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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Parents Are The BEST

With ski season over, and everyone looking forward to warmer weather, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the people that work tirelessly behind the scenes to help make the Williams Nordic team what it is.  Whether it's tossing feeds to zooming skiers, planning and organizing the elaborate and delicious food table, taking pictures and video of every race, or screaming at our skiers on the race course, our athlete's parents, simply put, are the best parents.

I know not every parent can make it to the Carnival races, but even those that have other obligations, or live on the total opposite side of the country, seem to find ways to help contribute to the Williams Nordic family, and we thank you!  That being said, I'm always astounded when our athlete's parents from the West and Mid-west show up to a weekend of racing, sometimes on short notice, or as a surprise to their child mid-race.

There are a select few parents that can't be thanked enough, as they've gone above and beyond what's expected, and as their children will be graduating this Spring, they'll be sorely missed next season.  

First, Emily and Peter Benson: Emily did an amazing job organizing the food table this past winter, complete with a spreadsheet food sign-up, and race info for all the parents.  On top of that, Emily was also active in the feed zone on mass start day, and more than willing to help out with any other tasks. Like Emily, Peter was also always willing to help, and was the handyman of all handymen.  If we needed gas for the generator, Peter drove to the gas station to get it.  If we needed someone to carry spare poles onto the course, or brush out race skis before the start, Peter was our guy.  If we needed someone to videotape every Williams skier at every race for the past four years, Peter would just ask where on the course he should video.

Cathy Schen and Peter Hoenig: Cathy and Peter have been at every single Carnival race for the past seven years.  Peter has taken pictures of every single Williams skier at every race, and is the reason why we have such great action shots for the Williams media and Athletics website, as well as photos for our race report blogposts and Instagram/Facebook page.  Cathy was highly active with the food table organization, set-up, and food supply.  She could often be seen in the feed zone during mass start races, and was more than helpful with any random tasks or duties we needed.

Tom and Liz Costley:  Tom and Liz have been awesome contributors to the food table, including some delicious chilis and soups.  You could always see them zipping around the race course cheering on all of our athletes, and are some of the smiliest and cheerful people at every venue.  If the coaches ever needed a coffee, Tom or Liz would be there asking if we wanted cream and sugar before our mugs were even empty.  They were also greatly helpful and hospitable when we decided to stay in Williamstown for our Thanksgiving camp, and hosted the team for Thanksgiving dinner.

Michelle Fields: Though pulling double duty, as Michelle also has a son on Colby's team, she remained loyal to the Williams' food table, and was very helpful when it came to organizing the food and supplies, setting up and breaking down the food table, making sure the soups and chilis stayed hot, and suppling some delicious food for us to enjoy.

Diane and Andreas Halvorsen: Diane and Andreas have contributed so much to the Williams ski team, as Andreas was a member when he was in school here, and now all three of their kids have come through the Nordic program (Heidi will be a senior next year).  The team always loves having dinner at their house in Stowe during the UVM Carnival, and Diane always contributes some amazing foods to the food table.

Tawny Nicolaysen: It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise when Jason and I arrived back to our waxing trailer in Steamboat last year at NCAA's to find a bag of goodies courteous of Tsaina's mom. It was also great to see Tawny this year at the Middlebury Carnival, to see he daughter's last couple of races of her collegiate career, and to enjoy some smoked salmon and reindeer sausage from Alaska.

Linda and Matthew Cole: Linda and Matthew were at almost every race, and were huge contributors to the food table.  They were there at Regionals this past winter to see Hannah's last races of her collegiate career, and Linda was always willing to drive to Williamstown at 4am so that Hannah could hop in the van to Mont Sainte Anne every year.

The feed zone: Cathy Schen (Blue hat) on the far left, and Emily Benson (Green jacket) on the far right, offering feeds to Tsaina followed by Ingrid.

Coach Jason and a few of the boys enjoying the Parent's amazing food table.

SO many helping hands and hungry skiers!

