Despite losing the tip of his ski pole at the beginning of his race, Andover Nordic Co-Captain Eli Newell ’20 still managed to stay competitive in the first heat, placing sixth out of 86 total skiers.
The team traveled to Holderness in Plymouth, N.H., this past Wednesday, where it competed against other New England teams in a 4.5 kilometer wave style classic race. The girls team placed sixth out of six teams, while the boys team placed fifth out of nine teams.
The challenges faced by the team on the course at Holderness were not only physical, but also mental, according to Co-Captain Posie Millett ’20 and Sam Gallaudet ’23.
“[The] race was difficult [on Wednesday] because the snow was particularly icy, and so it was really important that we got the waxing right, as that really influenced how we were able to stride up the hills… The downhills were really icy in [Wednesday’s] meet, which required some skill to maneuver, but everyone did a really great job on a pretty technical course,” wrote Millett in an email to The Phillipian.
“[The course] was deceptively easy, and I ended up not being as tired as I wanted to be at the end of the race. It was a very double pole heavy race (double pole is what you do on flats) which can be very boring and makes it difficult to push yourself,” added Gallaudet in an email to The Phillipian.
Despite the challenges it posed, the course was a source of valuable practice for the team, according to Newell.
Newell wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The Holderness course is one of my favorites, and serves particularly well as a reminder of the value of course-specific visualization and tactical strategy, something I hope to work with the team on more this season.”
According to Nikita Muromcew ’21, the team has had some really strong performances, not just in Wednesday’s race, but in the entire season thus far.
“I think our team has had some stellar performances. Eli Newell and Sam Gallaudet have been super strong skiers for the boys team. Claire de Saint Phalle [’21], Posie Millett, and Kate Pfister [’21] have been bringing in points for the girls team this year,” wrote Muromcew in an email to The Phillipian.
The success of the team this season can be attributed not only to the skill of its skiers, but to its coaches as well, according to Muromcew.
“The coaches this year have been so supportive and understanding of every athlete. Together they make an accepting team for everyone, regardless of skiing experience,” wrote Muromcew.
The team will compete in the St. Paul’s Sprint Tournament next Wednesday, while some members will compete in the qualifying races for the Massachusetts State Nordic Team this weekend.