really helped with technique and especially helped the less experienced skiers.”
In the coming week, Andover hopes to continue to utilize the massive snowfall totals to ski more and refine its technique.
Although Nordic does not have any more races, as three were cancelled this year, the team raced at the NEPSAC Championship this past Wednesday, February 11th and will race at the Lakes Region Championship this Wednesday, February 18.