Five Raiders qualify for Nordic New England finals


Pictured, left to right, L to R:  Zoe Maguire, Emily Carty, Patrick Carty, Irina Norkin and Seth Johnston; front, Coach John Weston

Pictured, left to right, L to R: Zoe Maguire, Emily Carty, Patrick Carty, Irina Norkin and Seth Johnston; front, Coach John Weston

Over the weekend, the Fryeburg Academy Nordic Ski Team qualified five skiers for the New England Championships.

It is the most Nordic athletes to represent FA at New England’s (NE’S) in over two decades.

“I couldn’t be happier for these kids! It has been a tough winter, but luckily we held on to good snow at Stark’s all year,” FA Coach John Weston said. “This allowed us to productively train and race when other areas were really struggling. These kids are tight group anyway, but they stayed focused and motivated and were rewarded for their hard work.”

The qualifier races were held at Black Mountain in Rumford on Saturday, March 5 and combined all classes and private schools. The morning was a 5.6k classic race followed in the afternoon by a 5.6k skate race, run in the pursuit format. Up for grabs were spots for the two divisions of NE’s — the younger division is for kids under 16 years old (termed U-16s), and the second division is for those under 18, which is referred to as the Eastern High School Championships (EHSC’s) because New York state is additionally included in this division. Each state has a qualifying format to choose an elite team of 24 boys and 24 girls, in each division, to compete as one for their state against the other New England states.

Representing Team Maine:

Senior, Captain Patrick Carty qualified for EHSC’s in the 13th position overall out of 89 skiers (which is a very large field for this race).

“Patrick has worked impressively hard all season and I couldn’t be happier for him. He has lead this team all year and to a degree that I really haven’t seen before,” Coach Weston said. “His maturity and leadership will have an impact on the team for years to come and it is great to see him peaking for the final races of his high school career.”

Irina Norkin was just over the age cutoff, so although she is a sophomore she was only eligible for the older, U-18 division.

“She needed to have the best races of her season and she did. Irina improved by 12 positions in the skate race, which was the most by any girl in the race, and simply had a breakout day,” Coach Weston said.

Sophomore Emily Carty and freshman Zoe Maguire accomplished a rare double achievement by qualifying for both the U-16 and EHS Championships.

“We have had only a handful of athletes double up like this since I can remember, maybe five total in the past 20 years,” Coach Weston added. “To have two do it in one year, and Zoe as a freshman, is a great accomplishment. These two girls certainly look to be the class of Maine skiing for the next few years.”

Emily was 7th overall for U-16s and Zoe was 12th.

Considering the many top races turned in by FA athletes, arguably the best may have been first-year skier and sophomore Seth Johnston.

“Seth started the year having never been on Nordic skis before and just kept improved every time he got on them,” Coach Weston reported. “The last threes weeks have been rather amazing with how fast he is developing. He qualified in the 17th position for the U-16s and just continues to impress.”

The U-16 New England Championships will be held this coming weekend at Black Mountain in Rumford.

The Eastern High School Championships (U-18) will be held the following weekend at the Rikert Nordic Center of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vt.

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