Linda Cole, Emily Benson, Peter Benson, and Luis Bango.

Nick and his dad Jamie Gardner: Always great to see our Minnesota contingent venture out East for a few races!

Cathy Schen and Emily Benson brace the winter storm at Colby last year while also counting laps for our skiers!

Emily Benson, Cathy Schen, and Paul Becker in the feed zone at a frigid Dartmouth Carnival last winter!

John Harrington and Troy Schrupp manning the food table at Middlebury last year!

David Dethier wears many hats in association with the Nordic team, including Chief of Course at our home Carnival, our team's faculty affiliate, personal geologist and weather forecaster, among many others...but that's a whole other blogpost!

Senior Hans Halvorsen getting creative with the bagel toaster - there's definitely no lack of creativity at the food table!

Nick Gardner '19, Eli Hoenig '17, and Jordan Fields '17 enjoying food from the best parents food table in EISA!!
All 22 athlete's parents made it to at least one weekend of racing this past winter!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NCAA's 2017

I know this post is a little delayed, but I'm just now recovering from a wild and crazy season!  NCAA's was a great finish to a historic season for Williams Nordic, and I guarantee it will be remembered and talked about for a long time.  I'm already fired up for next year, and building upon what we accomplished this year.

With the three NCAA boys (Jordan, Eli, and Braden) settled into the Benson's guest house, and soon followed by Jason and myself, we skied into the Monday before the first race feeling like we were back in Steamboat, Colorado.  Bluebird skies, 40 degrees, and plenty of snow!  However, we knew the nice, Spring-like weather wouldn't last.

The night before the 10k, every weather report was forecasting something different.  Essentially, we weren't sure if it was going to snow a little, snow a lot, be above freezing or below, or be blowing wind.  That morning we awoke to blowing snow, and by the time we got to the truck, it was sunny.  This pattern went on all morning, and created quite possibly the most stressful wax testing I've ever experienced.  With bullet proof icy tracks, slowly filling with fresh powder, we didn't know whether we should wax with straight klister, klister-covered, straight hard-wax, or prepare the skate skis for double-poling.  Luckily, we were able to come up with a solid wax job right before the start that put them in the mix.

Eli skied a great race to finish just outside of the top-10 in 11th place!

Braden skied an impressive first NCAA race for 15th place - 14seconds from All-American!!

Jordan had a solid classic race to finish 32nd overall!
With one race down, we looked to rest and recover before the 20k skate on Saturday.  And by rest and recover, I mean do homework every waking second that we weren't skiing, eating, or sleeping.  Not only do these guys ski hard and train hard, but they work REALLY hard in school as well, and it's super impressive!

On Saturday, we awoke to frigid temperatures - 0-5degrees F, and 30mph gusts.  It was a cold one!  Luckily no one was phased by the cold, and the boys skied an awesome final race.  The pace was fast from the gun.  Jordan and Eli skied most of the race around 10th-15th place, with Braden not far behind.

Start of the men's 20k.
Jordan skied a gutsy race, leading a chase pack for much of the second half, ultimately finishing 12th!

Eli skied an awesome race to finish 15th!

Braden continued to impress in his first NCAA Championship finishing in 21st.

The five guys! They finished 6th as a men's team in the whole country! 1st NESCAC school, 2nd EISA school!
Upon returning back to campus from NCAA's, most of New England was gifted with a healthy snow storm, Prospect included of course.  I've been skiing everyday, as the 40F weather, and perfect conditions at Prospect are too amazing not to ski.  


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Break!

We made it! After a couple long car rides, 2 planes, and a day in Oslo, the men's team (minus Hans, plus Jordan's brother Zane) is in the Lofoten Islands of Norway.

Sunrise in Oslo, heading to the airport - early morning flight up into the Arctic Circle

Snow storm rolled through and dropped 1 foot+ of snow. Skiing will be awesome the next few days! We're all starting to smell like cod after checking out a cod drying rack (center of pic).

