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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Nordic Team Prepares

Author: Andrew Zimmermann
Sports Editor

With the late advent of winter here in Vermont this season, under most circumstances the Middlebury nordic ski team would be facing their first carnival unprepared. The team had to cancel its annual pre-season trip to Quebec for lack of snow for just the second time in 27 years. However, after a trip to Craftsbury, Vt. in place of the Quebec trip and a journey to the Olympic trials the team has already garnered numerous days on snow. Coach Terry Aldrich explained, "We are as ready as any eastern team," and with that the first test of the carnival season comes next weekend at St. Lawrence.

The credentials of this year's team are impressive despite its lack of time to gel. Aldrich has confidence that with last year's women's NCAA team intact, the squad is going to be stronger this time around. The key might be in the senior leadership, which will be embodied in captain Megan Sands '02, Parke Cogswell '02 and Hilary Patzer '02. As for newcomers to the team, Diana Johnson '05 should make an impact as the Alaska native is very talented. To round out the team are two of last year's mainstays, the two Kates, Kate Newick '04 and Kate Whitcomb '04.

The men's side will look to improve and will do so with some strong young talent. Colin Rodgers '04 a member of the World Junior nordic team and last year's NCAA team, has the talent to lead the way. Rookie Bryce Roche '05 will fit in nicely as he was the third ranked skier in the classical discipline coming out of the high school ranks last year. With the help of proven carnival racers like Tim Weston '03 and Marshall Greene '04 the men should have some consistant finishers amidst their ranks. The team however remains without a captain as Justin Beckwith '02 has chosen to not ski his senior season due to personal reasons.

As the St. Lawrence carnival approaches some spots on the team have yet to be determined. Skiers living out west did not participate in the holiday training session in Craftsbury, Vt. and 14 total racers were chosen to go to the Olympic trials. That leaves the team with a few questions as the first carnival draws near.

Aldrich said of the situation, "The carnival this weekend will be an open race, since there has not been an objective chance to see all the members of the team ski." With that, this weekend's race will be not only the first test but also the proving ground for the members of this year's nordic team.