Nordic Skiing Loses Top Spots in League at Lakes Region Championship, de Saint-Phalle Siblings Finish in Top Ten

In an atypical “skiathlon” format at the Lakes Region Championship in which skiers switch from classic skiing to skating during the race, Sam Gallaudet ’23 finished the season at 2nd place in the league after a 3rd place finish in the race, while Remy de Saint-Phalle ’23 and Claire de Saint-Phalle ’22 both achieved top ten finishes in the league.

With the Championship playing an important part in deciding the final league standings, skiers near the edge of the top ten in the league were determined to do well in the race, according to Head Coach Keith Robinson ’96.

“Usually Lake Region Championship counts… double, in the season scoring. This year, what we did instead was just counted three of your best six races. But then this race is the tie breaker. So that actually came into play a little bit for some of them. So for Claire, this being a tie breaker, she sort of passed a girl from Vermont Academy in the standings and with a strong race. So I think people knew going in that spots were up for grabs in the final standings in the League. And at the end of the race, we sort of recognized the ten top skiers in the League for the year,” said Coach Robinson.

Remy de Saint-Phalle echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the pressure that came with the contention for the top six places in the league. In the end, de Saint-Phalle and Gallaudet were beaten for the top spots in the race by skiers from Dublin Academy.

de Saint-Phalle said, “I think there was a lot of pressure because all of the top six spots in the league were a toss up based on this race. There were some great skiers from Dublin who came and they took [first] and [second], bumping Sam and I down in the league standings.”

Formidable efforts by Co-Captains Claire de Saint-Phalle and Hannah Justicz ’22 gave them 8th place and 12th place finishes, respectively. With this result, de Saint-Phalle saw herself clinch a top ten spot in the final race of the regular season.

“Claire de Saint-Phalle had a really good race. She needed to sort of like clinch the top ten, [and] she did. She finished 8th, which moved her to 10th in the League for the year… Hannah did really well at twelfth… So both of them sort of finished better today than they had been doing overall. They just put it together really well,” said Coach Robinson.

Despite the unusual format of the Lake Region Championship, Gallaudet says the team prepared its classic skiing after the snowfall on Sunday. This provided a great experience for new skiers who have not had the opportunity to classic ski on snow yet.

“We had snow these last couple of days, so we went out and classic skied on Monday and Tuesday. We just tried to get the striding stuff down… it’s tricky to pick up and a lot of people are new, so [there was] a lot of time spent on Siberia,” said Gallaudet.

According to Coach Robinson, the team’s sustained effort in classic skiing during practice paid off on Wednesday when its skiers earned early leads in the classic skiing portion of the race.

Coach Robinson said, “With the new snow, the last couple of days, we’ve been been doing classic…  And on Friday night, in a race last Friday night, we raced classic as well. So we’ve kind of been putting a lot of work on the classic technique, and they paid off a bit. All the kids kind of came back after the classic loop and said that they felt really good and that put them in a good position to have success in the second half of the race.”

Coach Robinson says Gallaudet stayed competitive for the number one position until an equipment failure cost him time. Nevertheless, Gallaudet stayed toe-to-toe with a skier at Dublin with whom he had been competing for first place in the league throughout the entire season.

“Remy and Sam were sort of right up until the end, they were fighting it with the top five, and Sam actually had a shot at one. He had a little bit of difficult time transitioning to skate, and it just didn’t quite work out today. Not a bad race per se, one of the boys from Dublin just had a better race, and the two of them have both been the top skiers in the league this year,” said Coach Robinson.

Andover will finish its season at the NEPSAC Championship on Saturday.