For many, snow is an obstruction. It impedes walkers, blocks runways, and sends cars skidding. But for Nordic skier Hannah Wright '13, it only makes her go faster.
As one of the youngest members of the team, Wright has established herself as a dominant skier for the Polar Bears. On Sunday at the Chummy Broomhall Cup, the Maine State Nordic Ski Championship, Wright finished the Women's 10K in fifth place out of a field of 42 racers. Wright, who missed fourth place by only a half second, was the highest Bowdoin finisher in the contest.
Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook wrote on his Bowdoin Nordic Skiing blog that Wright "settled into the chase pack and skied patiently until the last big climb, where she made a strong move...[and] dropped all but one of the pack."
Bowdoin finished third at the State Championship, falling behind Bates and Colby, but stayed ahead of University of Maine-Presque Island, UMaine-Orono, and UMaine-Farmington.
Wright's performance at the race earned her First-Team All-State honors. She is the only current Polar Bear to achieve this recognition.
Alsobrook commended Wright's ability to perform.
"One thing that stands out is that she stays calm and focused on race day," he said. "She's able to relax and ski smoothly regardless of what's happening around her."
Perhaps the reason that Wright stays calm and composed is because when she is out skiing, she is having fun.
"I really enjoy collegiate racing," said Wright. "I have to push myself to compete with older racers and I love that. As for the Bowdoin team, it has great people, great skiers, and a great atmosphere."
While Wright feels natural traversing the Maine landscape on skis, she admits that she has never downhill skied. This fact is amazing considering that Wright hails from Vermont, a state filled not only with cows and maple syrup, but also numerous alpine ski areas.
Wright recognized that being an exclusively Nordic skier from the Green Mountain State is unusual, but she is open to downhill if the right chance presents itself.
Wright, nonetheless, is a versatile athlete. As well as skiing Nordic in high school, she was a lacrosse state all star and cross-country runner. Fellow Vermonter and teammate Rainer Kenney '13, who knew Wright while she was in high school, commented on her adjustment to the college racing environment.
"She's adapted incredibly well to the college race scene," he said. "She is a very successful, multifaceted athlete, but, being humble, she keeps her successes to herself."
Wright is the only first year to be named Athlete of the Week thus far.
Teammate Spencer Eusden '12, who was named to the Second Team All State, noted that Wright's performance this season has been special.
"She's the best female racer we've had in awhile," he said. "Normally you don't see freshmen doing that well."
With her level of competition only going up from here, Alsobrook said he was hopeful about the rest of her Bowdoin skiing career. He explained how Wright, while a multitalented athlete, can now focus on ski-specific training all year.
"She's a great all-around athlete, which allows her to make technical improvements quickly and ski more efficiently," said Alsobrook. "She has a bright future as a ski racer."
Wright, however, said she is staying focused on this season for now.
"As for my expectations for the rest of this season, I want to ski for myself and for the team," she said. "And ski fast!"