Friday, April 13, 2018

Soakin' Up the Sun

Those bluebird days (Emily photo)

This blog is now grossly overdue... but, at the very end of Spring Break some of the team travelled over to Craftsbury yet again (my -Lucy's- 3rd time for the winter!) to race at Supertour Finals (also known as Spring Series). This offered a great opportunity to get in some last racing with the best in the country, the US Ski Team, the US Biathlon Team, Supertour racers, as well as college and high school athletes.

Tim and I went up to Craftsbury on Thursday afternoon. Thank you again to the Townsends for being so generous as to host us all winter and make sure we are well-cheered for and well-fed! On Friday, we raced a classic sprint. It's been a while! Although neither of us qualified for heats, it was still an awesome day. Earlier I mentioned that we raced the best in the country. The really cool thing is that the USST is no longer just the best of the country, these athletes are some of the absolute best in the world. It made for great spectating! The day was warm, sunny, perfect spring skiing (I got a massive sparkle burn- tan lines in the shape of the sparkles on my face...) After a mentally tough season, it was just the type of day to get me excited for next year and remember why I love this sport so much. Great people, the great outdoors, and great (or not so great) tan lines.

Women's Qualifier Results
Men's Qualifier

We were so excited to have Erin, Gabby, Emily, and Bridget (Gabby's awesome sister) join us that night. I was pretty tired (and holding snow on my face to make the sunburn feel less hot haha), but it was still a giggle-fest as usual.
Sparkles. Always. (Emily photo)

The next day was also beautiful, and we had a great time in the skate mass starts. It is not every day you get to toe the line with Olympians! It was a tough course, but I think everyone had fun. I was proud that I was having fun the whole race and ended with a good result to show for it. Tim was also stoked to be out there (as usual), and Erin was happy with her good result when she wasn't too busy being happy that Kikkan signed her skis. Gabby was sick with a bad cough and Em was a bit worn out from lots of travel and JNs, but they both hung tough just the same. It was a perfect day for watching races, eating some Craftsbury chili, and hanging out with friends from all over.

Women's 10k Mass Start Results
Men's 15k Mass Start Results

Men's mass start (Em photo)
Kikkan, her gold medal, and a lot of happy skiers 

The fun leader herself, Liz Stephen!
Gabby, Simi, and Bridget!
The professional skiers also held a Q&A for all the little kids (and some of the big kids). It was inspiring to hear their stories and remember that aside from being amazingly fast, they aren't all that different than us. They aren't quite sure what monster they would be if they could be one, some are scared of water, and their teams are who keep them coming back to the sport year after year.
Thank you to all these skiers for inspiring the next generation!
Kyle and ETown also jumped into a 25k mass start. YAY! It is always great to see the coaches race... good to remind them what it feels like. Kyle even got on the podium with a 2nd place finish.

Spring Fling 25k Men's Results

The next day, we had relays! Always fun. Thanks to Tim's brother, we were able to have one team race in the Supertour division. The classic wax was tricky, but there were zero expectations, and it was so cool to see the US Ski Team split up into their club teams and race head to head.  We also had a team in the New England Club Relay (where ETown raced again!) It was fun to be able to race in separate races and watch our team leave it all out there. They looked super speedy. I think everyone was happy to have another nice day and be able to end the season on a relay where we could come together as a team. I mean, ETown even wore sparkles!

Supertour Relay Official Team - Unofficial Teams (We are listed as an official team, but I think I filled out the form wrong and we are maybe unofficial, because we weren't all from the same club. Also, I was the 4th leg. Another mistake made by me. I was filling out the form on my phone at the race...)

NENSA Mixed Relay Age>199 years Results (Bridget, Erin, Gabby, and ETown were "Are SLU Ready For It" in a nod to the album of Thanksgiving camp/the year?, Reputation by Taylor Swift)

A special thank you to the Townsend's for hosting us and everyone who helped us car pool to make Spring Series a possibility, Craftsbury for hosting wonderful races like always, as well as the US Ski Team for coming to inspire us after their VERY long season. I think these last races helped us all put our seasons in perspective, have some fun, and start getting excited for the future! But first, we were all ready for a break. So, bye for now. Keep a look out for later blogs about various post-season, spring, and summer adventures. I'll close out with some pictures, but congratulations for making it to the end of the blog. It was a long weekend, and as you may have noticed, I'm not a very concise writer. So, thanks for sticking with us through this blog and our whole season!

Gabby's highlight, meeting Jessie! (Bernie Gardner photo) 

Em excited to meet Kikkan AND Sadie 

What a snazzy trailer... but can it rival the SLUHaul?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Saints required to change mascot

The news came late Friday afternoon that St. Lawrence University would be changing the well known Saints Shield. Instead of being called the St. Lawrence Saints, the school said it would be changing to the St. Lawrence Gnomes.

Although there was no reason given for the change, it's been rumored that since the nordic ski team has a big red trailer to travel to races with, that it would be a good opportunity to flaunt the new mascot on the side.

"We thought it would be a good idea to test out the mascot first with the ski team," said St. Lawrence's head athletic director.

While team members are excited for the change, the nordic ski coaches have differing thoughts.

Assistant cross country ski coach Kyle Curry '16 saw the change as an opportunity to change the brand of the ski team. "I think it's a great way to have a fresh start and perhaps, it will motivate the team to do bigger things."

As for head coach Ethan Townsend he said, "I don't really see the point, but if that's what the school wants to do, then I'm going to go with it and see where it takes us.  I'm all for change, but I'm not sure if this is the type of change we need for the program to grow."

It all seemed pretty interesting that the nordic team had an actual statue of a gnome and the school was going to change the mascot to a gnome.

Townsend remarked, "it's pretty ironic really."

In the fall of 2016, Townsend and Assistant coach Liz Peterson at the time picked up the gnome at a yankee swap.  It instantly became a hit with the team. The team took on the role of making it their own mascot, dressing it up and taking it to the ski trails. They even named it, Lawrence, after the school.

If you want to go see the nordic ski team gnome's instagram page, the gnome is named, "gnomeboy_lawrence"

Skier Lucy Hochschartner '20 commented on the change, "yeah, I think it's pretty cool that the school wants to go in this direction.  I mean, maybe they have been looking at our Instagram page and seeing the kind of recognition our team is getting."

No matter what direction the new mascot takes the team and the school, the new nordic ski team trailer makeover will be waiting for the winter season to begin next year.

April Fools!

The entirety of this article is false. No gnomes were hurt in the process. Thanks for reading.