January 29, 2020

Girls’ nordic season heading far from downhill

The girls’ nordic ski team embark on an race this snow-scarce winter. Image courtesy of John Fantini. 

Hard work, endurance, passion, goals, and perseverance define the best nordic skiers and aptly describe the girls’ nordic skiing team, the 2015 Massachusetts State Champions. This past season the team put up their third straight undefeated season, and had an impressive third place finish at the State Championship Meet.

The team was fortunate to have leadership from captains Eve Driver ’16, Claire Sibold ’16, and long-time coach John Fantini. The team also saw significant contribution from skiers Ella Redmond ’17 and Kate Weinberg ’18.

“Our team has proved its depth this year. We lost our two top skiers from last season, but everyone really stepped up and we proved how much strength we had throughout the lineup,” said Driver.

The team, however, experienced several setbacks during the course of their season thanks to the lack of significant snowfall until the first week of February.

“This was the most trying season I’ve ever had. I’m not a big fan of dryland training and we were at the high school all Christmas break and a few days into the New Year. Most years we’re on snow by the 3rd week of December,” said Fantini.

The team also missed contributions from Loren Andrews ’18 and Katherine Decker ’18, who were out of action due to injuries. Fantini expects them to play a significant role in the success of the team next year alongside Natalie Boyle ’18, Ellie Meara ’17, and Izzy Maggioni ’19.

In order to ensure the success of the team in the years to come, the skiers need to maintain a strong work ethic over the course of the summer and the fall.

“Most of the kids on the team are committed to working hard all summer and fall to come into the season ready to compete, that needs to continue. Our strongest skiers run cross-country in the fall, hopefully we can get more runners to take up Nordic skiing,” said Fantini.

Weinberg showed her teammates that hard work during the offseason pays off with her vast improvement over last season.

“Kate has been a surprise, she started training with Cambridge Sports Union last spring and came into the season in great shape. Last year she struggled to crack the top twenty, and this year she’s finished third or fourth in every race,” said Fantini.

Weinberg also noticed the improvements saying, “After training throughout the spring, summer, and fall, I’m excited to see all of my hard work begin to pay off. This year was my first year competing at states, and it was exciting to get a chance to help my team, and to race against so many other schools and great racers in Massachusetts.”

Despite boasting fourteen consecutive wins and a state title next season, the the Wellesley skiers were the underdogs going into the state championship. “Mt Greylock high school in Western Mass had an outstanding team; they were the favorites,” said Fantini.

Although the team failed at repeating as Massachusetts State Champions, the team has the ability to perpetuate the success experienced in previous years thanks to a talented batch of skiers returning next season. At the end of the day, finishing as the third best nordic ski team in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is an impressive accomplishment.

 

Dillon Hourican ’18

Associate Managing Editor

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