NEPSAC re-cap: from a racer’s view
As mostly everyone knows, NEPSACS (New England Prep School Championships) were held at Gould last Wednesday. This was a big event, but unfortunately I wasn’t there to see any of the races, because I was at Middle School Sates where Lilo, Livy, another BOC member, I swept the podium for both races (classic and skate).
I figured my next blog post should probably be about NEPSACs. But one problem, I wasn’t there. So I asked Ben Alford ’18 about what went on last Wednesday.
What is your earliest memory of xc skiing?
In first grade skiing with my mom at the Bethel Inn and then in second and third grade I did the after school program at Crescent Park. Didn’t ski when I was in Spain and then skied a little in 5th grade. Then started racing in 6th grade.
How long have you been Nordic skiing?
Eight years on and off.
How long have you been on the team?
This is my second year on the Gould team.
Did you race in both races?
I raced in he individual for Gould. I wasn’t on the Gould relay team, but got to race in the relay for a team that didn’t have enough people. So I ended up racing in both races, but only one of them counted.
Did it feel special or like any other race? Or did it seem to be somewhere in between a high school race level and an Eastern cup level, is that what it was?
Before I was thinking it would be like xc running NEPSACs where you have 250 people in the boys varsity race with people form all over New England and it’s super competitive. I got to the race and there were 40 people in the boys race and 30 people in the girls race, so it felt like it wanted to be at the level of an Eastern cup, but it wasn’t quite there.
Did you feel any responsibility because Gould was hosting the race?
I was more thinking about being on the Gould team and needing to do well for the team.
What was the sequence of events?
In the morning right after assembly we went to the ski room where people were waxing and the ten of us and a couple other people that were coming to watch went out to Pine Hill. The first race was the girls individual classic followed by the boys. Then we came back to Gould and ate lunch, all the other teams ate at the Dinning Hall. Then we got into the relay the girls then the boys, and then awards pretty much immediately followed.
How where the conditions?
Spectacular, you got out to Pine Hill and looked at the track you were like “wow” this is going to be good. Jeremy did an amazing job. It was blue, maybe extra blue, perfect temperature. The snow was fast for both skate and classic… just perfect conditions.
What did you think of the courses?
Classic: I like our Pine Hill course, it’s not an easy course. I felt like from practicing on it I knew everything about the course— every turn, slight uphill or down hill, every bump. It’s a hard course but I like it!
Skate: One of the coolest things was that you could see a lot of the race from the upper field. Which made it really exciting because you could see who was in the lead at any given moment. I skied the course, and there is not a lot of rest, all the downhills are short and steep. You’re constantly going, maybe you get 5-10 seconds of rest. The one downhill really counts, because it’s at the beginning. Then you have the gradual uphill from the lower field to the upper field at the end and that is very difficult.
What did you hear other people saying about the courses?
They agreed with me about the skate course, I don’t remember people saying anything about the classic course. Probably the same opinions as me, I know our team agreed with me.
What was your favorite moment while racing?
Classic: Finishing the lower loop and coming up into the stadium I passed someone and that felt good.
Skate: That whole race was kinda a blur it was just quick with not a lot of time to think. Passing people was fun, I was skiing the third leg of the course while everyone else was on their last leg so it was fun to pass the fourth leg skiers.
How did you feel during the race?
Classic: I don’t know if I was warmed up enough, but that happens a lot. Then as I was skiing I started to get into it, thinking “okay, I’m on my course”. My kick wasn’t perfect which made it hard. At the end I decided to just go for it at the last downhill. I was breathing pretty hard when I finished. It’s not and easy course.
Skate: I felt really fast, I felt good. That’s one of my favorite distances to race, 3k.
How did you feel on Thursday, after the races?
I didn’t ski, I was glad, I was tired. After the skate race on Wednesday I felt like I was going to fall asleep during the cool down. By Friday I had recovered.
How was the competition?
Gould lapped half of the relay teams, got first, third, and fifth for the individual classic boys, and won the relay by a minute—it wasn’t really close for boys. The girls had more competition, they really had more of a mix of who could win. The boys races were a just a blow out.
Looking back on the race what did you think we could of done differently as the host?
I wasn’t really paying attention to the details of the race because I was thinking about what I need to do.
What was your take-away from the race?
I’m not sure. I was pretty happy to just be in the race and I scored in the top 50% I felt good about that.
To see pictures from the race and for more information you can visit our twitter account! Also for those of you who don’t know both the boys and the girls won the relay. And Rachel, Leela, Caleb, Marcus, and Andrew placed in the top ten for the Classic Individual with Andrew coming in first! Another exciting touch to the race was that all of the meals were made at Gould in the IDEAS Center!
Have a happy rest of the week!