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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Nordic Ski sets off with big goals for the 2023-2024 season

Provided by Westford Academy Nordic Ski
WA Nordic skiers hard at work.

Last year, the WA Nordic Ski team blew the majority of the competition out of the water. Now as the snow starts to fall, History teacher and head coach Andrew Norander sets out to meet, or better yet, improve upon the team’s previous accomplishments.

During the 2022-2023 season, both WA’s girls’ and boys’ Nordic Ski team finished in third place, surpassing their goal of making it into the top half of the Dual County League (DCL). However, with harder training in the preseason, determination, and perseverance, it’s a possible reality to reach further accomplishments in this year’s bracket, especially with an exceptionally experienced girls’ team, said to be possibly “record breaking” by Norander.

“We always want it to be fun. We always want to teach the sport and promote [it] as a culture and a lifestyle, not just a high school varsity sport.” Norander said. “[…] That being said, there is a competitive side to the team. […] There are six other schools in our league. Our goal every year is to finish within the top three of the league and to finish in the top ten at states.”

And make the top half they did, but not without struggle. It is apparent that one of the difficulties the team has faced in previous seasons is weather conditions. Last year had one of the driest snows on record, which made it hard for the team to find practice time on good snow. If there’s no snow, the team will practice at WA after school, something called drylands practice which usually involves being in sneakers and doing a variety of cardio, core, and weight bearing exercises. Then the team usually finishes the practice with a fun game on the turf. Ultimate Frisbee, capture the flag, dodgeball, or whatever the captains and team members want to do on any given day.

“There was a limited amount of snow to ski on which made the races shorter and more crowded, and it made it harder to get good practice time on snow,” Norander said. “So last year, we had to go to New Hampshire a lot. The concern this year is having another year like that.”

Nordic Ski is one of the only sports offered at WA that students can join without any experience but if they put in the work, anyone can compete at the varsity level. This offers a fun learning experience and a time for team-building. 

“What’s also cool is every year we get a whole new crew of people who’ve never skied before [so] we teach them how to ski,” Norander said. “[…] We get a lot of kids who turn themselves into not just varsity skiers, but state race skiers, and they ski at the highest level at the state race. […] We meet together, we practice together, we travel together, we ski together, laugh together, and cry together. The only real separation is on race day.”

However, the ski team isn’t all serious races and competition. Throughout the season they compete in a series of events against each other in a house division system helping build comradery and a competitive team environment, necessary virtues for a functioning team.

“We take the combined boys’ and girls’ team, and we divide them up into the four separate houses of Harry Potter. We have a Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff.” Norander said. “Each captain runs their house, and during the Nordic season, day to day practices and when we go on ski trips, the four individual houses of the team will have competitions. We’ll award points and at the end of the year, declare a House Champion.”

Another event the team does is the Weston Sprints, a much shorter and less competitive race that anyone can compete in. A fun tradition skiers take part in during this event is dressing up in costume, and last year’s theme was country.

“This is a great way to get in shape for your other sport or to make the winter go by. Not to be negative but if you do a winter sport and you get cut, we accept new members on the team right up until Christmas break,” Norander said. “Or if you do a winter sport and it’s just not fun anymore, or it’s too much of a time commitment, come check us out. We think you’ll really enjoy it.”

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About the Contributor
Connor Billington
Connor Billington, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Connor Billington, and I am a freshman staff writer for the Ghostwriter. I enjoy writing, English is one my favorite subjects in school and I look forward to bringing the same enthusiasm to this newspaper. When I’m not in school, and I’m not doing homework, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, playing games, video and board alike, and listening to music. I also enjoy cross country skiing in the winter time. I can’t wait to make new friends during my first year on the Ghostwriter and further enhance my writing capabilities.

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