With two first place finishes during the season and a first place finish at the NEPSAC Championship, the big question going into last week’s Lakes Region (LR) Championship was whether Carmen Bango ’16 had another victory in her before the end of her first season at Andover.
Bango proved her Nordic prowess, winning the entire Championship for the Girls, leaving the remaining racers over 45 seconds behind her when she crossed the finish line at 21:20.7. She was carrying just five points from previous races going into the Championship.
Overall, it was another fair day for Andover Nordic. Boys placed eighth among the 11 teams that raced, while Girls placed fourth among the eight teams that raced.
The LR Championship was held at Holderness School in Plymouth, NH. Andover was already familiar with the course, having competed there in its second race of the season on January 14. Bango had her first seasonal victory at that meet.
The team had been practicing hard since the NEPSAC Championship. Head Coach Keith Robinson said, “[We] just continued improvement from practicing on snow and getting more experience. The new skiers are coming along very quickly and that is really helping.”
Conditions were perfect for skiing. The weather was sunny and relatively warm for a New Hampshire winter, and the well-groomed trails had plenty of snow and tough hills.
The race consisted of a 6.5 kilometer mass-start pursuit race that was divided into two loops. The first portion of the race was a classic loop and the second portion was a skate loop.
Bango said, “My goal was to pace myself for the classic portion of the race and just stay with the leaders, and then turn up the intensity for the skate portion of the race to gain the lead.”
Olivia LaMarche ’16 finished in 11th among the 69 other racers with a final time of 25:03.3. Lila Brady ’18, who just started skiing Nordic this year, completed the course at 28:46.1 in 26th.
Brady said, “Olivia and I skied together for the whole classic course; sometimes one [of us] was ahead by a couple of seconds, sometimes the other. We motivated each other up hills and I truly couldn’t have skied like I did without her. At the end of the classic course I ended up finishing first, but she beat me in the skate section.”
For the Boys team, Captain Paxton Hyde ’15 finished first for Andover among the 93 other racers, coming in 21st at 21:41.2. Hyde said, “I wanted to push myself to a high degree in order to finish the season and my skiing career at Andover on a performance I could be satisfied with. On the finishing straight I knew that I had given it all that I could.”
In second for Andover was Rex Noble ’18, who placed in 28th with a final time of 23:03.7. Isaac Newell ’18 came in third for Andover, finishing 56th.
Newell said, “I just wanted to do as best I could. I knew that I would not have my best performance since pneumonia had unfortunately kept me out for two weeks. I still had fun though and I am glad to be back on skis and training again.”
Overall, the team overcame a lot of adversity throughout the season. Sickness and injury, too little snow, too much snow and bad racing conditions, to name a few, pestered the team at various points throughout the Winter Term.
Reflecting back on highlights of the season, LaMarche said, “My favorite moment would have to be the last ride of the rally wagon when we blasted ‘Let It Go’ and everyone sang along, even [Robinson]. He knew every word to the song and there was even some dancing involved. It was a great way to end the season, with everyone singing and laughing while [Robinson] performed.”