Despite the lack of snowfall this season, Co-Captain Eli Newell ’20 has still been able to embrace his love for nature as a member of the Nordic Skiing team.
According to Newell, his love for Nordic stems from his appreciation for the outdoors and the community of skiers, both from Andover and other schools.
Newell said, “I love being outside and I like going fast, and you can do both of those things on skis. I love the sport. Also, I love the group of people who do the sport. That’s one of my favorite things about our races: [the fact that] all the schools [always compete] in every race, because a lot of us are friends with a lot of folks on their teams, and it’s nice to see everyone.”
Newell grew up in Lincoln, Mass. where he began Nordic in the sixth grade. Since joining Andover Nordic his Junior year, Newell has been a devoted member of the team and was elected by his teammates to serve as Co-Captain as an Upper.
As a captain, Newell hopes to instill in his teammates the same passion he has for the sport.
Newell said, “I hope to bring love of Nordic Skiing for the sport itself. Often it’s used as just cross-training for another sport, and I’d like people to recognize its inherent value and how much fun it is. I want everyone to be as excited about it as I am.”
When there is not enough snow to ski, some members of the Nordic team, including Newell, use roller skis, which have wheels on the bottom and can be used on pavement.
Christina Li ’21 said, “Eli is extremely passionate about Nordic Skiing. I’ve seen him roller skiing by himself outside of practice when there’s no snow, which is a lot of the time, and his hard work and dedication definitely pays off. He’s consistently one of our top skiers and his strong placements at races helps the team be successful.”
Newell’s energy and enthusiasm inspires the team for practice each day, according to Co-Captain Neil Thorley ’19 and Li.
Thorley said, “Eli is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met about skiing and just really about everything else in life. He is always looking to bring out the best in our skiers. He’s a fun-loving guy, he loves to ski, and he’s a really fantastic leader to have on the team.”
Li said, “Eli’s always ready to go at the start of practice. Even when the rest of us aren’t really feeling it, his boundless energy is infectious and instantly cheers us up, getting us excited for the workout we’re about to do.”
According to Posie Millett ’20 and Head Coach Keith Robinson ’94, Newell is a caring leader who strives to connect with all of his teammates and create a friendly atmosphere within the team.
Millet wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Eli is such a supportive captain, and you can tell that he makes an effort to make everyone on the team feel included and valued. He is always ready to engage in conversation and is such a welcoming presence. Especially with some of the newer people on the team, Eli was really the first to reach out; [he] helps to make our team into a cohesive and pretty tight-knit group, which is important since we’re a fairly small team. He is very kind and genuine person, which I admire a lot.”
Robinson said, “Eli’s really good too about reaching out and getting to know everybody, saying ‘hi’ to everyone, and being super friendly, [from] the kids that are on the racing squad every week to the kids that are just learning to ski and maybe haven’t been racing. He treats everybody the same.”
According to Li and Robinson, Newell’s selflessness and willingness to help others make him an exceptionally strong captain.
Li said, “Eli is so wholesome. He’s the embodiment of Non Sibi. He always goes out of his way to help others, especially the newer skiers on the team. He’s always happy to give helpful tips, whether it be showing them how to wax skis or demonstrating proper skate skiing technique.”
Robinson said, “He is the kind of kid that will [be] in the wax room afterwards just helping people wax their skis after his are done or pick[ing] up after practice if there are boots flying around. He’ll just dive in and do that selflessly.”
Newell hopes that Andover Nordic gains credibility on campus since he believes that it is such a competitive and cohesive team.
Newell said, “Sometimes I feel like we have to fight for legitimacy a little bit, especially in a year like this where there’s not that much snow on campus, it’s not that visible what we’re doing; we show up I think more times on the Eighth Page than in the Sports section [of The Phillipian]. But I love the team, I love the coaches, and I think probably one thing that I’ve learned is we can still have a really competitive close-knit team, even in this rigorous boarding school setting.”