This past Friday night, Andover Nordic Skiing competed against Belmont Hill, Rivers, and Middlesex. Despite some challenges, the team had a great experience with many improved performances from the meet prior.
Due to limited snowfall, the team has struggled to replicate race day conditions consistently, only managing to do so sporadically. Despite this, the team remained positive. Zoe von Eckartsberg ’26 described the atmosphere of the meet as encouraging, with someone always cheering for you at every part of the course.
“It was also really nice to see a lot of the parents of our teammates come out. There were about three sets of parents there on Friday and it was really nice to just have a bigger cheering community,” said von Eckartsberg.
Von Eckartsberg highlighted the work and determination of teammate Henry Wall ’27, who completed his first race on cross-country skis. Von Eckartsberg noted that she was impressed to watch Wall keep up with the crowd, especially considering how difficult and exerting the race was.
“It was his first race ever. He just did an amazing job… He looked really strong… He just kept such a good attitude the whole time. I was really impressed by his positivity in a really rough race,” von Eckartsberg said.
The event presented a mental test for the team, offering them an opportunity for personal growth, not just as athletes but also as individuals. Anna Korczak ’24 highlighted that this meet was especially demanding due to the repetitive nature of the race, along with numerous uphill sections and tight turns.
Korczak said, “There was a little bit of a challenge because there’s not a ton of snow… Because of that, the actual course that we’re racing on is super short… It was 16 times up and down, and eight laps, which is a lot because we were racing a 5k, but the course itself was probably less than a kilometer… We had a handful of people finish a lap before they were supposed to, and a handful of people did a lap or two more than they were supposed to.”
This week, the team’s training will be heavily focused on technique. The team hopes to incorporate double poling in it week of practice, a crucial skill for starting a race off strong. To work on their endurance, the athletes continue to run longer distances, especially when there isn’t much snow. Matt Robinson ’27 commented on how the team planned to prepare for the race previously scheduled for Friday.
“Leading up to the meet we were working on technique. Since we had a meet on Wednesday, anyone who raced on Wednesday didn’t practice on Thursday because of the immediacy of the next race, so we took a rest day. But leading up to it we had worked on technique by using skis but no poles, which makes it a lot slower, but it’s better for technique work,” Robinson said.
Looking ahead, the team aims to focus on enhancing its technique and maximizing its time on skis, considering that the availability of snowy practice conditions is never certain. Korczak emphasized both the team’s endurance strengths and its aspirations to make technical improvements.
Korczak said, “Our next meeting is next Friday. We don’t have one this Wednesday. Today, we focused on double poling, which is where we all went out into the field in Siberia and just worked for 45 to 50 minutes on upper body double pulling, which is super helpful at the beginning of races and is great for classic races. Then tomorrow and Wednesday, we’re going to be doing distance runs to build endurance mostly because there’s not going to be much snow between now and Friday.”
Andover Nordic will compete against St. Paul’s on Wednesday.