Having participated in alpine skiing for most of her life, Hannah Justicz ’22 began Nordic Skiing this year after also joining the Girls Cross Country team this fall. Justicz has already established herself as a competitive member of Andover’s Nordic Ski team, according to Posie Millett ’20.
“Hannah was on the cross-country team this fall and that is where I really got to know her. She has a contagious smile and such a fun and enthusiastic spirit. She shows up to practice every day ready to work and encourage others, no matter the difficulty or length of our workouts. It has been such a pleasure to get to know Hannah even better this season, and I am so excited to see how she grows as a leader as the season progresses,” wrote Millet in an email to The Phillipian.
Millett continued, “Because she has a background of both alpine skiing as well as cross country running, I think it has been pretty natural for Hannah to translate those skills into the Nordic skiing. She works incredibly hard in practice and is always asking the coaches on advice for what she can do to improve. It has been really fun to see how Hannah has taken to Nordic so quickly and so well, a sport that can be kind of difficult to get a hang of. I can’t wait to see how she continues to improve over the course of the rest of the season.”
Justicz’s hard work and determination have earned her the title of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
What’s your favorite part about nordic skiing?
My favorite part about nordic skiing is getting to be on skis and be on the snow because before I came to Andover, I was an alpine ski racer, so that was a really big part of my life. I lived in Connecticut, but I went to Vermont every weekend for four years, starting in fifth grade. My whole life I went to Vermont on the weekends, but I started racing every weekend in fifth grade. When I was in eighth grade, I moved to Vermont for five months just to ski race, so getting to have that part of my life at home, at Andover, is really special.
How were you introduced to Andover Nordic?
I didn’t do it last year. I was on the diving team last year. After doing Cross Country this fall, a lot of people on the team do Nordic, so they kind of encouraged me to do it, and also I wanted to be outside more and in the snow.
Do you have a favorite memory from skiing?
After races, my coach took a van of us back to our club and we usually stopped and grabbed snacks from a gas station. We would just play music and talk, and it is one of the things I miss most about my old team. My coaches always played songs from this Vermont band called Phish, so we all memorized those songs and sung them.
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
We have to get on the bus really quickly, so I eat two grilled cheese sandwiches, and a cup of rice with soy sauce, and grab a bunch of saltines before the race. It’s not the healthiest or best choice, but it’s what I can get on the go.
Is there a professional skier you look up to?
When I was Alpine Ski racing, I always looked up to Mikaela Shiffrin. This is a weird reason, but when I was younger, the doctor said I was going to be five foot seven and Mikaela Shiffrin is five foot seven, so when I was in fifth grade, starting out I was like, ‘I want to be like Mikaela Shiffrin.’
Do you have a role model on the team?
Both our Co-Captains have been great role models for me. Posie [Millett ’20] started Nordic skiing at Andover. She was also an Alpine ski racer, so we have similar roots in terms of skiing, and Eli [Newell ’20] has been a really great mentor because he’s a very experienced skier.
What type of music do you listen to?
I like a lot of different music. My dad gives me a lot of song recommendations, so his kind of music. A really great song, for example, would be ‘Heart of Glass’ by Blonde.
Do you have any goals in Nordic Skiing?
I definitely want to keep improving. I’m new to the sport, so my goals are to just keep improving and to have some fun.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a dog. Her name is Brylan. She’s an Australian Lab, she’s great, she’s bred to be a therapy dog, so she’s really chill when she wants to, but when we want to play or run outside, she’s down for that too.