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Nordic team encouraged by early season success

February 2, 2024

Courtesy of Bowdoin Athletics
CULT CLASSIC: Jori Grialou ’26 claimed her second Maine State Championship title last weekend in Bethel at the Chummy Broomhall Cup.

Last weekend, the Nordic skiing team competed in the Maine State Championship, racing against Bates College and Colby College on a challenging course in Bethel. Jori Grialou ’26 won the women’s race for the second year in a row (40:35), with Emma Crum ’26 close behind in second place. Morgan Richter ’24, Mirra Payson ’27 and Ingrid Miller ’24 also placed in the top ten. The men’s team posted three top ten finishes, with Carson Williams ’24 leading the way in fourth.

“These kids can ski,” Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook said. “They’re having a good time, they’re mentally sharp. I feel like the team’s very positive right now.”

The weekend’s race—known as the Chummy Broomhall Cup—followed encouraging finishes in larger races against Division I schools. The team finished fourth at the Colby Carnival and sixth at the UVM Carnival.

“I feel like people have this sense of confidence,” Alsobrook said. “We had some early success that first race weekend, and that just sort of snowballs when you start to feel like ‘okay, we can compete at this level.’”

Crum has noticed this confidence translating into results the last few weeks. Many skiers on the team have been exceeding individual expectations.

“We knew our team was going to be fast this year,” captain Aggie Macy ’24 said. “We’ve had some fast first-years and then the rest of our team was just training really hard this summer.”

Alsobrook said the team’s training intends to prepare them both mentally and physically, especially as classes begin.

“A lot of it has to come down to the mental game and a lot of that is just individual conversations, building relationships and just making sure that we’re checking in with people when things get really busy,” Alsobrook said.

Physical training for Nordic skiing can take many forms, from hiking to roller skiing on the streets of Brunswick. Until recently, lack of snow forced the team to practice at courses with snow-making capabilities such as Quarry Road in Waterville. Grialou appreciates these trips not only for training, but also as a way to bond with the team.

“It’s always better to spend some time with the team in a different place…. I definitely feel like that facilitates team bonding,” Grialou said.

While Nordic skiing is primarily an individual sport, Grialou also appreciates the supportive team atmosphere.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we also know how to work hard together,” Grialou said. “It’s a very supportive team and a good training environment where we can all have our own goals and work toward them individually but then have our teammates there to support us.”

This camaraderie extends to members of other teams, many of whom grew up racing Bowdoin skiers.

“You can appreciate everyone’s goals and all their achievements and be really proud of people when they do really well, even if they’re not on your team,” Crum said. “It’s a really close-knit community, which feels really nice.”

This community can even include parents of skiers, who often cheer on the sidelines while cooking food for after the race.

“My parents are into making mac and cheese on a camp stove, so the après-race scene is really fun because everyone’s just stoked to be together,” Macy said.

Several skiers, including Grialou and Crum, are working toward qualifying for the NCAA Championship, which will take place in Steamboat Springs, Colo. from March 6 to 9. Alsobrook is hopeful given the progress the team has shown this season.

“Although it has been very successful so far, there’s still more room to grow,” Alsobrook said. “We still think we have our best races ahead of us in February, and then hopefully heading into March for the NCAA Championships.”

The Nordic team looks to continue its progression at the Harvard Carnival in Vermont this weekend.


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