We're staying in a pretty isolated cabin out at the end of a peninsula. Cheesy pasta for dinner. 

Everyone's psyched to explore the islands this week. More updates to follow...


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Regional Championships 2017: Making History!

WHOA - what a weekend!  As I walk around campus, I'm constantly stopped by other coaches to congratulate us on our performance this past weekend at Regional Championships, and both mine and Jason's emails were flooded with congratulatory notes.  Our team skied out of their mind, and it's such a good feeling to end the regular season on a high note.

Friday's race saw warm temperatures and sloppy snow conditions, but our fitness shined.  Eli Hoenig won the men's race for the first individual cross country event nordic win in Williams College history!  Braden Becker wasn't far behind Eli, finishing in 2nd place, making that two podiums in one day.  Jordan Fields finished 6th, Nick Gardner 9th, Jack Schrupp 12th (5 in the top-12!), and Luke Costley 24th!

The women continued to build upon the men's finishes, with Sonya Jampel skiing to a career best 14th place, Carmen Bango in 16th, and Ingrid Thyr in 17th place.  Hannah Cole finished 23rd, Tsaina Mahlen 26th, and Hannah Benson in 33rd.  Their results helped the nordic team as a whole win the day!

Eli, on his way to winning the 10k classic!!
Braden finished 2nd, for a career best!
Highlighting how close and supportive our team is, the men headed out to cheer on Luke to the finish - with shirts off of course!
When you realize you finished 1st and 2nd!
Coaches being coaches.
Sonya had her best result of her career, finishing 14th in the 5k!
Carmen skiing to 16th place!

Ingrid finished right behind Carmen in 17th place!
Friday night, at the EISA dessert banquet, Jason was awarded the EISA Nordic Coach of the Year for the second year in a row!!

Saturday's mass start skate races again saw warm temperatures with some added rain, but the team persevered.  In the men's race, we had all six guys finish in the top-20, with Jordan Fields garnering a career best 2nd place, and Eli finishing on the podium again for 3rd!! Braden finished 7th, Nick 9th, Jack 15th, and Luke 20th.  In the women's race, Carmen impressed with a 12th place finish, Hannah Cole finished in 14th, and Hannah Benson in 15th!

Jordan Fields coming into the finish for a career best 2nd place!

Eli, making it 4/6 men's podiums!
Senior boys at the finish!
Best men's team in Williams College history.

Carmen crushed to a 12th place finish!

Hannah Benson (R) and Ingrid skiing in the lead pack. 
Benson capped off her Senior year strong with a 15th place finish!

Can't thank the parents enough for all of their hard work!
More podiums!!

Senior class: Coach Jason, Hannah Cole, Eli Hoenig, Hannah Benson, Luke Costley, Tsaina Mahlen, Jordan Fields, Coach Perry, missing Hans Halvorsen.  Gonna miss these guys and gals!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Senior Boiz

It's been four years of adventures for me, Hans, Eli and Jordan and this post is an ode to ways the ski team allows us to share so much of our lives with each other, whether skiing or not.

It's not often that ALL FOUR of us get in the same pic at the same time. But here are lots of good combinations.
Tounges out because we love skiing.

Here we are before our first Purple Valley 5k freshman year

Hearts full of love

We were pretty lucky to go to Norway together during the spring of our freshman year. Let it be known that the four of us (Eli was there too) set the tone for the epic 75km ski seen above.

By that summer, Jordy hooked us all up with a dope life in Bend; we all lived together - training, watching the World Cup, and playing with our land lord's dog Delilah to our heart's content.

Epic summer days!

Sophomore year we saw early signs of the GOAT's imminent arrival. Here he is racing at NCAAs

We also asserted our ferocity off the ski trails

Took on a leadership role during our junior year

And we are proud to be seniors on arguably the best men's Nordic team in school history. Time to cement that legacy with these two and Braden representing us at NCAAs!

Thanks for the memories dudes! I'm sure there will be plenty more to come.