Led by Remy de Saint Phalle ’23 and Sam Gallaudet ’23, Andover raced the sprint skate against St Paul’s. Despite skiing a new race, Andover put forward its best efforts and embraced the new format, rather than avoiding it.
According to Co-Captain Amelia Vinton ’23, the new race format was enjoyable because each skier had multiple chances to race. The shorter race gave skiers the opportunity to make improvements from prior attempts.
“It was really fun. It was a sprint race, which is different than a lot of our other races, because usually [we] will race a 5k… So everybody got to ski at least twice. And it was really fun. I think it was because it was kind of a change in what we usually do. And it was a lot faster. I think it just gave us a bit more speed and some practice with it. So it was just a fun day.” said Vinton.
Despite the limited experience of the team, it is composed of true spirit. There are many great athletes on that team that collectively do well because of their natural abilities, according to Co-Captain Hannah Justicz ’22.
Justicz said, “I think something I can bring to the team is I don’t necessarily have a ton of Nordic experience. But I have a lot of experience like racing and a lot of different sports. My main sport is rowing…. we have a lot of great skiers and great athletes. But I just hope that people are kind of set up to like, enjoy skiing and hopefully continue to ski outside of Andover. And I hope I can help facilitate people growing a love for the sport.”
According to Co-Captain Claire de Saint Phalle ’22, there were many individual bright spots within the team, particularly Gallaudet and Remy de Saint Phalle, who got first and second in their final, respectively. New skier Tori Darling ’22 also won her first race as a new member of the team.
“We had a lot of good races. On the boys’ side, Sam got first, he won. And then Remy got second. So that was really exciting. Hannah also did really well, I think she got 13th. And she won her final heat. And then Tori also won her final heat. So I was excited, especially for Tori, since it’s her first year on the team. And it’s been really cool to watch her grow as a skier and really improve,” said de Saint Phalle.
According to Vinton, Claire de Saint Phalle’s performance finished with determination and drive, displaying the leadership of a true captain.
Vinton said, “I think a lot of people have really, really good performances today. I think one in particular was probably Claire, when she finished. She was just coming into one of the finish shoots, and you could just tell that she was giving it everything she could. And she just was finishing beautifully and just battling it out with some other people. And really giving it her all and I think just having someone like that, for like, not only myself, but everybody on the team to look up to who’s just like such a fantastic skier. And has so much drive is really amazing. And so I think just like watching your finish, I was just like, whoa, ‘Go Claire!’ She’s a really good teammate and a really amazing skier. And so I think her finish today was probably one of the highlights for me.”
According to Vinton, there is still plenty of room for improvement within the team, and also herself, for the upcoming regionals and the Nepsac Championship. Along with hopes for technical improvement, Vinton hopes to simply enjoy the races.
“I’m always looking to improve my technique and just get out on skis as much as I can. So I’m hoping to improve where I placed within the field, but also just improve just general technique and form and just have fun with it. You know, at the end of the day, I’m getting out on skis. And that’s honestly, the best feeling for me, it’s just being able to get outside in winter and do something fun. But I think if it would have to be something specific for future races like I’d love to have more races where I feel like everything is working and I’m doing a good job with my form and like, technique is really good,” said Vinton.
Andover will compete against Prospect this Wednesday.