I-L’s Ryan Boquist returns this winter after posting third place finishes in both the skate and classic races at the D-IV state championship meet. File Photo. (click for larger version)
December 20, 2012MEREDITH – The growth of the sport of Nordic skiing has been evident for the Inter-Lakes High School squad this winter, as coach Steve Olafsen has seen his numbers rise after the Lakers finished as Division IV runners-up last year on the boys' side.
"We have 31 kids out for the year and that's up six from last year," said Olafsen, who enters his ninth year coaching the program. "Twelve are new to skiing so we've got to break them in but we've also got some good returning skiers back."
The strong numbers are evident around the Lakes Region, as Nordic teams are strong in this part of the region.
"I sort of joke with the kids and parents that I think we have the fastest growing sport in the northern Lakes Region," Olafsen said. "Between the Moultonborough program and ours, that's a lot of kids. We both have the same philosophy…we want to make it fun but we want to make it competitive. I know for myself, one of the things we'll do is put on our classic skis and go out in the woods and explore like that. It's trying to introduce them to a different way of life and I think the word has been spreading."
The boys' team will once again look to be a competitor in D-IV, as senior Ryan Boquist returns to the lineup after posting a pair of third-place finishes in the classic and skate races at states a year ago.
Senior Derek Chase will likely be the Lakers' number two skier, and he finished 10th in the classic race last year. Junior John Findlay (10th in skate) and classmate Bob Euiler also return and will look to shore up the number three and four slots in the lineup.
Seniors Trevor Giroux and Reese Chappuis have been on the team for four years and bring experience to the I-L lineup, while sophomore Ben Crosby is another skier to watch after a solid freshman campaign.
The Lakers finished second in the state behind champion Hopkinton last year.
"That was a pretty tight race," recalled Olafsen. "All throughout the season we went back and forth with them but they had an upper hand in the division race."
The girls' team lost some of its depth to graduation but still returns solid skiers at the top of the lineup. Senior Annie Wilcox had a pair of top 10 finishes at the state meet and qualified for the Meet of Champions, while sophomore Emelia Pendergast was the team's third scorer in the same meet with an 11th place showing in the classical race.
"The girls aren't as deep as they were last year so we're looking for some people to step up and fill in those three and four positions," said Olafsen. "There are a lot of new kids so there's time to do that."
Senior Emily Boucher will be an option for the Lakers. Classmate Chelsea Colby would also likely have been in the mix, but she underwent knee surgery in the fall and will serve as the team's manager.
German exchange student Theresa Loch is also out for the team, and Olafsen said she's been enjoying her time on the Nordic team so far.
I-L will once again practice at the Sandwich Fairgrounds, and the Lakers have been joining with the MA program one day a week for training.
The Division IV State Championships are scheduled for Feb. 14 at Great Glen.