With the high school winter sports season essentially being cut in half due to COVID-19 restrictions and the rest of the season being limited for the same safety reasons, it has been no small feat for many teams to find a way to train effectively. Despite these challenges, the SPA alpine and nordic team have been extremely successful, with two alpine skiers and the entire girl’s nordic team qualifying for their respective state tournament
For the alpine ski team, both senior Julia Scott and ninth-grader Henry Giles fought for their spot in the state tournament during the section tournament held at Wild Mountain. Julia posted a time of 1:08:62 and placed eighth in sections, while Henry posted a time of 1:02:89 and placed fourth in sections.
Both athletes are continuing to train to bring their times down, but physical training is not the only thing they are doing, “It’s as simple as not getting in your own head and worrying about the outcome.” Giles said. For Giles, consistent training helps his physical performance as well as his mental performance, which is going to be very important at the state race.
For Giles, skiing is just as much of a mental workout as it is physical. Giles said, “It’s also good for your mental health and performance anxiety.” He is not too worried about performance anxiety even at the biggest tournament of the year, “I was most excited about meeting with friends from club racing who also made it.” Giles said. For him, the community of skiers around him helps him stay in the zone and mentally prepared for the race.
The entire girl’s nordic team also qualified for state after taking second place in the Section 3 race held on March 1. This team effort is evidence that even in the most challenging circumstances, the nordic team could adapt and persevere to train adequately. Sara Browne, a senior on the team, said, “I think this year’s coaching, team leadership, commitment, and culture were essential to our progress and road to state.”
After the section race, the team continued to push themselves in order to perform even better than in sections. Browne explained that the team hoped to “continue to foster a work hard play hard atmosphere, where they can focus on personal goals AND team goals and just having a good time at all competition levels.” Browne said.
This balance between thinking of skiing as a group and individual sport has been very beneficial for the nordic team. With strong leadership from Isabel Toghramadjian and Sara Browne, the team has been a cohesive unit that supports each other well. On Thursday, March 11, the state meet was held where the team ranked ninth overall, and eighth-grader Inga Wing ranked third individually.
The team had an excellent showing at state, and Browne says that it results from staying “supportive, driven, and excited about skiing!” Congratulations to Julia Scott and Henry Giles of the alpine team and the entire girl’s nordic team, and further congratulations to Inga Wing for her impressive performance at the biggest race of the year.